Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Unknown's Plot Twists Too Much

Plus, I Am Number Four is so-so, and Big Mommas is dire stuff.

by | February 17, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a mystery man (Unknown, starring Liam Neeson and January Jones), a teenage alien (I Am Number Four, starring Alex Pettyfer and Timothy Olyphant), and a cross-dressing fed (Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, starring Martin Lawrence and Brandon T. Jackson). What do the critics have to say?



Unknown

56%

Lately, Liam Neeson has a thing for European intrigue. He journeyed to Paris to rescue his daughter in 2009’s Taken, and now he heads to Berlin for Unknown, a twisty thriller that critics say undermines its strong premise with implausible plotting. Neeson stars as a man who falls into a coma after a car accident; when he awakens, he discovers his wife (January Jones) doesn’t recognize him, and he’s being targeted by shadowy forces. The pundits say Neeson and an expert supporting cast help keep Unknown watchable, but ultimately, the unlikely story and excessive action set pieces keep it from truly soaring.



I Am Number Four

18%

Another week, another tale of a teenager with supernatural powers. In I Am Number Four, our hero is neither a vampire nor a wizard, but an alien — which matters little to critics, who say the movie has some decent action scenes, but little in the way of memorable characters or original plotting. Alex Pettyfer stars as a teenage alien with extraordinary powers who wants to settle down and enjoy high school life in a sleepy Ohio town; unfortunately, some evil aliens have already killed three of his associates. The pundits say Four rips off just about every other film of its ilk, from Twilight to Harry Potter, without adding much to the formula, though there are a few exciting moments here and there.



Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

5%

Some cinematic stories are so sprawling or emotionally overwhelming that it takes a trilogy to tell them — think Lord of the Rings or the Apu trilogy. But the Big Momma movies? If the first two installments didn’t exactly set the critical world afire, the pundits are especially unamused by Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, calling it a particularly slim assemblage of crass gags that furthers the franchise’s one-joke premise without, ahem, expanding upon it. Once again, Martin Lawrence plays an FBI agent who must go undercover in the most counterintuitive of disguises — this time in an all-girls school after his nephew witnesses a killing. The pundits say Big Mommas is tired stuff – clichéd, dull, and shrill, with little reason to exist. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we present a brief history of movies with dudes in drag.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

CBS American Society of Cinematographers 2016 Countdown Nominations DirecTV Syfy History Polls and Games ABC singing competition Oscars MSNBC Thanksgiving transformers Mindy Kaling Rocky TV Infographic BBC America Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Disney comiccon Super Bowl Comedy HBO 24 frames Cartoon Network docudrama LGBTQ BET thriller cinemax Nickelodeon vampires police drama Marathons supernatural NYCC GIFs Certified Fresh Sundance talk show VICE Fall TV ITV CMT TNT Amazon discovery Winter TV Tumblr USA Fantasy composers biography A&E crime drama Video Games SundanceTV adventure Musical Writers Guild of America period drama Country Emmys Year in Review Sci-Fi social media TIFF Best and Worst BBC Crackle FX Mary Tyler Moore CNN Ellie Kemper Set visit binge APB Biopics 007 Rock Winners SDCC YA DC Universe RT History Red Carpet Superheroes Fox News 2017 OWN Musicals The Arrangement TV Land TLC TBS cooking romance VH1 Marvel Reality FXX Star Wars Comic Book Awards Action E3 Pop TCA 2017 serial killer ESPN Spring TV travel war Summer based on movie Extras zombie Interview CBS All Access FOX NBC political drama Toys TCA Esquire Logo Watching Series X-Men TruTV Martial Arts aliens Comedy Central Lionsgate Disney Channel The CW E! Kids & Family TCM Opinion GoT psycho GLAAD Masterpiece technology Ghostbusters Valentine's Day Animation First Look ABC Family Tomatazos IFC politics Teen Universal Trailer Showtime Freeform sports diversity Grammys dramedy Rom-Com Lifetime sitcom Box Office Drama Trivia Netflix 45 Photos PaleyFest Cosplay Sneak Peek Starz Pirates Adult Swim President WGN Podcast Premiere Dates 2015 Calendar Character Guide Music Reality Competition cats harry potter Mystery Food Network historical drama El Rey boxoffice MTV Schedule Paramount Holidays Star Trek cops Hulu Warner Bros. AMC what to watch DC Comics Bravo crime thriller science fiction Horror Dark Horse Comics crime Election Nat Geo PBS