Critics Consensus

Deadpool 2 Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Book Club is reasonably entertaining, Show Dogs has no bite, and First Reformed is also Certified Fresh.

by | May 17, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have the return of cinema’s most meta mutant (Deadpool 2, starring Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin), some frisky friends (Book Club, starring Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda), and a spiritual sequel to Turner & Hooch (Show Dogs, starring Will Arnett and Ludacris). What are the critics saying?

Deadpool 2 (2018) 84%

The first Deadpool movie had to pull off a tricky juggling act, setting up the origin story for a character who’d already been introduced (underwhelmingly, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and whose signature comics aesthetic seemed far too raunchy and profane to fly at the cineplex. If the filmmakers embraced this beloved anti-hero’s R-rated roots, they’d have a hard time making enough money to turn a profit; if they made him safe enough for the PG-13 crowd, then there’d be no point in making a movie at all. Wonder of wonders, Deadpool went for the hard R and ended up being a huge hit anyway — and with this weekend’s Deadpool 2, the franchise continues defying the odds, delivering a second installment that critics are actually enjoying even more than the first. This time out, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) meets up with his frequent comics foil Cable (Josh Brolin), a time-traveling cyborg on a quest to prevent a catastrophic future involving a young mutant (Julian Dennison). Needless to say, the trio link up in typically violent, foulmouthed style, all in the service of a plot that introduces some new characters (including Zazie Beets‘ Domino and Terry Crews‘ Bedlam) and sets up future superpowered adventures without forgetting to tell an entertaining story. If you’re a fan — and judging by the box office numbers, the odds are fairly good that you are — grab a chimichanga and head to the theater in confidence.

Book Club (2018) 54%

The British film industry has made a habit out of periodically rounding up its most beloved veteran actors for light romantic comedies that get by on the strength of their stars, and that’s pretty much the vibe given off by Book Club, which unites a powerhouse quartet of female leads (Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen) to play lifelong friends who enjoy an unlikely sexual reawakening after their titular gaggle decides to read Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s a featherweight premise that isn’t designed to challenge the audience (or the cast), but critics say the end result is still reasonably entertaining — and even has a handful of affecting moments, thanks to the all-around excellent work this ensemble turns in. Major studio films don’t deign to explore this stage of life terribly often, and it’s hard not to wish Book Club hadn’t done more with an unfortunately rare opportunity — but if you’re in the mood for some laughs and a few feels courtesy of some very talented people, go ahead and make time for a matinee.

Show Dogs (2018) 16%

Plenty of family-friendly comedies rely on plots that feature talking animals, but as of this weekend, only one of them stars Will Arnett as a human detective paired with a canine partner voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. We’re talking about Show Dogs, of course, a puppy-powered caper that somehow also features the talents of Alan CummingNatasha Lyonne, and Stanley “Tooch” Tucci. Only a handful of reviews have trickled in for this release, but they’re pretty unforgiving thus far. If you’re just looking for an excuse to get out of the house with the kids this weekend, Show Dogs may keep the youngest viewers occupied for a little while, but there are far better examples of this familiar breed that you can watch at home.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • First Reformed (2017) , a Paul Schrader drama starring Ethan Hawke as a pastor whose counsel of a radical environmentalist could have severe repercussions, is Certified Fresh at 96%.
  • Sollers Point (2017) , about a Baltimore man struggling to regain his footing under house arrest after being released from prison, is at 88%.
  • Saving Brinton (2017) , a documentary about the amazing mass of possessions accrued by lifetime collector Mike Zahs, is at 88%.
  • That Summer (2017) , which reveals unused footage filmed during the making of landmark documentary Grey Gardens, is at 88%.
  • Pope Francis -- A Man of His Word (2018) , a presumably positive documentary look at the Pope, is at 86%.
  • On Chesil Beach (2017) , starring Saoirse Ronan and Emily Watson in the adaptation of a an Ian McEwan about a young couple in 1962, is at 68%.
  • Dark Crimes (2016) , starring Jim Carrey as a police detective whose murder investigation draws him into the mysterious path of a bestselling author, is at 0%.

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