Critics Consensus

Cars 3 Is Pleasantly Middle-of-the-Road

Plus, Rough Night is rough, All Eyez on Me lacks insight, and 47 Meters Down is shallow, but it's got some bite.

by | June 15, 2017 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have the return of Lightning McQueen (Cars 3, featuring the voices of Owen Wilson and Kerry Washington), a bachelorette party gone lethally wrong (Rough Night, starring Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon), a 2Pac biopic (All Eyez on Me, starring Demetrius Shipp Jr. and Kat Graham), and Mandy Moore at the bottom of the ocean (47 Meters Down, co-starring Claire Holt). What do the critics have to say?


Cars 3 (2017) 69%


We’ve been trained to expect a lot from Pixar over the years, and when one of their movies isn’t poignant, thought-provoking, hilarious, and visually dazzling, it can feel like a pretty big letdown. Enter the studio’s Cars franchise: while plenty of fun in the context of just about any other company’s output, it’s the black sheep of the Pixar catalog, and critical reaction for the first two films in the series (and their cousins in the Planes franchise) has ranged from mild disappointment to outright disdain. It’s rare for the third film in a trilogy to improve upon its predecessors, so there was little reason to expect Cars 3 would enjoy a critical rebound, but it’s actually proving to be something of a happy surprise; although it isn’t on par with Pixar’s finest — and a notch below the original Cars — critics say this chapter impresses with a storyline that manages to inject some intelligence and honest emotion into the anthropomorphic automotive saga. Don’t expect Toy Story levels of entertainment, in other words, but your kids will probably love it, and you’ll be just fine too.


Rough Night (2017) 45%


Rough Night has one heck of a funny cast, and its behind-the-scenes pedigree includes veterans of the acclaimed series Broad City; by all rights, there should be no shortage of laughs in this story of a buttoned-down bride-to-be (Scarlett Johansson) who finds herself embroiled in a weekend of increasingly ill-advised shenanigans with her old college buds (Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz). Unfortunately, reviews describe a movie that falls victim to too many of the pitfalls that have undermined a majority of the girls-night-out comedies in the post-Bridesmaids era: it’s neither raunchy enough to surprise nor fully fleshed-out enough to make viewers really care about the characters, and as a result, it never manages to be more than a handful of funny moments. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a handful of funny moments — but given the assemblage of talent here, you’d have every right to expect better.


All Eyez on Me (2017) 18%


Tupac Shakur was a singular talent and one of the more influential recording artists of his generation — and he died far too young, slain in a drive-by shooting in 1996 at the tender age of 25. There’s loads of raw material for a compelling biopic, in other words, which makes it all the more frustrating that the first theatrical feature to dramatize Shakur’s life story, All Eyez on Me, is shaping up to be such a muddled mess. Although star Demetrius Shipp Jr. looks the part as Shakur, critics say the movie stumbles between merely uninspired and flat-out clumsy, with neither the depth nor the insight its subject deserves. There’ll doubtless be another attempt to honor his legacy on the big screen at some point; in the meantime, there’s always the music.


47 Meters Down (2017) 52%


There haven’t been many shark thrillers since Jaws that have really come close to truly frightening audiences en masse, but the darn things are so creepily lethal that filmmakers keep coming back to them anyway. This weekend’s 47 Meters Down, starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as sisters whose diving expedition goes terribly awry, is far from the worst entry in the much-maligned subgenre, but it ain’t exactly Jaws, either. While critics haven’t been overly impressed with its thinly sketched characters and occasionally muddled story, some have also taken pains to point out that the movie definitely has its moments — and if you can lower your expectations a little, there’s some fleeting B-movie fun to be had, silly dialogue and all.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Harmonium (2016) , a drama about a family’s reckoning from director Koji Fukada, is at 100 percent.
  • Score: A Film Music Documentary (2016) , in which top film composers are seen discussing the composition of film music, is at 100 percent.
  • Lost in Paris (2016) , an offbeat comedy from writer-director-starring duo Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, is at 87 percent.
  • Maudie (2016) , starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke in a biopic about the private life of painter Maud Lewis, is at 86 percent.
  • Moka (2016) , about a woman whose quest for revenge against the driver who hit her son takes some unexpected turns, is at 86 percent.
  • The Journey (2016) , starring Colm Meaney and Timothy Spall in a fact-based drama about a pivotal political moment during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, is at 65 percent.
  • The Hippopotamus (2017) , an adaptation of the Stephen Fry novel about a poet hired to untangle odd goings-on at a country manor, is at 45 percent.
  • The Book of Henry (2017) , about an unusual 11-year-old whose life undergoes some incredible twists, is at 28 percent.
  • Kill Switch (2017) , a future-set sci-fi thriller starring Dan Stevens as a pilot making a last-ditch effort to save the world, is at 20 percent.
  • Once Upon a Time in Venice (2017) , starring Bruce Willis as a Venice Beach P.I. trying to find some stolen cocaine for the local druglord who kidnapped his dog, is at 8 percent.