Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Tropic Thunder Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Vicky Christina Barcelona scores but The Clone Wars misses. And guess Mirrors' Tomatometer!

by | August 14, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a war movie satire (Tropic Thunder, starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr.), romantic foibles in Spain (Woody Allen‘s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, starring Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz), animated Force-utilizers (George LucasThe Clone Wars), and killer reflections (Mirrors, starring Kiefer Sutherland). What do the critics have to say?

How better to lambaste the over-blown, summer blockbuster than with an over-blown, summer blockbuster? That’s the battle plan with Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder. While shooting a war drama in Vietnam, the pampered “all-star” cast (Stiller, Jack Black, Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr.) are taken off set and dropped into a camera-rigged jungle where they’re expected to pull off a guerrilla-style re-shoot and resurrect their Oscar-bait production turned over-budget disaster. While no one’s invoking the Academy (yet), critics are calling Stiller’s helming just the thing to promote his directorial resume (Reality Bites, The Cable Guy) from private to corporal. With references to major war films (Apocalypse Now, Platoon) as well as their making-of docs (Hearts of Darkness) and a few odd references thrown in (There’s There’s Something about Mary, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), critics are saying this foul-mouthed, politically incorrect farce proves war can be Hell-arious. It currently stands at 83 percent on the Tomatometer.

Macho Libre!

Rumors of Woody Allen’s creative demise may be dispelled by his new tragicomic travelogue Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Critics aren’t just referring to the film’s Spanish exteriors when they call it “warm,” “sun-drenched,” and “seductive.” Vicky Cristina follows two American girls (Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall) who Venture to Spain for a summer only to become entangled with a passionate artist (Javier Bardem) and his borderline insane ex-wife (Penelope Cruz). Critics are saying the dazzling performances have elevated this bedroom comedy-cum-treatise on art, and put it in the lexicon of some of Allen’s saucier sagas of doomed romance. At 88 percent on the Tomatometer, Vicky Cristina tops even 2005’s Match Point, and is getting the kind of love Allen’s work hasn’t seen since Bullets over Broadway (96 percent).

“Anyone up for a Bergman retrospective?”

The Clone Wars hits screens this week with what sounds like a leaden thud. The critics are using words that haven’t been uttered about the franchise since the ill-fated Holiday Special, implying there’s little pop-culture future for this Clone. A precursor to the CG series airing on Cartoon Network this fall, Clone Wars doesn’t go too far into the titular war, instead focusing on an ancillary mission to recover Jabba the Hutt’s kidnapped infant. Critics are citing the mechanical animation and lackluster plot as culprit for pushing the franchise towards decline. At 24 percent, this one might have been better suited for the small screen. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down the Tomatometers for every entry in the Star Wars franchise.)

“Bad reviews getting is this.”

We get the impression Mirrors is all about images that can kill, though that’s sort of conjecture. The studio isn’t screening it for press, which makes it sound like the only thing these images can kill are box office numbers. Keifer Sutherland plays an ex-cop whose house is haunted by ghosts with a fondness for reflective surfaces. The film, directed by Alexandre Aja, the Frenchman who brought us High Tension and the Hills Have Eyes remake, begs us to ask, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, what will be the Tomatometer after all?” Venture a guess, kids!

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

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