For 723 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 8.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Ansen's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 70
Highest review score: 100 JFK
Lowest review score: 0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 40 out of 723
723 movie reviews
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The saving grace of Con Air is its sense of its own absurdity.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Never mean-spirited, A Dirty Shame has some big laughs, but it's a one-joke movie that shows its strain well before the finish line.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Ultimately, Huckabees doesn't work. But it sure does stimulate. This is just the kind of "failure" we could use plenty more of.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Director Mimi Leder fills the mindless-action-movie quota quite stylishly. The trouble is, The Peacemaker thinks it has a mind.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Sometimes stunning, ultimately stupefying epic .
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The storytelling is cheesy, but action fans won't want to miss the debut of the Next Big Thing in martial arts.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    It's sometimes hard to tell the characters from the candelabra. This lavish screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical is so chockablock with decorative detail the human figures are often competing with the decor for attention.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    This clumsy attempt to merge Jane Austen's classic with Bollywood musical conventions falls painfully flat.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    You're not sure where it's headed, but with an ensemble this good the aimlessness seems invigorating. It's when the plot kicks in that Newell's movie gets less interesting. It's frustrating to see such a promising premise, and such a delightful cast, wasted.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Harron sets the stage expertly, but her lack of a point of view ultimately enervates the movie. [6 May 1996, p. 78]
    • Newsweek
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Howard redeems this lumpy fantasy. Soft-spoken and mysterious, he presides over the movie with a dangerous, feline grace.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    It has a lovely score by Thomas Newman, stunning production design, striking costumes and gorgeous cinematography. Unfortunately, it just doesn't jell.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Slick and violent and reasonably tense, Ransom holds your attention without being the least bit interesting. [11Nov1996 Pg. 74]
    • Newsweek
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    But the tale has been squeezed to fit the mold of director John Hughes, which for long stretches makes it feel as much like the third "Home Alone" as the second "Dalmations."
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    It's gorgeous. It's epic. It's spectacular. But two hours later, it also proves to be emotionally impenetrable.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Soft to the point of squishiness, Phenomenon is rescued from terminal bathos by Travolta's radiant conviction.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Lurching uncertainly from slapstick to tears, The Family Stone works hard to warm the cockles of our hearts. The cast is attractive. The sentiments are commendable. But the love Bezucha wants us to feel for the family couldn't possibly compete with the love they already feel for themselves.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The theatricality is off the charts. Lane aims for the balconies; Broderick tones it down for the camera a bit.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Unfortunately, this narf's a drag: she talks like a fortune cookie and doesn't really do anything. Still, the multicultural cast is fun, the images have a painterly beauty and there are some beguiling comic touches before the story sinks into a swamp of solemn metaphysical glop.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    It's filled with Mann's signature macho verisimilitude, but essentially it's the stuff of what, in saner fiscal times, would have been a B movie. Miami Vice delivers the thrills, atmosphere and romance it promises, but it doesn't resonate like major Mann.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Alternately enrapturing and exhausting, brilliant and glib, this is a "Romeo and Juliet" more for the eyes than the ears. [4 Nov 1996, pg.73]
    • Newsweek
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    I might buy Babel if it had any real interest in its characters, but it's too busy moving them around its mechanistic chessboard to explore any nuances or depths.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    You don't have to have lived through the period to find this wrenching. And you don't have to doubt Estevez's sincerity to find it emotionally opportunistic.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Attempting a frame-by-frame duplication of Warner Bros. '40s filmmaking--even the extroverted acting style apes the period--Soderbergh has produced a movie so self-conscious that it's drained of all life.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The longest, grimmest and least funny of the trilogy.