For 223 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mary Pols' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Inside Out
Lowest review score: 0 Jack and Jill
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 223
223 movie reviews
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    The steady wink wink of Queen of Versailles is wearing. I'd say Greenfield is exploiting a narcissist's willingness to talk endlessly about herself, but I think it just as likely that Jackie is exploiting Greenfield's willingness to listen. And to keep that wonderful mechanical eye focused on her.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Instead of exploring something bigger, like the origins of Bernie's need for the company of elderly ladies (which Hollandsworth touched on in Texas Monthly; Tiede lost his mother at age 3 and his father at 15), Linklater limits the story and mood to black comedy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    It is a tremendous downer when the second half of the movie shirks logic, defies its own established principles and raises more questions than it answers.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Warrior's three principle characterizations are compelling - Nolte in particular gives a tempered performance as the shambling, sad-eyed wreck of a dad - but not enough to mask the film's lesser elements.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Arthur Christmas is not ultimately a cynical movie – it comes together sweetly and rather movingly at the end – but it springs forth from a place of cynicism.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Ginger & Rosa never matches the freshness of its young star.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Director Rodrigo Cortes intends us to feel trapped, twitchy and unhappy and at the same time, wildly grateful we're not actually in the box like Paul. I could do without that kind of guilt trip from a film.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    It's a feast for the eyes, but we're still hungry.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    I wanted very much for West's new movie to evoke films like "The Others" or "The Orphanage," which made me, in the moment at least, a believer in ghosts. The Innkeeper's payoff lacked that kind of oomph, and weirdly, the pairing of Luke and Claire brought movies about work relationships, like "Clerks" and "Office Space," more to mind than ghost stories.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Whereas Italian fashion icon Valentino was larger than life in "The Last Emperor," Matt Tyrnauer's jazzy 2009 documentary, Saint Laurent in L'Amour Fou is mostly a rather sweet and anguished ghost.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Uneven but occasionally quite funny.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Suspense isn't Burns' thing though, and it may be foolish to even ask for it this far into his career. Burns has made it crystal clear what his style is: lots of chatty, mostly amiable folks, working out their not so troubling differences in the greater New York metropolitan area.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    42
    Boseman is not a hugely close physical match to Robinson, except for perhaps in the power he conveys, but he’s a great choice to play the ball player, unfamiliar enough, despite a decade of small credits here and there, to feel like an athlete, not a movie star playing one.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Five-Year has comic bloat. Virtually every character gets their own moment of stand up, but in most cases, the bits aren't funny enough to warrant the screen time.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    For every obvious turn The Help takes, there is Davis, the ideal counterweight.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    The dreariest thriller of the year.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    This cutesy film is overwhelmed by a sense of forced farce.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Twice as funny as I thought it would be but not half as funny as it could have been.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Slick and senseless.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    As the movie goes on, the laughs are fewer and farther between, and for the last 30 minutes, not only did I not laugh, I wanted it to end so I could get back to my own boring but less precious life.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    It's only when it takes an unfortunate wrong turn from playful wit into the dramatic and sentimental - Hallström's speciality - that the movie starts to unravel.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    The resulting adventure is once again lively and clever, although its creative underpinnings -- a sort of flea-market pastiche of antique fairy tales, vintage vaudeville and contemporary pop culture -- seem rather more shabby than chic.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Like most children's movies, Rise of the Guardians mimics the patterns of adult entertainment. Where is the magic in that?
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    A Pixar movie is always lively, and this might be the studio's liveliest (and loudest) yet - but its leanest in terms of warmth and heart.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Mama is clumsily written and choppily edited, but Chastain doesn't have a bad scene in it, and you can see why she chose to be in this supernatural ghost story.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    The story remains sadly mired in botdom, which leads to some boredom. It's hard to look away from the ever-dazzling Jackman, but the sight of him hunched over the controls of something akin to a live action video game is not, in the end, much more exciting than the sight of your average teenager hunched over the controls of a Game Boy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    The movie looks like every other rom com, all spacious apartments and sleek, woodsy vacation homes, but it takes you through a wider range of responses to the relationships and characters than most.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    They’re cute together, these two big stars, but the film around them, a sort of Tarantino lite, is desperately empty.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    While Hathaway and Gyllenhaal have good chemistry, and director Edward Zwick moves the narrative along nicely, the film is too self-satisfied to be genuinely touching.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Tawdry but compelling.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    In its lesser moments, of which there are more, Liberal Arts calls to mind more the spirit of an alumni magazine, so bathed in nostalgia for academia that you expect autumn leaves to flutter down to the theater floor.