Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Sherlock Holmes Is Worth Investigating

Plus, Alvin and Nine hit flat notes, It's Complicated is too simple, and Up in the Air is Certified Fresh.

by | December 23, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a legendary detective (Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law); matriculating rodents (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, starring David Cross and Jason Lee); a middle aged love triangle (It’s Complicated, starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin); turbulent business travel (Up in the Air, starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga); and a directionless director (Nine, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Penelope Cruz). What do the critics have to say?


Sherlock Holmes

Known for his hyperkinetic lad pictures, Guy Ritchie may not seem like an obvious choice to direct a Sherlock Holmes adaptation, given that 221B Baker St.’s most famous resident is a paragon of sophistication and stateliness. But a little Robert Downey Jr. goes a long way, critics say, and the star’s elementary appeal helps to draw us into this 21st century, action-packed update of the legendary detective. As Holmes, Downey is abetted by Jude Law, who plays his right hand man Watson; together, they must foil a plot to destroy Britain, while Holmes must deal with his favorite nemesis, the brilliant Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). The pundits say Sherlock Holmes maintains both the pulpy spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original short stories and the wittiness of its lead characters, and if the movie’s sometimes too high-octane for its own good, it still provides a cracking good time. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Law’s best-reviewed films.)


Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Alright everyone, sing along with me: “Christmas, Christmas time is near /Time for toys and time for cheer…” “The Chipmunk Song” is a holiday staple, but critics say the pint-sized trio’s latest seasonal offering — Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel — is far less likely to bring yuletide merriment. This time around, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are headed to high school, where they meet riot grrrls the Chipettes — now employed by the ‘Munks old enemy, Ian Hawke (David Cross). Can these two rodent bands find common ground — and save their school’s music program? The pundits say this Squeakquel is sure to please little kids, but adults may be less amused by the film’s lowbrow hi-jinks and general inanity.


It’s Complicated

With names like Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin on the marquee, you’d expect a film with a title like It’s Complicated to provide some smarter-than-average laughs. And critics say that while the cast does its best to elevate this movie, the results are more farcical — and predictable — than one would hope. Streep stars as Jane, whose ex-husband Jake (Baldwin) has remarried; at their son’s graduation, the two resume their love affair – which complicates things for Jane’s children and her new suitor Adam (Martin). The pundits say everything here is handled with plenty of professionalism, but It’s Complicated ultimately succumbs to sitcom conventions when it could have been something more.


Up in the Air

Jason Reitman‘s Certified Fresh Up in the Air has already thrilled critics and snared a number of award nominations, and this week it expands into wide release. George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham, who has accumulated big frequent flyer mileage from his company, which tasks him with firing people in person. But when the corporation cuts back on travel, will Bingham still cross paths with a fellow traveler (Vera Farmiga)? The pundits say Up in the Air is styling, timely, and features magnificent performances.



It’s based on a hit Broadway musical (which is itself adapted from the Fellini classic 8 1/2). It’s loaded with Oscar winners. So what’s the matter with Nine? Well, critics say it lacks showstopping numbers, a strong narrative, and a sense of restraint. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as a film director who is in an artistic rut, so he turns to the women in his life, a group that includes Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, and Marion Cotillard, among others. The pundits say the cast acquits itself well enough on the vocal front, and the film has a couple dazzling moments, but ultimately, Nine is superficially flashy, hyperactively edited, and musically undistinguished.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