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The movie becomes a crazy quilt of competing stories, none of them properly developed. You could cut half the major characters out of Mr. Brooks and never miss them.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The storytelling seems occasionally disjointed, but more important, for all the special-effects wizardry, that touch of film magic never surfaces.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    If only the laughs were bigger, smarter and more frequent than they are.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Aims for a "Princess Bride" mix of whimsy and wonderment, the sardonic and the romantic, with only sporadic success. Both visually and narratively cluttered, the film diverts more than it enchants.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Penn's eye for landscapes is stunning, and his affection for outsider lifestyles is tangible. Hirsch, who carries the film on his increasingly emaciated shoulders, performs heroically, but there's an edge missing. The ideal casting would have been the young Sean Penn.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    There’s a great, piercing story here, but too often you feel you’re watching it through the wrong end of the telescope.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Manages to take an urgent, important topic and turn it into standard Hollywood melodrama. What a waste.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The semifunny Semi-Pro is amiable enough, but you never feel there's much at stake.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The great '30s comedies had edge, bite and relentless forward momentum. Leatherheads is laid-back, amiable and terminally tepid.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Baby Mama is rescued by two scene-stealing veterans: Sigourney Weaver as the smug, patrician owner of the surrogate company, and a priceless, ponytailed Steve Martin as the self-infatuated New Age owner of Round Earth. These two aren't onscreen a lot, but the movie seems most fully alive when they are.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    There's a quirky, honest movie struggling to emerge from Then She Found Me (April's Jewish heritage is refreshingly portrayed, and there are lovely, scattered moments when the characters surprise you), but Hunt, in her directorial debut, can't seem to decide whether she'd rather make a spicy ethnic dish or bland comfort food.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    For me, there's a problem with The Hulk, always has been, though it hasn't seemed to bother the tale's legions of fans. When the sensitive, physically unprepossessing Banner/Norton turns into the gargantuan, muscle-bound, growling Hulk, there's a total disconnect.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Wanted has one good plot twist in store (though it makes little sense), and its sense of humor about its own silliness keeps the fantasy afloat for a while. But as the body count rises, so does the portentous tone, and the relentlessness of Bekmambetov's overamped style becomes oppressive.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    I don't want to sound like a party pooper (or deny that there is something wickedly funny about seeing these middle-age adolescents beating the crap out of a playground full of little bullying kids) but there's something depressing about the never-ending celebration of eternal adolescence in recent American comedies.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Quantum of Solace isn't frivolous or cheesy, but it isn't all that much fun either.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Doubt stirs up a lot of stormy theatrical weather, but the stolid transfer from stage to screen does Shanley's play no favors.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    How do you literalize heaven? It's a problem moviemakers have struggled with forever, and Jackson hasn't solved it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    An ambitious, intense, but overdetermined exploration of the varieties of ethnic intolerance.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    It succeeds in bringing O'Barr's comic-book vision to life, but there's little else going on behind the graphic razzle-dazzle and the moody, ominous soundtrack.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Just at the point when Alien 3 should kick into high terror gear, it becomes clear that this hushed, somber sequel doesn't know how to deliver the goods. Fincher has style to spare -- and the sets, cinematography and special effects are all first rate -- but the nuts and bolts of storytelling elude him. [1 June 1992, p.73]
    • Newsweek
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The plain fact is that Halloween II is quite scary, more than a little silly and immediately forgettable. [16 Nov 1981, p.117]
    • Newsweek
    • 85 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    De Palma has brought back Travolta's edge and intelligence. Relieved of having to give a star turn, Travolta seems happy to buckle down and do a straight-ahead, no-frills acting job. [27 July 1981, p.74]
    • Newsweek
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The Fog needs more suggestive magic to sustain its farfetched premise. There's no doubt that Carpenter has talent to spare, but he's misjudged his gifts this time. The Fog ought to come on little cat feet, but its tread is heavy and literal. The harder it tries, the sillier it gets. [03 March 1980, p.68]
    • Newsweek