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Other than Baldwin, Allen and Eisenberg - who is delightful - few of the performances are memorable. Page is miscast as a femme fatale, but adroit with Allen's lines, but the other women, Cruz, Pill and Gerwig hardly register.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Sparkle, while occasionally silly in a way that made a preview audience titter, is decent entertainment.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Unlike the original, Paranormal Activity 2's pacing is uneven; it builds slowly and effectively before rushing too quickly, and at one point not particularly coherently, through the climax. But the jolts, when they come, are bigger, causing actual physical thrills and chills, at least for me.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    The movie is full of feints, shocks and scenes of particularly perverse violence, but nothing about it is fresh enough to haunt you in the night. It's predictable.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Black fans may hardly recognize him, because for once he plays a person instead of a walking comedy mask atop a Buddha belly.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    It's no wonder the movie is no walk in the park, even with a pretty soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy (again, like About a Boy). It never feels inspirational - it's too gritty and dark - and there isn't a single easy solution in sight for either Nick or Jonathan.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Apparently Bachelorette has been divisive, with audiences either falling hard for it or walking away disgusted. I'd have fallen harder for it if I'd walked away more disgusted.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Wanderlust, a comedy that looks way better than it actually is set amidst the dreck of late winter releases.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Slick, well acted and engaging. It's also morally bankrupt--a film that makes you feel as though you've been taken for a smooth ride by the Hollywood machine and dropped somewhere very nasty.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    This is the kind of movie you should never see twice, because so much of it is based in appall-me humor. Meaning you'll laugh the first time in the reflexive way you do when you can't believe how audacious the comedy is and how uncomfortable the situations are, whereas a second viewing would afford you an opportunity to feel kind of rotten about laughing the first time.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    The technology is undeniably there to make a credible beanstalk fly into the heavens, and giants that are utterly grotesque and vividly threatening. But how about something we can take our kids too? Doesn’t anyone want them to be there?
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Bettany's Darwin always has a chill or a case of the sweats, tummy ache or trembling hands. He has our sympathy initially, but the movie bathes us in such general despair that the natural instinct soon becomes a desire to tell him to buck up. We do believe in survival of the fittest, after all.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Emmerich has turned his attention to the past. He and screenwriter John Orloff have embraced a kitchen sink's worth of 20th-century conspiracy theories about the provenance of Shakespeare's plays, each wilder than the last. Oliver Stone's "JFK" looks reasonable compared to this.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Now that Eat, Pray, Love had lost its commas and become a movie actually starring Julia Roberts, I was no longer annoyed by how much it seemed like one; it had assumed its rightful place in the entertainment universe.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    The Guilt Trip works because we all know and like a Joyce Brewster (or dozens of them).
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Four minutes of Bush on SNL is just right, but 85-minutes of Cam Brady feels like a lot, even with a strong supporting cast that includes Jason Sudeikis as Cam's campaign manager and Katherine LaNasa as Cam's picture-perfect, but mean-as-nails wife.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Tron: Legacy is not good, but it is amiable. While it seems less like a parody than the original, it is also silly in a not unpleasing way.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    The glossily photographed family drama People Like Us is not without appeal, but it has a major construction flaw. It's dramatic arc is predicated on the problem of accidental incestuous attraction. Egads.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    The frenetic pace masks an emptiness; this Ice Age is just a collection of slapstick moments and fisticuffs.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    It is the movie's uneven writing-half funny and daring, half punishing and senseless-that proves to be Lola's biggest opponent.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Even in a predictable horror film like Silent House, Olsen draws empathy like a magnet.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Even in the skillful hands of director Lone Scherfig, the effect is disjointed. The characters that Nicholls brought so cunningly to life in the book feel rushed through a timeline, tied to an agenda.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    While Admission remains the story of a woman who comes to question her past choices and jeopardize her career, the movie version is lighter, fluffier and dramatically inert.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Bad Teacher revels in being distasteful. But it can't just let a bad woman be bad; she also has to be burdened with physical insecurity, even if it makes no sense. Can you imagine if Billy Bob Thornton's character had become Bad Santa so he could steal to fund his penis implant?
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Hotel Transylvania isn't a complete stinker. Sandler, speaking in a pitch close to his Opera Man routine from his days on Saturday Night Live, is less obnoxious than usual. The visuals are consistently enticing - the castle/hotel is artfully rendered...And there are some bright and funny lines.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Whatever director Peter Hedges' intent, the movie itself, a sentimental blend of magical realism and saccharine emotions, is oddly false. It made me want to go on a sugar cleanse.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Alas, it was George Lucas who became captivated by the Tuskegee Airmen and has, after many years as devoted producer, managed to turn their story into a feature film that falls much closer to the goofy "Hogan's Heroes" in the spectrum of World War II-focused productions than "Saving Private Ryan."
