Critics Consensus

Bourne Is Certified Fresh; Hot Rod Hits the Skids; Bratz is Grade-Z; El Cantante Hits A Flat Note

Talk To Me is Certified Fresh; Guess Underdog's Tomatometer

by | August 2, 2007 | Comments

This week at the movies, we got amnesiac spies (The Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon and Julia Stiles), loser daredevils (Hot Rod, with Andy Samberg and Isla Fisher), salsa singers (El Cantante, starring Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez), school girls (Bratz: The Movie, starring Nathalia Ramos and Jon Voight), flying canines (Underdog, starring Jason Lee and Peter Dinklage), and radio personalities (Talk to Me, starring Don Cheadle and Chjwetel Ejiofor). What do the critics have to say?

The third in a series is rarely the best — witness the critical response to the latest Shrek and Spidey installments. However, if you found the thrills and chills of The Bourne Identity and Supremacy too sedate, you’re in luck; critics say The Bourne Ultimatum is one of the most exciting, action-paced movies of the summer, and is easily the best in the series (not too shabby, considering the other two were both Certified Fresh). Yet again, Matt Damon isn’t really sure who he is or how he became such an awesome killing machine, and yet again, he’s on the run from the authorities. But in this episode, pundits say Damon really comes into his own as an action star here, and director Paul Greengrass is well on his way to becoming an auteur of commercial filmmaking. Critics say the dizzying camerawork, rapid-fire editing, and overall craftsmanship make for one wild ride. At 92 percent on the Tomatometer, this may be the ultimate Bourne.

Damon’s still hunting, but not for goodwill.

Critics are musing: is Bratz much better than Barbie? Since 2001, the ethnically diverse dolls have built an empire based on their unique brand of girl power and lip gloss, including this film adaptation featuring four girls overcoming their differences and joining together in holy BFFness. But critics deem Bratz: The Movie a vapid and clueless enterprise, with characters who don’t seem to have any discernable characteristics beyond fashion and material wealth. And it freely employs stereotypes (girls must be skinny, boys must be dreamy, and adults are idiots) while paradoxically arguing stereotypes are bad. At 11 percent Tomatometer, these Bratz need a lesson in filmmaking.

“Picking Bad Movies To Star In For Dummies.”

You loved him when he was drinking Mr. Pibb with a Red Vines straw, and you loved him when he was cutting holes in boxes. But will you love Andy Samberg in Hot Rod, his feature-length debut in which he stars as an awful amateur daredevil trying to raise money for his ill stepfather? Though Samberg is singled out for his enthusiastic, mischievous charm, little else appears to impress the critics. They say Hot Rod tries for an anarchic brand of physical and lowbrow jokes, but ends up irritating and random instead, the kind of disjointed comedy that gives SNL movies its bad name. At 30 percent Tomatometer, Rod is anything but hot. (Check out our interview with Samberg and his Lonely Island pals here.)

One method to escape the theater.

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Don Cheadle is one of the best actors in Hollywood today. In his latest, Talk to Me, Cheadle gives a performance that some pundits are calling Oscar-worthy — while noting his co-star, Chjwetel Ejiofor, is no slouch as well. Cheadle plays proto-shock jock Petey Green, an ex-con who brought freshness, humor, and irreverence to the medium during the tumultuous and heady late 1960s. While some pundits note that the film has some bumpy patches – often a problem for biopics — they say the performances and energy are strong enough to overlook most flaws. At 79 percent on the Tomatometer, the Certified Fresh Talk to Me is a movie worth talking about.

Oscar-worthy performances from Cheadle and Ejiofor.

Hector Lavoe isn’t widely known with the American public. And that probably won’t change much with the release of El Cantante, a biopic based on the late Puerto Rican salsa singer’s life. Marc Anthony stars as Lavoe, but it’s the life of Lavoe’s wife (played by Jennifer Lopez) that, for better or worse, you’ll remember the most vividly from the movie. Critics call Lopez’s scenery-chewing a vanity acting job, as the rest of the movie is too loosely loose structure, creating a vacuum of character and narrative focus. And while El Cantante revels in biopic clichés, it never bothers revealing why Hector Lavoe was even worthy of an inspiring biopic in the first place. At 26 percent Tomatometer, El Cantante hits a sour note.

“Do you really want to hurt me?”

“Never fear — Underdog is here!” So went the rallying cry of everyone’s favorite super-pooch back in the day. Now? It appears the people behind Underdog have plenty to fear from critics, since the film wasn’t screened before hitting theaters. The usually-dependable Jason Lee and Peter Dinklage star in the tale (or is it tail?) of a mutt who, after an experiment, gains superpowers. Kids, after you’re done taking Fido for a stroll around the block, Guess the Tomatometer.