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Tthough it is action packed, spectacularly edited and often quite funny, one can't help feeling that Carpenter is squeezing the last drops out of a fatigued genre. Ten years ago this would have been one wild and crazy movie; in this era of ruthlessly efficient entertainments, it's a rather one-note evening. [14 July 1986, p.69]
    • Newsweek
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    As tempting as it may be to herald Romero as the Swift of schlock, his shopping-mall metaphor is really little more than a clever gag. The director's technique has been refined since his "Living Dead" days, but his grasp of characters is still pretty crude, and he reveals himself to be an all-too-predictable liberal moralists when he singles out the woman and the black as the true heroes. These objections should not-and won't-keep Romero loyalists away. For blood, guts and chuckles, most horror fans will undoubtedly find Dawn of the Dead finger-lickin' good. [7 May 1979, p.90]
    • Newsweek
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    It's ersatz classicism, in its inoffensive way as much a dead end as Stardust Memories. Allen seems to be biding his time, waiting for the "real" Woody Allen to figure out what a real Woody Allen movie will be. [19 July 1982, p.70]
    • Newsweek
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Bustin' Loose has a fair share of laughs, none of which is supplied by Tyson, who is totally wasted in an oppressively upright role and lacks the light touch that might have transformed it into something more quirky. For his first effort as producer, Pryor earns a mixed report. He's given himself a good showcase, but his gifts as a dangerous, subversive comic are undermined by his desire to make Uplifting Statements. [01 June 1981, p.91]
    • Newsweek
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The comic setup is smart, and the undertone of seriousness makes the first part of "City Slickers" genuinely amusing. But when the movie decides to get seriously serious it wears out its welcome fast. Did we really pay to see a male-sensitivity-training movie on horseback? [24 June 1991, p.60]
    • Newsweek
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    It's not just that the movie is formulaic; it's disingenuous. It relies on Roberts's smile to erase all misgivings. But all the stardust in the world can't disguise the fact that this is more package than picture.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    It's a gorgeous bad movie, the folly of a great visual stylist.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Has its heart in the right place, but its funnybone is out of joint.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    An adult love story that's trying for stiff-upper-lip poignancy.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    O
    The actors attack their roles with commitment (Hartnett’s understatement is impressive), but their fervor can’t hide the movie’s implausible, often confusing storytelling.
    • 12 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    This is an elaborate production, but all the jazzy sets and explosions in the world can't disguise the story's complete lack of urgency.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    This is a movie afraid of its own shadows.
    • Newsweek
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Gorgeous but curiously weightless.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    All the state-of-the-art technology in the world is no help to an actor saddled with Lucas's tinny dialogue.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Torn between moody grandiosity and cartoonish mayhem, Daredevil tries to have it both ways, and succeeds at neither.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Too facile to resonate deeply. Shouldn't a movie celebrating Nash give you some idea what his mathematical work is about? Fishier still is the suggestion that the cure for paranoid schizophrenia is love.
    • Newsweek
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    The film's claustrophobic, color-coordinated dourness yields little illumination, and as the surging violins accompany our heroine's un-raveling mind, the movie comes queasily close to romanticizing suicide. I knew I was supposed to feel something, but what?
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Newell, no hack, tries not to milk the cliches shamelessly, and that may be the movie's final undoing. Lacking the courage of its own vulgarity, Mona Lisa Smile is as tepid as old bathwater.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Von Trier, however, undercuts the universality of his own message with his meretricious closing credits, set to David Bowie's "Young Americans," which explicitly turns Dogville into an anti-American screed.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    The entire solemn, portentous edifice that is The Village collapses of its own fake weight. Just about everything that makes Shyamalan special misfires here.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    A paint-by-numbers old-fashioned romantic epic, Head in the Clouds is neither romantic nor epic, but it does succeed at old-fashioned.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    It's poppycock, but well directed: Ruben delivers two or three guaranteed jolts, which almost make up for the copout of an ending.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Maybe you have to be 14 to find all of this terribly clever.
