UK Critics Consensus: Local Critics Warm To Changeling; De Niro Delights But What Just Happened Doesn't

Plus, Four Christmases Gets Stuffed Like A Turkey

by | November 28, 2008 | Comments

It’s Friday, there’s a new raft of movies in the UK cinemas this week, but are any of them any good? This week the UK film hacks give us their opinions on Clint Eastwood‘s latest directorial film starring Angelina Jolie, Changeling. Also out this week is Hollywood satire What Just Happened, and an early Christmas present in the shape of a festive flick starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in Four Christmases. So what did the critics think?

Based on a true story, Changeling stars Angelina Jolie as an overworked single mother who fights for the truth following the disappearance of her son, and is ably directed by veteran cowpoke Clint Eastwood. At a – just-below-Fresh – 59% on the Tomatometer, Changeling doesn’t have the pedigree of previous Eastwood outings, but most critics agree that Angelina Jolie’s assured performance has Oscar-bait written all over it. If we were just counting the UK critics responses the film would stand at a much healthier 83% on the Tomatometer, which just goes to show the difference in tastes on either side of the Atlantic.

What Just Happened is a Hollywood satire starring Robert De Niro as an outrageous movie producer, and is based on the real life memoirs of Art Linson, who also adapted his book for the big screen. Most critics agreed that De Niro is on fine form, following the disastrous Righteous Kill (21% on the Tomatometer), who puts in a classic performance as the back stabbing producer. But old Bobby can’t do enough to save What Just Happened from the ignominy of a Rotten 53% rating on the Tomatometer. Critics accuse the film of lacking the necessary satirical bite needed to do the source material justice, with many suggesting that the film has fallen prey to the Hollywood practices and foibles that the film itself seeks to criticise.

Vince Vaughn stars in his second festive holiday vehicle, after the dismal Fred Claus of Christmas 2007 (21% on the Tomatometer), alongside Reese Witherspoon in Four Christmases. Helmed by the director of the highly-praised but little-seen documentary King Of Kong (97%), Seth Gordon, hopes were high for Four Christmases, but unfortunately at 26% on the Tomatometer, it’s more of a Turkey than a Christmas pudding. The UK scribes have criticised the lack of Christmas cheer, the miscasting of the two principle actors and the horrific waste of a fine supporting cast. Christmas comes earlier every year, Four Christmases probably shouldn’t have come at all.

Quote Of The Week

” “Hang on lads, I’ve got a great idea…” said Michael Caine at the end of The Italian Job. Presumably he didn’t mean waiting 40 years before pulling off a caper that wouldn’t blow the bloody doors off a rabbit hutch.”

Flawless. Elliot Noble, Sky Movies.

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