Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Fast Five is Certified Fresh

Plus, Prom is sticky sweet, Hoodwinked Too is schticky, and guess Dylan Dog's Tomatometer!

by | April 28, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got speedy autos (Fast Five, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker), a night to remember (Prom, starring Aimee Teegarden and Thomas McDonell), and a fractured fairy tale (Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil, with voice work from Hayden Panettiere and Patrick Warburton). What do the critics have to say?

Fast Five

77%

Action sequels are always mercenary cash-grabs, and by the time a fifth installment hits theaters, any pretension to quality has pretty much evaporated. Right? Not necessarily, if the reviews of Fast Five are anything to go by — critics say this installment delivers high-octane thrills and rarely pauses for thought, leaving the sporadic success of the first four films in the dust. Once again, ex-cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and ex-con Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) team up with a bunch of their old comrades to participate in a daring street race (this time in Rio) while staying one step ahead of the law. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Fast Five is borderline avant-garde in its refusal to adhere to logic or the laws of physics, but that’s one of its strengths — the action sequences are breathtaking, and a sly sense of humor and breakneck pace keep things from ever getting stuck in neutral.

Prom

35%

Given that it’s a Disney release, one can safely assume that Prom won’t delve into the ribald, risqué territory that many associate with (or remember from) prom night. And while critics say this sweet, good-natured comedy has its virtues — among them an appealing young cast — it’s really, really predictable, and a little too squeaky-clean. The film follows Aimee Teegarden and a group of her friends who are trying to plan out every detail necessary for the perfect prom. However, sometimes real life intrudes on even the best laid plans, and soon friendships are tested and nerves are frayed. The pundits say Prom is generally better than it has to be, offering a wish-fulfillment fantasy that’s sincere and non-threatening, but it’s also clichéd, lighter-than-air fluff. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down memorable movie proms).

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil

11%

Hoodwinked didn’t exactly set the world afire, but a few critics found its Little Red Riding Hood-meets-Rashomon conceit charming and sporadically funny. Now comes Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil, and critics say whatever modest pleasures were to be found in its predecessor have been steamrolled by middling animation and played-out pop culture references. Hayden Panettiere steps into the role of Red, who’s joined a paramilitary group and is tasked with rescuing Hansel and Gretel from an evil witch. The pundits say Hoodwinked Too! is weighted down by corny wisecracks and sub-par animation, stranding a talented voice cast in a kiddie flick that’s unlikely to delight tots or their parents.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

7%

It appears that the folks behind Dylan Dog: Dead of Night knew their flick was a dog, since it wasn’t screened for critics prior to its release. Brandon Routh stars as the title character, a private investigator whose clients include werewolves, vampires, and zombies, all of whom are ready to duke it out if our hero can’t track down a mysterious artifact. Kids, put down those comic books and guess the Tomatometer!

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Werner Herzog‘s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a 3-D documentary about ancient cave paintings, is Certified Fresh at 94 percent.

  • The Arbor, a documentary/fiction hybrid based upon Andrea Dunbar’s celebrated play, is at 89 percent.

  • Takeshi Miike‘s 13 Assassins, a period samurai epic about a group of warriors who must stop the rise of a potential tyrant, is at 88 percent.

  • Lebanon, Pa., an indie dramedy about a thirtysomething advertising exec in town for his father’s funeral, is at 81 percent.

  • The Robber, a drama about a successful distance runner who was also a skilled bank robber, is at 78 percent.

  • That’s What I Am, starring Ed Harris and Molly Parker in the coming-of-age story about a bright kid who’s paired with the class outcast for a school project, is at 63 percent.

  • Exporting Raymond, a documentary about the attempt to adapt Everybody Loves Raymond for Russian television, is at 62 percent.

  • Some Days Are Better Than Others, a drama interweaving characters searching for meaning and ways to communicate with others, is at 50 percent.

  • Sympathy for Delicious, starring Mark Ruffalo and Orlando Bloom in a dramedy about an up-and-coming underground dj, is at 33 percent.

Finally, props to ThePotterBuster for coming the closest guessing Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family ‘s 37 percent Tomatometer.

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