Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Three Stooges Is Sometimes Funny, Sometimes Un-Soiten

Plus, The Cabin in the Woods is Certified Fresh, and Lockout is mostly derivative.

by | April 12, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got two Howards and a Fine (The Three Stooges, starring Sean Hayes and Will Sasso), a spooky rural dwelling (The Cabin in the Woods, starring Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Connolly), and an outer space prison riot (Lockout, starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace). What do the critics have to say?

The Three Stooges

51%

If anyone could update the Three Stooges’ brand of violently stoopid slapstick for the 21st century, it would be the Farrelly Brothers. And while critics say they’re helped immeasurably by the uncanny performances by Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Will Sasso as Larry, Moe, and Curly, The Three Stooges is ultimately a not-bad comedy with some decent gags and a little too much filler. In their attempts to save the financially-strapped orphanage where they were raised, the Stooges get mixed up in a murder plot and find themselves involved in a reality show. The pundits say that The Three Stooges was obviously made with care, and though some of its laughs are riotous, it’s a little too long to sustain its comic momentum.

The Cabin in the Woods

92%

Plenty of filmmakers have attempted to wring laughs out of horror clichés, but critics say few have pulled off that tricky balance with as much energy and aplomb as writer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard have in The Cabin in the Woods. As the title implies, the movie tells the tale of a group of teens who abscond to a rural retreat, where scary things happen. To say any more would ruin the surprise: the pundits say the Certified Fresh The Cabin in the Woods is a twisty, gory, funny, and thoroughly original horror hybrid that’s one of the smartest fright-fests to come along in quite some time.

Lockout

37%

Lockout‘s premise — Escape from New York in space — sounds pretty promising. Unfortunately, critics say while the movie has a few dumb thrills, it’s also silly and wildly illogical. Guy Pearce stars as a disgraced government agent who’s tasked with rescuing the president’s daughter from an outer space prison that’s engulfed by rioting. The pundits say Pearce lends gravitas to his clichéd role, but Lockout never fully transcends its B-movie trappings, and the result is derivative and occasionally cheesy. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Luc Besson’s best-reviewed films, and find out Maggie Grace’s Five Favorite Films here.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Monsieur Lazhar, a French dramedy about a substitute teacher who discovers a school system in crisis, is at 93 percent.

  • Post Mortem, a psychological thriller about a morgue clerk whose obsession with a cabaret dancer coincides with political turmoil in Chile, is at 89 percent.

  • Here, starring Ben Foster in a romantic drama about a brief romance in Armenia between a cartographer and a photographer, is at 83 percent.

  • How to Grow a Band, a documentary about the tumultuous formation of the bluegrass band the Punch Brothers, is at 60 percent.

  • Detention, starring Josh Hutcherson and Dane Cook in a horror/comedy about a group of high school seniors whose school is the target of a serial killer, is at 50 percent.

  • Late Bloomers, a comedy starring William Hurt and Isabella Rossellini as a married couple who react to aging in very different ways, is at 50 percent.

  • Hit So Hard: The Life and Near Death Story of Patty Schemel, a documentary about the hard times and miraculous recovery of the Hole drummer, is at 44 percent.

  • Blue Like Jazz, a dramedy about an young evangelical student whose horizons are broadened when he enrolls in an eccentric liberal arts college, is at 38 percent.

  • L!fe Happens, starring Krysten Ritter and Kate Bosworth in a comedy about a young woman who balances dating with single motherhood, is at 38 percent.

  • The Lady, starring Michelle Yeoh in a biopic of Burmese democracy activist and politician Aung San Suu Kyi, is at 36 percent.

  • Deadline, a murder mystery starring Eric Roberts as a newspaper reporter looking into a 20-year-old unsolved crime, is at zero percent.

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