    • Newsweek
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    This stiff-in-the-joints movie has little feel for its setting or period, and crucial chunks seem to have been left on the cutting-room floor. Robert Rossen's Oscar-winning 1949 version has nothing to fear.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    There's an inspirational, hang-on-to-your-dreams message, but it comes only at the very end of a long, grim, painful journey. Holiday cheer is not what this movie is offering.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    The most interesting thing about Beowulf, alas, is its technology. It's the work of a man who has fallen in love with his toys, but I miss the wicked satirist who made "Used Cars." And the truth is the motion capture in Beowulf comes across as an unsatisfying compromise between animation and live action.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    if you're trying to make us believe we're watching "reality" by using a faux documentary style, you need actors who never look like they are acting, and this is where Redacted stumbles.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    In this distressingly generic spy spoof, it's not Maxwell who's clueless, but the filmmakers.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    The Wrath of Khan is a small soap opera about a man coming to terms with age and death and a son he had never acknowledged. It's really "On Golden Galaxy," and it would have made a lot more sense as a modestly produced hour of television. [7 June 1982, p.53]
    • Newsweek
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Spielberg doesn't differentiate between the good ideas in the script and the bad ones: everything is given an emphatic, production-number treatment... His ultraslick, seductive technique can be a pleasure to watch in itself, but it can't disguise the fact that "Always" is a decidedly uneternal fantasy. [1 Jan. 1990, p.60]
    • Newsweek
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    A good half hour too long, and badly in need of some scares, Hook is a huge party cake of a movie, with too much frosting. After the first delicious bite, sugar shock sets in.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Howard's fifth movie is a keen disappointment. Clever moments and bittersweet touches aside, it leaves you wishing a modern-day Preston Sturges had written the script. [17 Mar 1986, p.82]
    • Newsweek
    • 34 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Spielberg has brought forth a farce that is both relentlessly spectacular and spectacularly unfunny. [17 Dec 1979, p.111]
    • Newsweek
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Taps aspires to be both a movie for the conservative '80s and a youth-in-revolt, anti-military movie of the '60s. The contradictions break the dramatic spine of director Harold Becker's film, which grinds to a predictably violent climax without ever having made its basic premise believable. How many teen-agers do you know who would sacrifice their lives for a military school? [28 Dec 1981, p.65]
    • Newsweek
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    For all its reliance on old movie cliches, Top Gun is devoid of a strong dramatic line. It's a disjointed movie about flying school bracketed by two arbitrary action sequences... The likable Tom Cruise is simply miscast -- he's not the dangerous guy everyone's talking about, but the boy next door. Nor, for all the erotic posing, is there any real spark between him and the more sophisticated McGillis. Cruise seems to think that if he stares at her hard enough chemistry will result. [19 May 1986, p.72]
    • Newsweek
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Mazursky's satiric edge has always been leavened with heart. But now that his edge is gone he's wearing his heart on his sleeve and his dramaturgy has gone flabby. [16 Apr 1984, p.93]
    • Newsweek
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Romero and King want to be as unsophisticated as possible, while maintaining a sense of humor, and they succeed all too well. The characters, story lines and images are studiously one-dimensional. For anyone over 12 there's not much pleasure to be had watching two masters of horror deliberately working beneath themselves. Creepshow is a faux naif horror film: too arch to be truly scary, too elemental to succeed as satire. [22 Nov 1982, p.118]
    • Newsweek
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Shorn of its medical shock value, Coma is nothing more than Nancy Drew Goes to Surgery, a creaky blend of red herrings, ominous stares, stale cliff-hangers and doom-laden music. [06 Feb 1978, p.86]
    • Newsweek
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Visually, the Bluth effort is disappointingly drab and murky, and the story line may prove too thin to keep the little natives from restlessness. [28 Nov 1988, p.87]
    • Newsweek
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Heartburn deflates before your eyes: it's less a slice of life than a slice of lifestyle. [28 July 1986, p.70]
    • Newsweek
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Richard Attenborough's glumly misconceived Chaplin trudges its way through the great comic's long, brilliant, scandal-ridden career without ever catching fire. [28 Dec 1992, p.56]
    • Newsweek
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Director Amy Heckerling cripples half her jokes by telegraphing the punch lines: a sight gag at the top of the Eiffel Tower involving a tossed hat and a little dog would be a lot funnier if we hadn't seen it coming. Some of the jokes seem 25 years out of date: one hardly has to go all the way to France these days, much less cross a state line, to encounter a racy topless bar. [12 Aug 1985, p.71]
    • Newsweek
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    There have been and will be worse sequels than City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold, but there are few that seem so unnecessary. Slickers II, directed by Paul Weiland, is so harmless it's numbing: a little male bonding, some sagebrush slapstick, a couple of decent quips and a gift-wrapped moral. I kept wondering how the filmmakers mustered up the energy to go to work every morning. [27 June 1994, p.54]
    • Newsweek
    • 54 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Everything in Rounders is right there on the surface. Watching it is about as exciting as playing poker with all the cards face up. [14 Sept 1998]
    • Newsweek
    • 37 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    So bland and un-lived in you want to pour Tabasco all over the screen.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    This is a farfetched premise, and the movie pays a price for it.
