Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Croods is Charming and Funny

Plus, Olympus Has Fallen is action-packed but silly, Admission meanders, and Spring Breakers is wild and crazy.

by | March 22, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a stone-age family (The Croods, with voice work by Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone); secret servicemen (Olympus Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart); an Ivy League application reader (Admission, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd); and girls gone wild (Spring Breakers, starring Selena Gomez and James Franco). What do the critics have to say?

The Croods

71%

Picking up where The Flintstones left off, The Croods is a comedy adventure about a Stone Age family. And critics say that while the storytelling in this animated feature isn’t highly evolved, it’s sweet, funny, and visually inventive. After the cave they call home is destroyed, a stone-age family journeys across its pre-historic environs, encountering wild beasts and learning to love and trust each other along the way. The pundits say The Croods lacks sharply-drawn characters, but it’s charming and exciting enough to delight both kids and their parents. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a look at the history of DreamWorks animation, as well as this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Nicolas Cage’s best-reviewed movies.)

Olympus Has Fallen

50%

Is Olympus Has Fallen an enjoyable, over-the-top action flick or a jingoistic Die Hard ripoff? Well, it depends on which critic you ask. Gerard Butler stars as a disgraced secret service agent who’s called into action when the president (Aaron Eckhart) is held hostage in the White House by a group of ruthless terrorists. The pundits are pretty split on Olympus Has Fallen: some say it’s action-packed escapist fun, while others find it to be an excessively violent, by-the-numbers thriller. (Check out director Antoine Fuqua’s Five Favorite Films.)

Admission

39%

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd in a romantic comedy? Sounds like a sure thing. Unfortunately, critics say the likable leads can only do so much with Admission‘s meandering script. Fey stars as a Princeton admissions officer burdened by the stresses of her romantic and professional life. She takes a road trip to see an old college classmate (Rudd) who’s now an unconventional teacher with a gifted but eccentric student who could use some help getting into college. The pundits say Admission is slight stuff, and though the fine cast keeps things watchable, the film veers unevenly between drama and comedy without finding a consistent tone.

Spring Breakers

67%

Director Harmony Korine (Gummo) is known for pushing boundaries, but with Spring Breakers, he’s made something approximating a mainstream movie. Critics say it’s a pretty good fit; Spring Breakers is often debauched and trashy, but it’s also visceral and hypnotic. Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens play members of a group of college girls who head to Florida to party but quickly get into trouble after meeting a rapper/criminal (James Franco). The pundits say Spring Breakers is undeniably lurid and occasionally monotonous, but it’s also thrilling and wildly unconventional. (Check out our interview with Korine here.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Gimme The Loot, a drama about a pair of graffiti artists looking to raise funds for a bold act of tagging, is at 100 percent.

  • My Brother The Devil, a drama about a pair of siblings who each find themselves drawn into the world of London’s street gangs, is at 100 percent.

  • 108 (Cuchillo de palo), a documentary about gay rights in Paraguay, is at 100 percent.

  • The Sapphires, a musical dramedy about a Australian Aboriginal soul group, is Certified Fresh at 92 percent.

  • Eden, starring Jamie Chung in a drama about a woman abducted into a human trafficking ring, is at 85 percent.

  • Starbuck, a comedy about a fourtysomething slacker who discovers he’s fathered hundreds of children through sperm back donations, is at 63 percent.

  • Hunky Dory, starring Minnie Driver in a comedy about a high school drama teacher who attempts to stage a glam rock version of The Tempest, is at 58 percent.

  • Come Out And Play, starring Vinessa Shaw in a horror film about a young couple on vacation who discover a band of possessed children, is at 50 percent.

  • Everybody Has a Plan, starring Viggo Mortensen in a drama about a man who assumes the identity of his dead brother and finds himself in the midst of criminality, is at 20 percent.

  • Love And Honor, starring Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer in a drama about a soldier who goes AWOL to win back the girl who dumped him, is at 14 percent.