TIFF Sony Pictures adaptation Hulu theme song Podcast independent movie game of thrones Legendary gangster Rock TV heist movie international TV movies Arrowverse serial killer slasher toy story psychological thriller singing competition Opinion Best Actress ghosts Disney streaming service art house Mystery Star Wars Celebration scene in color Prime Video AMC Plus boxing king kong high school DGA Creative Arts Emmys MCU VICE finale tv talk Neflix Syfy superhero Marvel PaleyFest dreamworks comic book movie transformers police drama Rocky Awards Tour GoT Marathons Family Masterpiece saw unscripted Travel Channel toronto YouTube HBO supernatural Superheroe adventure parents Action miniseries nfl Best Picture series Broadway Brie Larson A&E children's TV BBC America MSNBC FXX a nightmare on elm street crime Vudu Song of Ice and Fire summer preview MTV trophy classics crossover boxoffice E! natural history best Trophy Talk Holiday political drama Fox Searchlight NBA obituary Box Office social media WarnerMedia Amazon Prime spider-verse universal monsters strong female leads facebook dogs green book historical drama Sneak Peek hist Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TBS Kids & Family HFPA screenings Apple Super Bowl archives canceled reboot nature Character Guide Food Network Esquire TCA 2017 Shondaland Amazon Prime Video Extras HBO Max Netflix Christmas movies live event YA Disney Plus ITV Musical french Comics on TV twilight witnail quibi Lucasfilm Academy Awards Marvel Studios Marvel Television zero dark thirty women sopranos Indigenous Winter TV vs. spider-man remakes Sundance Now The Arrangement Emmys 007 critics Black Mirror rom-coms Country DC Comics VH1 Superheroes spanish language comics award winner Discovery Channel new zealand Turner anthology Avengers lord of the rings Cannes Spectrum Originals Acorn TV royal family Crunchyroll telelvision reviews legend broadcast australia Adult Swim TruTV Polls and Games RT History Universal Pictures Chernobyl Hallmark Christmas movies space live action justice league prank discovery Spring TV GIFs YouTube Red ratings blaxploitation blockbusters period drama chucky Comic-Con@Home 2021 revenge docuseries Tokyo Olympics football comic Comic Book President Black History Month Oscars USA Network 2019 king arthur DirecTV Tubi 73rd Emmy Awards godzilla Mary Tyler Moore feel good know your critic diversity cults Christmas CW Seed razzies venice rt labs critics edition Amazon Studios video medical drama indiana jones 2016 golden globe awards Pirates Sundance CBS South by Southwest Film Festival 2015 20th Century Fox sequels Fall TV worst Photos New York Comic Con PlayStation popular Columbia Pictures Biopics Toys dramedy FX new star wars movies 2017 Television Critics Association romantic comedy IFC young adult Universal CMT Wes Anderson Schedule satire Music Mindy Kaling free movies Ovation Hear Us Out vampires Calendar worst movies superman Cartoon Network cats PBS Film breaking bad TV One SDCC richard e. Grant Western 99% Musicals stand-up comedy GLAAD films sequel obi wan james bond Awards The Purge sports golden globes BET Winners Nickelodeon 2021 USA deadpool basketball Apple TV+ new york Paramount Network Crackle NBC binge zombies concert TCM Women's History Month Mudbound Apple TV Plus scary movies ESPN olympics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina harry potter Focus Features Spike Rom-Com The Walking Dead Nat Geo ViacomCBS Amazon Pride Month marvel comics Hollywood Foreign Press Association X-Men Paramount scene in color series dark emmy awards rotten franchise interviews slashers Classic Film LGBTQ Comedy technology Pacific Islander posters Ellie Kemper Freeform cancelled TV shows CBS All Access trailers science fiction documentaries scene in color film series Endgame target Election Pixar Tumblr FX on Hulu BAFTA Quiz war kaiju Pop black American Society of Cinematographers versus directors biopic First Look south america rotten movies we love Disney comic book movies Set visit Showtime ABC Family aliens E3 festivals mutant foreign spy thriller true crime werewolf The Academy Lifetime Turner Classic Movies rt archives HBO Go christmas movies action-comedy AMC BET Awards Fantasy 93rd Oscars indie Native crime drama Fargo spain Trailer Paramount Plus VOD Video Games criterion psycho news 79th Golden Globes Awards Peacock TCA Captain marvel halloween tv TNT fresh dc History Netflix jamie lee curtis Geeked Week mcc composers Film Festival TV Land renewed TV shows aapi Watching Series documentary Grammys Holidays marvel cinematic universe Nominations Disney+ Disney Plus ABC doctor who mockumentary 24 frames Mary poppins elevated horror Countdown anime all-time kids docudrama El Rey monster movies italian romance book summer TV preview TV renewals travel Reality Competition Best Director Cosplay scary zombie hispanic Oscar MGM APB television Infographic 2020 Fox News Instagram Live die hard Anna Paquin mission: impossible 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Trivia canceled TV shows Rocketman talk show Pop TV game show genre Lionsgate Dark Horse Comics hispanic heritage month Tags: Comedy A24 BBC One Animation Writers Guild of America Britbox stoner child's play dragons Hallmark Year in Review black comedy dceu DC Universe name the review Tomatazos Sundance TV LGBT hidden camera streaming Logo blockbuster screen actors guild FOX Ghostbusters what to watch Best Actor Teen based on movie video on demand 72 Emmy Awards BBC cooking ID hollywood Disney Channel Red Carpet comedies leaderboard DC streaming service Star Trek 71st Emmy Awards Shudder WGN sitcom Sony OWN San Diego Comic-Con NYCC cancelled asian-american spanish Drama thriller 45 animated RT21 debate japanese SundanceTV pirates of the caribbean First Reviews Lifetime Christmas movies ABC Signature Elton John sag awards joker Emmy Nominations Interview Certified Fresh Funimation book adaptation latino nbcuniversal Thanksgiving batman rt labs politics IFC Films crime thriller Comedy Central Pet Sematary OneApp Best and Worst Sci-Fi SXSW TLC kong Binge Guide 2018 The Walt Disney Company movies comic books japan target scene in color TCA Awards suspense Mary Poppins Returns critic resources streaming movies streamig robots CNN cars halloween jurassic park 21st Century Fox Bravo teaser cancelled TV series festival Heroines YouTube Premium SXSW 2022 Baby Yoda See It Skip It Reality adenture The Witch Tarantino Premiere Dates Exclusive Video fast and furious stop motion Alien spinoff disaster Epix cartoon Paramount Pictures laika Summer IMDb TV wonder woman casting 90s dexter cinemax cops National Geographic summer TV Stephen King Image Comics cancelled television Warner Bros. Horror scorecard Star Wars 1990s Valentine's Day TCA Winter 2020 Starz 4/20 mob 94th Oscars comiccon Martial Arts The CW Walt Disney Pictures biography Television Academy