    • Newsweek
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    All shots and no scenes, which is nice for a picture book but deadly for drama.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    A lumbering, self-important three-hour melodrama that defies credibility at every turn.
    • Newsweek
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Every role is miscast. Whose idea was it to have the boyishly British Bale play an illiterate Greek peasant, or the elegant Hurt a gruff-voiced country doctor? Cruz’s run of bad luck in American movies continues.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Flat, distressingly witless -- To put it bluntly -- the thrill is gone. Nobody did it better. But that was then.
    • Newsweek
    • 32 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair are asked to humiliate themselves many times over in The Sweetest Thing, and they do it with such game good spirits that they ought to get the actor’s equivalent of a Purple Heart.
    • Newsweek
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    You know a romantic comedy is in trouble when you root for the hero not to get the girl.
    • Newsweek
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    As adroit and charming as Witherspoon is--and she gives it her all--she cannot rise above the embarrassingly broad, witless material.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Irreversible takes an adolescent pride in its own ugliness. “I Stand Alone" told me something about the world; this one tells me more than I want to know about the calculating mind of its maker.
    • 26 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Sarah Thorp’s lazy script lurches from the lame to the ludicrous.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman has written quips, not characters and Joel Schumacher still seems miscast as a Bat-action director: he stages the mayhem confusingly and the comedy too broadly.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Downright repetitive! [30 May 1983]
    • Newsweek
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    The special effects are definitely the best thing about this curiously bland disasterthon.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    The superhero genre screams for a makeover, or at least a smart deconstruction, but Hancock isn't that movie. It just ups the foolishness ante.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Trying for a tone somewhere between an art film, an absurdist comedy, a horror movie and an old Saturday-matinee serial, he's made a handsome, cripplingly self-conscious thriller that's devoid of any real thrills. [3 Feb. 1992, p.65]
    • Newsweek
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    There's a big difference between shock effects and suspense, and in sacrificing everything at the altar of gore, Carpenter sabotages the drama. The Thing is so single-mindedly determined to keep you awake that it almost puts you to sleep. [28 June 1982, p.73B]
    • Newsweek
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Though it tells us that it's about a man who gives pleasure for a living but is incapable of accepting pleasure, it is in fact about the guilty obsessions of a filmmaker who seems incapable of giving pleasure to an audience. [11 Feb 1980, p.82]
    • Newsweek
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Attempting a slapstick satire of suburban paranoia and xenophobia, Dante lavishes his considerable skills on a one-note, repetitive Dana Olsen screenplay which, at best, contains enough invention for a 20-minute skit. [06 Mar 1989, p.58]
    • Newsweek
    • 28 Metascore
    • 30 David Ansen
    Criticizing it is like spitting in the wind, but at the risk of sounding like the spoilsport villain of the piece (a snippety liberal Washington bureaucrat, wouldn't you know), there's a smug, bully-boy spirit underneath this supposedly merry romp. The message is Go for It, and the theme song tells us 'Youv'e gotta have a dream to, make a dream come true," but what have our dreams come to? Breaking the 55-mph speed limit? In this movie, paradise is being able to land a Piper Cubin a busy city street to pick up another six-pack. Unfettered individualism has come to this: drive hard and carry a big Schlitz. [13 July 1981, p.81]
    • Newsweek
    • 33 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    Like people who compulsively giggle whenever they tell you bad news, the movie runs for cover in lame, comic shtick.
