Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: White House Down Is Predictable Action Fluff

Plus, The Heat features a solid buddy-cop combo.

by | June 28, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an attack on the executive branch (White House Down, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx) and feuding law-enforcement officers (The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy). What do the critics have to say?

White House Down


Director Roland Emmerich blew up the White House in Independence Day, and he’s back to wreak more havoc on the presidential residence in White House Down, which critics say is a cheerfully absurd thriller with a few kinetic action scenes and an overreliance on rudiments cribbed from Die Hard. Channing Tatum stars as John Cale, a United States Capital Police officer on a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with his daughter when a paramilitary group launches an attack. It’s up to Cale to thwart the terrorists and protect President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). The pundits say White House Down will satisfy audiences in need of an old-school action fix, but others will find it numbing, predictable, and way over-the-top. (Check out this week’s Total Recall for a countdown of co-star Richard Jenkins’ best-reviewed movies, as well as our interviews with the White House Down cast.)

The Heat


Given the right performers, even the most predictable comedy can earn big laughs. Case in point: The Heat, which critics say gets a major boost from an anarchic Melissa McCarthy and an exasperated Sandra Bullock, whose deft interplay enlivens an otherwise pedestrian script. Bullock plays a straight-arrow FBI agent who teams up with McCarthy, a loose-cannon Boston detective to take down a drug kingpin. Can our heroines put their personal animosity aside long enough to crack the case? The pundits say McCarthy is hilarious, Bullock is an excellent comic foil, and the supporting cast is solid as well, resulting in a film that puts a fresh twist on buddy-cop movie cliches. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of Bullock’s career in pictures.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Museum Hours, a drama about a pair of lonely souls who form a bond within the walls of the Kunsthistorisches Art Museum in Vienna, is at 100 percent.
  • 100 Bloody Acres, a horror comedy about two brothers who make fertilizer out of human blood and bones, is at 91 percent.
  • A Band Called Death, a rockumentary about the rediscovery of a pioneering proto-punk group, is at 89 percent.
  • The French drama Laurence Anyways, about a writer who asks his fiancée to support his transition into a woman, is at 80 percent.
  • How To Make Money Selling Drugs, a doc about the illicit drug trade featuring interviews with former dealers and kingpins, is at 67 percent.
  • Some Girl(s), starring Adam Brody and Kristen Bell in a dramedy about a successful author on the cusp of matrimony who meets up with his exes to apologize for his mistakes, is at 59 percent.
  • Byzantium, starring Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton in a fantasy thriller about a mother and daughter vampire pair taking refuge in a quiet town, is at 56 percent.
  • Redemption, starring Jason Statham in a thriller about a damaged ex-soldier who falls in with a criminal gang, is at 55 percent.
  • Pedro Almodóvar‘s farce I’m So Excited!,about boozy and kinky goings-on aboard a passenger plane that’s forced to fly in circles due to technical difficulties, is at 52 percent.
  • The Secret Disco Revolution, a doc featuring interviews with Gloria Gaynor, the Village People, and other notable practitioners of the genre, is at 42 percent.

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