Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Planes: Fire And Rescue is a Dull Ride

Plus, The Purge: Anarchy is pulpy but preposterous, and Sex Tape is too tame.

by | July 17, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got winged heroes (Planes: Fire And Rescue, with voice performances by Dane Cook and Ed Harris), criminal-minded citizens (The Purge: Anarchy, starring Frank Grillo and Michael K. Williams), and a mortified married couple (Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel). What do the critics have to say?

Planes: Fire And Rescue


Some animated features offer enough magic and wonder to entertain the whole family, while others might keep the kiddies occupied but won’t do much for their parents. The critics say Planes: Fire And Rescue is an example of the latter; the visuals are striking, but the characters are bland and the action is predictable. This time out, Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) has left racing behind to join Blade Ranger (Ed Harris) and his squad of fire and rescue planes, who must contain an out-of-control forest blaze. The pundits say Planes: Fire & Rescue is sure to delight vehicle-obsessed children, but their parents or guardians are likely to find it thin and inoffensive at best.

The Purge: Anarchy


If you’re in the mood for disreputable B-movie thrills ‘n’ chills, critics say you could do worse than The Purge: Anarchy, a ludicrously-plotted, blood-drenched sci-fi action flick whose pulpy pleasures are unfortunately undermined by its overreaching message. Like its predecessor, The Purge takes place during a 12-hour stretch during which all laws are suspended and criminals run wild; this time, a grizzled cop (Frank Grillo) defends several law-abiding citizens while seeking to avenge the death of his son. The pundits say The Purge: Anarchy is gritty and tense, but its predictable narrative and allegorical pretensions dull its occasionally sharp edge. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of horror sequels.)

Sex Tape


Sex Tape promises a playful blend of heart and raunch, and it stars two dependable comic talents in Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. Unfortunately, critics say the movie has a few good moments but never generates the kind of manic energy that this kind of farce requires. Diaz and Segel star as a married couple looking to add a dash of spice to their stagnant relationship. However, when they accidentally distribute a video of their private activities, our heroes go to absurd lengths to destroy the evidence. The pundits say Sex Tape too often strains for laughs while keeping its naughty premise from achieving full boil. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Diaz’s best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Fanny, a drama about a woman who marries a rich man before the father of her child realizes he loves her, is at 71 percent.

  • Alive Inside, a documentary about how music helps to engage people with debilitating memory loss, is at 70 percent.

  • A Five Star Life, a drama about a luxury hotel critic dealing with a shakeup in her support system, is at 60 percent.

  • Michel Gondry‘s Mood Indigo, starring Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris in a romantic fantasy about a man who tries to save a woman with an unusual medical condition, is at 56 percent.

  • Aftermath, starring Edward Furlong in a sci-fi thriller about a group of strangers hiding in a basement in order to survive nuclear radiation and zombie hoards, is at 56 percent.

  • I Origins, starring Michael Pitt and Brit Marling in a sci-fi drama about a researcher whose study of the human eye leads to a dramatic discovery, is at 50 percent.

  • Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here, co-starring Kate Hudson in a comedy about a thirtysomething dad in the midst of reevaluating his life, is at 29 percent.

  • Video Games: The Movie, a documentary about the pioneers of the medium, is at 25 percent.

  • Persecuted, starring James Remar and Bruce Davison in a thriller about an evangelist who runs afoul of a corrupt senator, is at zero percent.

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