    • Newsweek
    • 38 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    What was a ragged but often hilarious charmer has been genetically altered into a deafening and desperate mutant.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    Kids will be bored, the rest of us baffled.
    • Newsweek
    • 32 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    Nutty paranoid thriller.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    A tired, confused romantic comedy/noir thriller with all the suspense of an infomercial. Buy the poster; skip the movie.
    • Newsweek
    • 27 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    I staggered out of this shameless, interminable movie feeling as if I'd been force-fed a ton of mealy, artificially sweetened baby food.
    • Newsweek
    • 25 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    Screenwriter Ropelewski piles one silly plot contrivance upon another, and the characters start behaving like nitwits.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    If this is what Hollywood considers serious, important filmmaking, maybe the movie industry should stick to the low road.
    • Newsweek
    • 50 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    All the surprises strenuously cooked up by screenwriter Patrick Smith Kelly and director Andrew ("The Fugitive") Davis can't overcome the movie's inability to make us care about any of its paper-thin characters.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    The creepy subtext of his (Sandler's) behavior is something this crude, mirthless comedy tries not to notice.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    That this relentless barrage of psychological and physical torture is extremely well made and powerfully performed--Watts hurls herself into her physically demanding role with heroic conviction--somehow makes it worse.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    The indignities inflicted on the Chester family by writers Jeremy Stevens and Mark Reisman are barely clever enough to sustain a half-hour TV show. Carl Reiner directed this tepid farce, as if half asleep. [26 Aug 1985, p.62]
    • Newsweek
    • 37 Metascore
    • 20 David Ansen
    Though an expensive production, padded out with special effects and side- trips to Nepal, it fails to achieve any grandeur or dash. Murphy seems to be present mainly to mock the film's pretentions and shoddy plotting, as if the producers deliberately had chosen a piece of third-rate pulp, pumped millions of dollars into it, and then brought in Murphy to make them look stupid. [22 Dec 1986, p.75]
    • Newsweek
    • 41 Metascore
    • 10 David Ansen
    The combination of Shandling's button-down TV sensibility and Nichols's good taste produces a film whose tone is out of sync with the simple, ribald conceit and is only mildly amusing at best.
    • 19 Metascore
    • 10 David Ansen
    The folks who served up this formulaic swill seem to think comedy grants you a free pass from credibility. Our lonely hero's artificial Yuletide enthusiasm is more than odd: it's not recognizably human.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 10 David Ansen
    Rent the devastating "The Boys of St. Vincent" to see how slick and hollow Sleepers is, how little it reveals about the real nature and effect of child abuse. [28 October 1996, p. 74]
    • Newsweek
    • 36 Metascore
    • 10 David Ansen
    The usually reliable director Michael Caton-Jones hasn't a clue how to freshen up such stale material.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 10 David Ansen
    Michael Beck (of "The Warriors") shows no discernible talent for musical romanticism Olivia ("Totally Hot") Newton-John sings prettily but is totally tepid, and the ever graceful Gene Kelly deserves a medal for keeping a straight face. Robert Greenwald, the director, should look into another line of work. Perhaps opening a disco? [18 Aug 1980, p.85]
    • Newsweek
    • 15 Metascore
    • 0 David Ansen
    If you harbor any fond feelings for the original, stay far away from this mess.
    • Newsweek

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