Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Zombieland Is Bloody Good

Plus, Whip It, The Invention of Lying, Capitalism, and the Toy Stories (mostly) hit their marks.

by and | October 1, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got zombie zaniness (Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg); derby dolls (Whip It, starring Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page); funny falsehoods (The Invention of Lying, starring Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner); financial follies (Michael Moore‘s Capitalism: A Love Story); and a pair of Pixar classics (Toy Story and Toy Story 2, both in 3-D). What do the critics have to say?



For those who think there’s nothing left on the carcass of the zombie subgenre to pick over, guess again. Critics say Zombieland is a hilarious send-up of films about the undead — with enough blood and guts to satisfy the gorehound set. Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg star as a pair of non-zombies who team up for a road trip across an American landscape that’s overrun with walking corpses. It’s a simple enough setup, but pundits say what makes Zombieland such a good time at the movies is its boundless energy and inventiveness — and the fact that it features one of the funniest celebrity cameos in quite some time.


Whip It

With Whip It, Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with a girl-empowerment sports comedy. And the critics say this roller derby flick is sweet and sparky, with a breezy, unsentimental tone that compensates for the predictable script. Ellen Page stars as a beauty pageant regular who decides to try her hand in the rough-and-tumble world of roller derby — and break out of her small-town routine in the process. The pundits say Whip It is loaded with sports movie clichés, but so what? Featuring a veritable army of top-notch actresses (including Kristen Wiig, Eve, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden and Barrymore herself), the film is both fleet-footed and good-natured.


The Invention of Lying

Calling Ricky Gervais’ brand of comedy self-deprecating doesn’t go far enough — self-immolating is more like it. And though Gervais is undeniably talented, the pundits say his latest, The Invention of Lying (which he co-scripted and co-directed with Matthew Robinson) is ambitious but uneven. The film takes place in a parallel world in which everyone tells the whole truth and nothing but all the time, until Mark (Gervais) discovers that bearing false witness will get him ahead in the world — for a while, anyway. The critics say this is thought-provoking, inventive stuff, but despite some big laughs, The Invention of Lying eventually jettisons its originality for romantic comedy convention.


Capitalism: A Love Story

A few documentaries have tried to grapple with the events that lead to the current economic crisis. Michael Moore goes a step further, indicting our economic system itself with Capitalism: A Love Story, and the pundits say the result is his most personal (if not his best) since Roger & Me. As usual, Moore blends stock footage, interviews, and gonzo stunts, taking aim at the system that spawned our recent financial collapse. As with many of Moore’s films, some critics feel his research is thin, and that his biases overwhelm the facts, but most say his brand of cinematic rabblerousing is in fine form, with affecting tales of fiscal woe and a few big laughs. (Check out our interview with Moore here.)


Toy Story and Toy Story 2

This week, two of Pixar’s crowning achievements — Toy Story and Toy Story 2 — get rereleased in glorious 3-D. Let us put it to you in the simplest terms possible: these are two of the best-reviewed films in the history of this site. If you’ve never seen them before, now’s your chance to experience the magic on the big screen — while wearing 3-D glasses, no less.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Abel Ferrara‘s Chelsea on the Rocks, a documentary about New York’s legendary boho residence, the Chelsea Hotel, is at 91 percent.
  • The Coen BrothersA Serious Man, which follows a Jewish college professor and family man who’s struggling to find the meaning of life, is at 81 percent.
  • Afterschool, a dark drama about a youngster whose fascination with internet videos pulls him in sinister directions, is at 73 percent.
  • More Than a Game, a doc about NBA superstar LeBron James and his high school teammates, is at 62 percent.

Finally, props to RunAmok for coming the closest to guessing Pandorum‘s 34 percent Tomatometer.

Tag Cloud

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