Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Parental Advisory for Baby Mama; Harold and Kumar Is Up In Smoke

Plus, Deception proves defective.

by and | April 24, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have expecting ladies (Baby Mama, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler), on-the-lam stoners (Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, starring John Cho and Kal Penn), and embroiled bankers (Deception, starring Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor). What do the critics have to say?

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle was a delightful surprise — a stoner comedy that made more than a few trenchant points about American race relations. The critics say Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay has plenty of laughs, but is shorter on smarts than its predecessor. In Guantanamo, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) attempt to smuggle a bong onto a flight to Amsterdam, and are subsequently accused of a terrorist plot; the pair go on the run from the law, encountering babes, marijuana, and Neil Patrick Harris along the way. The pundits say this lowbrow, un-P.C. comedy has its moments, but the easy charm and originality of the original is missing. It’s currently at 54 percent on the Tomatometer. (Check out RT’s interview with John Cho here.)


“I told you I could light it 10 times in a row!”
Tina Fey is one of the brightest talents to emerge from Saturday Night Live in recent years; as an actor and writer for Mean Girls and TV’s 30 Rock, she’s proven herself to be a sharp satirist of modern times. Fey and her Baby Mama co-star Amy Poehler go a long way toward making this surrogate pregnancy comedy watchable, critics say. Fey stars as a career woman who can’t conceive a child, so she turns to a working girl (Poehler) to carry her baby; hilarity ensues when Poehler loses her job and moves in with Fey. The pundits say Baby Mama lacks the sharp wit to be a truly subversive comedy about our baby-obsessed culture, and the film too often relies on bathroom humor to generate laughs. However, they also note the cast is outstanding, with Fey and Poehler playing nicely off each other. Baby Mama currently stands at 60 percent on the Tomatometer.

“Guess which one of these ladies has volunteered to enter the
containment unit?”


You know exactly what you’re getting with a title like Deception: an expendable potboiler with inexplicably big names attached to it. Ewan McGregor stars as a Wall Street banker who is invited into an ominous sex club by his friend (Hugh Jackman), only to become a suspect in a woman’s (Michelle Williams) disappearance. Critics say this limp thriller’s major flaw is its obsession with piling inane plot twists and turns, most of which can be easily deduced well before they arrive. At 13 percent, Deception is all smoke and mirrors.

“So what if I said Dawson’s Creek is bad?”

Also opening this week in limited release:
Without the King, a documentary about Swaziland, the world’s last absolute monarchy, is at 100 percent.
Bomb It, a doc about graffiti artists from around the world, is at 78 percent.
Standard Operating Procedure, Errol Morris‘ examination of Abu Ghraib, is at 76 percent.
Roman de Gare, the new thriller from Oscar-winning director Claude Lelouch, is at 75 percent.
Then She Found Me, Helen Hunt‘s directorial debut, is at 64 percent.

Stuff and Dough, a suspense thriller from Romania, is at 57 percent.
And Deal, a poker drama starring Burt Reynolds, is at zero percent.

Burt spending his hard-earned Uwe Boll money.

Recent Hugh Jackman Movies:
74% — Flushed Away (2006)
51% — The Fountain (2006)
74% — Happy Feet (2006)
75% — The Prestige (2006)
37% — Scoop (2006)

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