At 11 percent on the Tomatometer, Underdog is underwhelming.

Also opening this week in limited release: Summer ’04, a riveting tale of a summer holiday gone awry, is at 92 percent on the Tomatometer; Blame it on Fidel, a Parisian coming-of-age tale about a young girl and her radical activist parents, is at 92 percent; Them, a tense and existential horror flick from France, is at 81 percent; The Willow Tree, a Bergman-esque Iranian drama of a man coming to grips with death, is at 80 percent; Colossal Youth, a sprawling drama about urban life in Portugal, is at 71 percent; Becoming Jane, a biopic of Jane Austen’s early life, is at 62 percent; and The Ten, an anthology of comic vignettes based on the Ten Commandments, is at 57 percent.

The Austen Diaries

Finally, props to love_flag for coming the closest to guessing Who’s Your Caddy‘s nine percent Tomatometer, and to SplendidIsolation and icon2008 for approximating I know Who Killed Me‘s six percent.

Recent Matt Damon Movies:
69% — Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
56% — The Good Shepherd (2006)
93% — The Departed (2006)
74% — Syriana (2005)
38% — The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Tag Cloud

Countdown binge GIFs Comedy Central crime Box Office Stephen King nature Extras Musical Sci-Fi MCU crossover Hulu Mary poppins teaser dc television Spring TV 2015 Esquire MSNBC Winter TV mutant finale Nickelodeon anime Awards Tour Pet Sematary Fantasy mockumentary Emmys harry potter 20th Century Fox doctor who thriller psycho Superheroes Music WGN Dark Horse Comics Black Mirror 2018 Shudder docudrama Syfy discovery Rocketman Cartoon Network Brie Larson Marathons zombies Sundance Now Trophy Talk RT21 Year in Review Reality disaster A&E hist Character Guide Certified Fresh Kids & Family composers PaleyFest Tarantino science fiction Nat Geo true crime APB Vudu Photos golden globes TCA Lifetime Interview Set visit Britbox E3 Mystery Creative Arts Emmys ratings Adult Swim Universal Super Bowl YA zero dark thirty DC streaming service crime drama LGBTQ Martial Arts cooking Animation Mudbound Fall TV 2019 TNT Cannes Rocky space sports transformers ABC Family Ellie Kemper green book Rom-Com anthology Women's History Month Heroines Walt Disney Pictures romance Infographic RT History Podcast Captain marvel Schedule technology E! Amazon Prime Starz witnail MTV Red Carpet zombie Awards Trailer facebook crime thriller Toys sitcom Western TV 21st Century Fox Writers Guild of America FX Spectrum Originals X-Men TV Land Shondaland Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Spike Quiz Holidays American Society of Cinematographers DC Universe elevated horror SDCC Best and Worst cats Comedy Epix Calendar Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt NBC AMC spider-man TruTV TCA 2017 dramedy 007 Election CW Seed social media President Logo CBS All Access Winners CMT award winner Star Trek period drama National Geographic serial killer aliens Trivia jamie lee curtis Drama Disney Channel Disney TCM dceu Cosplay Food Network strong female leads politics Biopics DirecTV Lionsgate streaming supernatural Country SundanceTV Netflix IFC Showtime GLAAD Bravo comiccon talk show Tumblr historical drama Polls and Games History OWN Nominations Acorn TV Song of Ice and Fire YouTube Premium Oscars Pop festivals Lucasfilm miniseries cops ABC CNN Reality Competition The CW FXX Apple Masterpiece Ovation El Rey theme song Superheroe San Diego Comic-Con biography war Columbia Pictures Sony Pictures Crackle The Witch natural history Video Games Film Festival Elton John travel First Look Tomatazos Comics on TV casting BET Sneak Peek BBC America Thanksgiving VICE singing competition robots adventure cults USA Network 45 Ghostbusters ITV PBS GoT boxoffice justice league The Arrangement USA See It Skip It richard e. Grant Anna Paquin Rock YouTube Red Freeform spy thriller Opinion 2016 cinemax Premiere Dates TBS 24 frames unscripted Christmas CBS BBC NYCC Marvel New York Comic Con diversity dragons Sundance Teen comic 2017 adaptation TIFF Musicals blaxploitation Action TLC sequel IFC Films Horror FOX Amazon Warner Bros. Watching Series psychological thriller Comic Book vampires police drama Star Wars based on movie Mary Tyler Moore DC Comics medical drama Mindy Kaling Valentine's Day Pixar Grammys Fox News DGA Paramount ESPN political drama SXSW VH1 Summer what to watch Pirates HBO Paramount Network Mary Poppins Returns