Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Total Recall Isn't An Affair To Remember

Plus, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is mildly amusing but predictable.

by | August 3, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got artificial memories (Total Recall, starring Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale) and summertime blues (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, starring Zachary Gordon and Steve Zahn). What do the critics have to say?

Total Recall


If you’re going to remake a modern classic, you’d better bring something new to the table. Unfortunately, critics say this new Total Recall is visually impressive, but it swaps out the existential anxiety and eccentric panache of Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 film for an overabundance of action set-pieces. Suffering from disturbing dreams, Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) decides to visit Rekall, a company that implants memories of an exciting vacation. When the procedure goes awry, however, Quaid becomes the target of a manhunt, and teams up with a beautiful rebel agent (Jessica Biel) on a mission to destroy the Rekall Corporation. The pundits say Total Recall, while technically sound, could use some of the wit and vulnerability that Arnold Schwarzenegger brought to the original. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down noteworthy films about memory loss.)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days


The Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise has been nothing if not consistent; each movie chronicles the terrors of middle school with moderate wit and little elegance. Critics say the latest entry, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, offers more of the same: a few decent laughs and an awful lot of predictability. Zachary Gordon stars yet again as Greg Heffley, who finds himself bereft of summer plans. To stave off boredom, our hero pretends to have a job at a country club and embarks on an ill-fated camping trip. The pundits say Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is warm and reasonably amusing, but it feels more like a sitcom than a feature film.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Mosquita Y Mari, a coming-of-age drama about the close friendship between two Los Angeles teens, is at 88 percent.

  • Girlfriend Boyfriend, a romantic comedy about the love lives of three classmates during an era of political upheaval in Taiwan, is at 83 percent.

  • You’ve Been Trumped, a documentary about a group of Scottish homeowners protesting a plan by the Donald to build a golf course on an environmentally sensitive area, is at 79 percent.

  • Celeste and Jesse Forever, starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg in a dramedy about a divorced couple that attempts to maintain a close friendship, is at 77 percent.

  • Dreams of a Life, a docudrama about a woman who died in her apartment and wasn’t discovered for three years, is at 74 percent.

  • Sushi: The Global Catch, a doc about the environmental impact of the popular Japanese dish, is at 67 percent.

  • 360, starring Jude Law and Rachel Weisz in a drama about disparate characters whose lives intersect through a series of affairs, is at 32 percent.

  • The Babymakers, starring Olivia Munn and Paul Schneider in a comedy about a couple that conspires to rob a sperm bank in a desperate attempt to conceive a child, is at four percent.

  • Assassin’s Bullet, starring Christian Slater and Donald Sutherland in a thriller about an FBI agent on the trail of a terrorist-killing vigilante, is at zero percent.

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