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Light as a feather, the movie is at times a modest pleasure, but inconsequential.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Dodging the twin minefields of preciousness and an exploitative 9/11 premise, Horn races away with the movie and makes it believably, genuinely sad.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Unfortunately, Girl in Progress doesn't upend anything; it just makes us weary of its wisecracking, oblivious teen and her ditzy mom.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    The Greatest often feels like a mash-up of Sarandon's greatest grief hits.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    This is Meyer's worst offense - her disturbingly Victorian attitudes about sex and love, which this particular movie falls modestly in lockstep with, even though it concludes years of cinematic foreplay.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Kutcher, whose acting chops haven’t been tested in all those pretty-boy lead roles, was a welcome surprise. His movie-star glow distracts, but there is a strong physical resemblance. Moreover, he’s got many of Jobs’ mannerisms down cold, from that T Rex–like walk to the fingers that fan the air and the yoga-style postures left over from his bohemian youth. It’s a good impression, but Jobs itself is all too impressionistic.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    This sugary sweet chick flick is so rich in its ripeness and full in its foolishness that I look forward to groaning in happy horror when I inevitably see it again, whether while drinking or when laid low by the kind of flu whose symptoms include a desire to watch Meg Ryan rom coms on cable.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    This isn't a love story, it's a misery story that drags on, not to a dramatic conclusion but a tepid moment.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    If "Waiting for Superman" was intended to make audiences think, Won't Back Down is supposed to make them feel. It made me feel more annoyed than outraged.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    The performances are compelling (although Jones is underused) but the thin narrative is less instructive of the strange way female friendships operate than of the way stories get recycled.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    This pickpocket of a movie flashes open its coat to proudly display all its swiped goodies.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    He's neither a fun villain or a secret good guy; the movie feels like a senseless venture because, even with his pants down on top of Clotilde or manhandling Virginie, he's the dullest scoundrel around.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    It's silly enough that young teens are unlikely to be drawn to it unless they've got a thing for Hudgens or want to take an early peek at Hutcherson, who will soon be seen as Peeta in "The Hunger Games." He was great as a sulky brat in "The Kids Are All Right" but in Journey 2 he comes across as wooden, dull and though not yet 20, too old for roles like these.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Edgeless, it takes a wistful, hopeful approach to heartbreak and job loss. That's sweet, but when it comes to unemployment-themed cinema, I'll take the greater realism of last year's "The Company Men" or this year's "Everything Must Go" over Hanks's too rosy vision of life after the pink slip.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    It has a gentle if unenlightening message, namely that we should all take time off to reconnect - the soundtrack tends to the Bonnie Raitt but the movie seems to subliminally hum "slow down, you move too fast" - and Keaton and Kline have decent chemistry.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    If I had a daughter of impressionable age, I'd rather have her weeping over this mildly tasteless romance than the nonsense of "Twilight."
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    It's fun in a perverse way; the viewer gets to experience a vivid sense of what it feels like to occupy a pigeon-poop smeared piece of stone high in the sky.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    The Change-Up tries so hard to be scandalous that it's a shame it doesn't do more to change up the formula.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    The Sitter is predicated on a belief that chunky Jonah Hill, or at least the persona he presents, is secretly supercool. While it turns out to be a wisp of a movie, on that front at least, it is persuasive.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    As a person who removes a woman's clothing in the half light of a Southern afternoon, Efron acquits himself reasonably well.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    It's not that I Don't Know How She Does It tells actual lies about working motherhood - many of its observations and jokes are on point - it's just that it omits the edge, the desperation of a woman on the verge.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    For a tale of thieving, The Words plods along. Not that a literary heist is as exciting as a bank robbery, but there's a remarkable lack of tension in this story.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    The pitch is enough to make you swoon, but the movie itself is curiously limp.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Filled with competent but unexciting performances and, like its protagonist, is strangely lugubrious.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    I can't deny I did feel fonder of my own family afterward, mostly because I know none of them would ever make me sit through Parental Guidance.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    What's Your Number? is not much dumber than the average romantic comedy, but there is something sad and infuriating about it.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    The film skips along pleasantly, supremely confident in its own cuteness and utterly unapologetic about how shallow or contrived it might be.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    The man (Sparks) is a cultural magpie, capable of borrowing from a 1991 Julia Roberts flick and M. Night Shyamalan in one fell swoop. He’ll never get an award for originality, but when it comes to rehashing formula and pleasing his audience, the man is a master.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    A loose but fairly snappy remake of the 1969 charmer "Cactus Flower."
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    One of those shaggy-dog stories that you keep hoping will get sharper, smarter, cooler, more worthy of its star. Buscemi may not be exactly celestial, but he still deserves better.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Technically, movies don't give off a scent, but This Means War is so smarmy that it seems to reek of cheap cologne.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    I did laugh. The movie is so disgusting it is worthy of the Farrelly brothers.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Where Freeman was warm but enigmatic, Perry is warm but empty.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    All this eye candy is ultimately only about as engaging as watching kids at play, which is what Sheen and Schwartzman seem to be doing. I can’t argue that this isn’t an accurate glimpse inside some man’s mind — perhaps Austin Powers?
    • 27 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    A movie gaudy enough to make Dancing with the Stars seem dignified.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    To get serious about Alvin for a moment, there are worse things for your kid to be into.

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