Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Penguins of Madagascar Is Silly Fun

Plus, Horrible Bosses 2 is short on laughs, and The Babadook and The Imitation Game are both Certified Fresh.

by | November 25, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got funny flightless birds (Penguins of Madagascar, with voice performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich) and desperate businessmen (Horrible Bosses 2, starring Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis). What do the critics have to say?

Penguins Of Madagascar


The Madagascar movies are certainly a few cuts below, say, the Toy Story films, but give credit where it’s due: each entry has been better-reviewed than the last. Now, the scene-stealing penguins get their own movie, and critics say Penguins of Madagascar is an energetic, silly spy comedy that’s sure to please the little ones (and maybe earn a few smiles from their older companions). The nefarious octopus Octavious Brine (voiced by John Malkovich) is plotting against the world’s penguins, sour old penguin pals Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private join forces with a husky named Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team of animal spies to thwart him. The pundits say some parents may find Penguins of Madagascar a little too manic, but it’s got plenty of witty lines and madcap action scenes to please the kids.

Horrible Bosses 2


The first Horrible Bosses was a funny revenge fantasy with a serious undercurrent: it drew its dark laughs from our collective economic anxiety. Unfortunately, critics say Horrible Bosses 2 trades topical humor for tastelessness, stranding its talented ensemble in a sloppy narrative. This time out, our heroes (played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day) have formed their own company and inked a deal with wealthy retailer Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) to get their product in stores. But when Bert tries to double-cross them, our would-be entrepreneurs decide to kidnap his son and hold him for ransom. The pundits say that the stars keep Horrible Bosses 2 watchable from time to time, but they’re let down by a thin script that turns juvenile and misanthropic a little too quickly. (Check out as our video interviews with the stars here.)

Certified Fresh on TV:

The pundits say The Missing (Certified Fresh at 96 percent) turns a common premise into a standout thriller, thanks to heartfelt, affecting performances.

Substantially similar to its predecessor in all the best ways, critics say this new season of The Comeback (Certified Fresh at 83 percent) thrives on Lisa Kudrow’s starring performance as Valerie Cherish.

Also opening this week in limited release:

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