Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Chihuahua a Dog; Nick and Norah a Hot Item

Plus, guess An American Carol's Tomatometer!

by and | October 2, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got hot dogs (Beverly
Hills Chihuahua
, starring
Drew Barrymore
and Andy Garcia),
young love (Nick
and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
, starring
Michael Cera
and Kat
), magazine mishaps (How
to Lose Friends and Alienate People
, starring
Simon Pegg and
Kirsten Dunst),
vision loss (Blindness,
Julianne Moore
Mark Ruffalo),
Dickensian satire (An
American Carol
, starring
Kevin Farley
and Kelsey
), invention thievery (Flash
of Genius
Greg Kinnear
and Lauren
), and hired guns (Appaloosa,
starring Ed Harris
and Viggo
). What do the critics have to say?

Rotten Tomatoes loves canines and we have an office located in Beverly Hills,
but even we couldn’t help but feel pangs of despair and embarrassment whilst
enduring the trailer to

Beverly Hills Chihuahua
. So imagine our surprise when the movie comes out of the gate with a Fresh Tomatometer!
And imagine our non-surprise when it freefalls into Rotten territory. Drew
Barrymore, Andy Garcia, and George Lopez give voice to the dogs of BHC, a movie being praised by the critics for enthusiastic voice performances
but its lack of surprise or originality does little to separate it from anything
else littered throughout the family-movie bone yard. At 45 percent, your kids are barking up the right tree this weekend in
Beverly Hills.


“Sorry, skinny dipping is beneath me.”


Michael Cera and indie rock have been a winning combination in the past, so does
fortune strike again for the Canadian kid? He co-stars in his new movie,

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
, with Kat Dennings as two music loving-teens who meet-cute and go on an all-night quest for a secret show by one
of their favorite bands. Philosophical discussions, hipster ruminations, and
mutual appreciation ensues. Though it lacks a strong narrative drive or the easy
witticism of similar films like Juno or
Sixteen Candles,
its unabashed romantic streak and strong central
performances drives its message home. At 71 percent on the Tomatometer, Nick and Norah’s
Infinite Playlist
is music for the hip and the young at heart.

“Save me: this dude hasn’t changed clothes since Superbad.”


Like Ricky Gervais, whose Ghost Town barely made a box office blip a few weeks
back, Simon Pegg is another Brit who’s having a tough go at the movies in
America. Pegg’s latest,

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
, finds him without his usual
collaborators (Edgar Wright and Nick Frost), trading company for Kirsten Dunst
and Megan Fox in an outrageous account of a British journalist who burns all
his bridges writing for a glitzy New York magazine. Pegg charms again,
but the critics cite his Toby Young character as irredeemably unlikable, and the
film’s comedy is too slapsticky and broad for any satire about the entertainment
industry to make an impact. At 37 percent, How To has lost the critics and may
alienate audiences.


Simon Pegg auditioning for Anchorman II: The Reckoning of Ron Burgundy.


With City of God and The Constant Gardener, Fernando Meirelles
established himself as an expert stylist in the realm of political thrillers.
However, critics say his latest, Blindness,
is over earnest and lacks the visceral punch of his previous works. The film
stars Julianne Moore as a woman who does not to succumb to an outbreak that
leaves much of the world’s population without sight; she hides her condition in
order to get the bottom of a sinister government quarantine of the blind. The
critics say Blindness has its moments, but it lacks the horror of Jose
Saramago’s source novel; it’s both emotionally muted and technically overdone.
At 38 percent on the Tomatometer, Blindness may not be worth seeing.


Danny Glover pioneering a new role: crazy blind pirate man cabbie.


Flash of Genius
may sound like your typical based-on-true-events, little-guy-takes-on-the man
movie, but critics say it’s a smart, compelling yarn with a few surprises up its
sleeve. Greg Kinnear stars as Robert Kearns, a college professor and amateur
inventor whose innovation — intermittent windshield wipers — was co-opted by
big auto manufacturers without giving credit; Kearns spends decades attempting
to right this injustice, and it takes a toll on his family. The pundits say Flash
of Genius
is a solid underdog tale, featuring a driven performance by
Kinnear and a script that doesn’t hammer its points home. At 73 percent on the
Tomatometer, Flash of Genius is a clever invention.


“Can’t think of anyone more unlikely to have a movie? Here’s the dude who
invented AstroTurf.”


Sometimes a movie doesn’t have to break new ground to be satisfying. Critics say
that although Appaloosa

may not be the finest Western in recent years, it’s got good performances and
enough convention-defying twists to make it an amiable time at the movies. Ed
Harris (who also directs) and Viggo Mortensen star as a pair of hired guns who
are trying to bring order to a New Mexico town; however, their rapport is
challenged when they fall in love with the same woman (Renee Zellweger). The
pundits say Appaloosa harkens back to the classic Westerns of John Ford
and Howard Hawks, and though it doesn’t move at a particularly sprightly pace,
the leads’ chemistry and a playful sense of humor make it a smart, solid film.
At 73 percent on the Tomatometer, Appaloosa may be worth a visit.

“You had me at ‘Ayup.'”

After slumming it with Scary Movies and Ashton Kutcher movies (My Boss’s Daughter)for years,
director David Zucker finally returns with his first original satire property
since 1988’s The Naked Gun. Will
An American Carol
a slap-happy putdown of a Michael Moore-ish character who learns the true
meaning of patriotism, recapture the critical glory of the Naked Guns or
Airplane? Hard to say, as An American Carol was apparently not screened
for critics. Surely, you’ll be able to guess its Tomatometer?

“No, I don’t speak jive! Go away!”

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Jonathan Demme’s Rachel
    Getting Married
    , starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose emotional
    problems overshadow her sister’s wedding, is at 79 percent.
  • Religulous,
    Bill Maher’s gonzo examination of religious fundamentalism, is at 64 percent.
  • Ballast, a
    drama about how a suicide changes the lives of three people in the rural south,
    is at 79 percent.

Finally, Kirk Cameron bless you, Random_Jake: you came closest to guessing Fireproof‘s
percent Tomatometer last week.

Recent Drew Barrymore Movies:



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