For 221 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 0.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mary Pols' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Wreck-It Ralph
Lowest review score: 0 Jack and Jill
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 221
221 movie reviews
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Slick and senseless.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Weisz is a dazzling woman, but her beauty is barely noticeable in this role; her character's integrity and her mounting anger grab all the attention. In one scene Kathy finally confronts what she's up against and starts to cry. They are tears of rage, and the most powerful I've seen this year.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The hardest movies to review are the ones you respect and admire but don't love and also - and this is the crucial part - aren't angered by. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful is just that sort of film.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Certainly it's the lightest and brightest -- everyone is still chaste, but the movie is actually sexy in parts. It appears to have embraced its own sense of camp and is consistently funny in an intentional way. For the first time, I found myself curious to see what comes next.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 30 Mary Pols
    So creaky and out of touch it inspires pity. Its opening sequences are a near marvel of confusion, mayhem and embarrassments for its actors. If it was a person, you'd worry it had dementia.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    With its unpredictable sexual politics and quirky little hero/heroine Albert Nobbs has the edge of quinine, a peculiar taste that won't entice everyone but worked for me.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It has plenty of charm and is filled with astonishingly intimate footage worth seeing on the big screen but is sketchy on details and dumbed down by cutsy, anthropomorphizing narration.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Rare among the recent fairy tale adaptions (from "Mirror Mirror" to the dreadful "Red Riding Hood") the invigorating Snow White and the Huntsman actually breathes new life into an old story.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Almost every actor in it outplays the material they're working with, particularly Jason Bateman. Horrible Bosses would be worth seeing if only for the pleasure of watching him delicately bat indelicate comedy around.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary Pols
    All the components are there. No wonder In the Land of Blood and Honey is the most compelling, heartfelt movie Jolie has made in years. She isn't in it, but she's all over it.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It's a lively, often astute piece of marital sociology wrapped up in an action frolic involving an extremely average New Jersey couple.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    A gentle, charming movie and really a parent's dream: a kid's movie that doesn't involve action sequences or explosions. Yet you wish the filmmakers had adhered to Mr. Quimby's no-nonsense point of view and found a way to make this family slightly less squeaky-clean.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It's a feel-good frolic, which is fine for anyone who prefers their Hitchcock history tidied up, absent the megalomania, the condescending cruelty and tendency to sexual harassment that caused his post-Psycho blonde discovery Tippi Hedren to declare him "a mean, mean man."
    • 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
    • 70 Mary Pols
    A slim but likeable little romantic comedy that feels like a sweeter cousin of HBO's Girls.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary Pols
    What makes White House Down not just tolerable but frivolously entertaining is its slapstick soul; a scene where the presidential limousine does doughnuts on the South Lawn plays like an homage to the Keystone Kops.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Mary Pols
    I didn't believe a word of the film and found myself feeling nothing but (I'm sure this wasn't Kaye's point) detachment.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Mary Pols
    Casa de mi Padre is flawed in that it wouldn't be particularly enticing in any language.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Beautiful Creatures is good fun and I want to know what happens next for Lena the teenaged witch.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The interplay between Wahlberg and Foster and then Ribisi is nicely done but the action in and around the cargo ship is where the movie's real fun lies. There is plenty of guy humor.
    • 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
    • 30 Mary Pols
    Snitch wasn’t going to be good no matter what Johnson did; it is so poorly directed that even Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon, playing a shrewish federal prosecutor, comes off as a hack straight off a soap opera.
    • 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.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    The raunchy but charming Going the Distance is credible, intimate and more appealing than 90% of the romantic pairings in American movies these days.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Rodrick Rules often feels like a mainstreamed version of that wonderful short-lived television series, "Freaks and Geeks."
    • 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
    • 30 Mary Pols
    For Colored Girls feels like the cinematic equivalent to putting a garish reproduction of the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling of your McMansion and calling it art.

    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    I'd take any woman in my life, ages 10 to 100, to Letters to Juliet and my guess is we'd both leave with a little Italian glow.
    • 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.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Quick, capable, thoroughly bloody action film.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Mary Pols
    The Counsellor is neither an outright disaster nor misunderstood masterpiece: it’s just a very bad idea for a film, proficiently executed.
    • 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.
    • 48 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.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    This is a big, often quite scary action movie, with tons of creepy computer-generated imagery that's right up there with Voldemort in terms of physical nastiness, although less powerful emotionally.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The results, while occasionally forced, are consistently amusing.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Yet he just kept going and going, and the slick, proficient Knight and Day is proof that you should never count Cruise out.
    • 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.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Chasing Mavericks may treat its characters with a little too much reverence, but it gives its titular subject its awe-inspiring due.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    So a tip of the hat to A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, a frequently very funny movie about planning and executing exactly what the title describes.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    The chemistry this trio has is special; the premise of the sequel seems worn, but the way they work against and with each other is what provides the pleasure.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Hardly unforgettable, but it is an amiable diversion, kept afloat by some comic moments of the raunchy, silly variety, and by something that does feel rather retro: a kindness to its youthful characters.
    • 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
    • 30 Mary Pols
    The awfulness of What to Expect When You're Expecting, an ugly brew of guide book, reality television and romantic comedy, is of course, entirely to be expected.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 30 Mary Pols
    A buddy movie that limps along, pausing for breath and pulse checks like a geriatric dutifully fulfilling doctor's orders to get some exercise.
    • 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
    • 30 Mary Pols
    Shrill and charmless. I didn't believe a word of it. I wanted to spank it and banish it to its room.
    • 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.

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