Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Spiderwick Weaves Gold, Jumper Goes Over the Shark, Say Yes to Maybe

Also: Back away from Step Up.

by | February 13, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got supernatural dwellers (The Spiderwick
, starring
Freddie Highmore and
Mary-Louise Parker), teleporters (Jumper,
starring Hayden Christensen and
Samuel L. Jackson), a dance dance revolution (Step
Up 2 the Streets
Briana Evigan), and uncertain love (Definitely,
, starring
Ryan Reynolds and
Rachel Weisz). What do the critics have to

For smart family fare, critics say you could do a lot worse than
The Spiderwick
. Condensing five books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly
Black, Spiderwick stars
Freddie Highmore as a kid who’s upset about
relocating from New York City to an old Gothic mansion with his mom and
siblings. A series of mischevious pranks are blamed on the boy, but it soon
becomes apparent the house is loaded with supernatural guests, some kind, some
malicious. The pundits say Spiderwick may be a cut below the
of the world, but it still delivers a solid
fantasy/adventure, maintaining a sense of wonderment while addressing the
growing pains inherent in the lives of young people. At 76 percent on the
Tomatometer, Spiderwick is truly one for the whole family.

"I didn’t know there were nude beaches in New England."

Even science fiction films must play by a certain set of rules. Unfortunately,
the critics say Jumper is all over the map. Based upon Steven Gould’s novel,
Jumper stars
Hayden Christensen as a young man who finds he can teleport
through space and time before discovering that another "jumper" (Jamie Bell) is
hot on his trail. Pundits say the film has slick visuals, but betrays its own
internal logic and features bland characters and weak dialogue. At 14 percent on
the Tomatometer, Jumper isn’t making the critics jump for joy. It’s also
the worst-reviewed film of director
Doug Liman‘s career.

Just another service provided by your friendly neighborhood

Despite its shopworn plot,
Step Up
was a surprise hit. So what do they do
for an encore? In the case of
Up 2 the Streets
, pretty much the same
thing, say critics. As with the previous installment, 2 combines
culture-clash drama with loads of dance moves. The pundits say Step Up
has some nice dance sequences and a decent amount of energy, but watch out for
the scenes where people are talking to each other, because the characters are
blander than the foxtrot. At 29 percent on the Tomatometer, word on the Street
is this isn’t all that hot. (Check out our feature on notable dance
movies here.)

"Anybody got a cure for the rickets?"

With Definitely,
Ryan Reynolds seems to have finally ditched the frat boy
image that’s dogged him since his 2 Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place days.
He stars as Will Hayes, a soon-to-be divorcee regaling his daughter (Abigail Breslin) with the story of three women, one of which would eventually become his
wife. Critics say the movie is anchored by the affable chemistry between
Reynolds and Breslin, and while it’s typically cute and sappy, writer-director
Adam Brooks gives the movie just enough wit and light cynicism to keep it from
being cloying. At 69 percent, couples will Definitely want to catch Maybe. (Catch our interview with Reynolds here.)

"I’m drunk and I feel like doing something stupid. Want to vote

Also opening this week in limited release.

"My dream is to be as useless as the guy in Cloverfield."

Recent Ryan Reynolds Movies
69% — The Nines (2007)
26% — Smokin’ Aces (2007)
43% — Just Friends (2005)
31% — Waiting… (2005)
24% — The Amityville Horror (2005)

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