Metascore
35

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 22
  2. Negative: 8 out of 22
  1. 75
    The movie damn near lives up to that promise. Picture the Marx brothers and the Coen boys collaborating on a valentine spiked with mirth and malice.
  2. 63
    From start to finish, A Life Less Ordinary feels like a group of sometimes amusing, sometimes clever, and sometimes tedious skits forced to fit together.
  3. 50
    The film expends enormous energy to tell a story that is tedious and contrived.
  4. Here, one begins to suspect that the major impediment is the sensibility of the filmmakers themselves. They don't believe in this stuff, in its unavoidable sentimentality, and that attitude filters down to a perplexed cast.
  5. Boyle isn't the first British or European filmmaker to make his obligatory zesty American road movie (apparently it's a dream for anyone raised on American cinema), but knowing that doesn't make A Life Less Ordinary any less tiring or its numerous pilferings any less obvious or annoying.
  6. The big trouble with the movie is that it's difficult to care whether these two get together. Ultimately I did care - when I realized that their union would presumably represent a chance that the movie might end soon.
  7. 50
    It's seldom boring and always beautifully photographed, but it's also considerably less than satisfying, perhaps because its internal logic never comes into focus.
  8. 11
    A Life Less Ordinary fails on so many levels it's nearly a textbook case of What Not to Do.
  9. The real problem is the movie itself. The plot, with its interlocking contrivances, is like a machine that keeps trapping the actors in its gears. Since they aren't allowed to relate to each other on a simple human level, the spangly back-and-forth chemistry on which a romantic comedy depends is nowhere in sight.
  10. 80
    Gloriously excessive, passionate and messy, A Life Less Ordinary is the kind of picture that's becoming more and more of a rarity in the landscape of American movies: a love story with a hard-on.
  11. Mr. Boyle's brand of heaven-sent love story comes with a strange and whimsical mean streak. Tender thoughts and ha-ha shootings don't automatically mix.
  12. Reviewed by: Andrea C. Basora
    50
    There is too much disconcerting and nasty violence in this light-hearted caper, but when it sticks to its romantic guns, it is often charming.
  13. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    50
    Part kooky romance, part screwball comedy, part quirky fantasy and part Roadrunner cartoon, this is a movie that has everything except an involving storyline and characters.
  14. But the result is no more than a forced fable, a self-consciously smarty-pants concoction that is too clever by half and too pleased with itself in the bargain.
  15. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    40
    But that's the thing about this movie. It never leaves well enough, or good enough, alone. It keeps looking--sometimes a little too hard--for ways to transform the ordinary into the discomfiting.
  16. 30
    What's missing is romance. Despite the engaging friskiness of its two stars, the film is romantically vapid. Watching it is like trying to warm up to a hologram.
  17. The new film by the phenomenally talented Scots-English trio of director Danny Boyle, producer Andrew MacDonald and screenwriter John Hodge -- they did both "Shallow Grave" and "Trainspotting" -- is a failure so absolute and witless it deserves some kind of mention in the Hall of Lame.
  18. 0
    At the very least, this film should hush those who insist that Diaz has talent beyond visual appeal, but it's unfair to single out her relatively minor offenses when there's so much else to hate about A Life Less Ordinary, an embarrassment for all concerned.
  19. Danny Boyle's dark comedy has stylishly filmed moments, but overall it's a queasy blend of amusing, pointless, and sometimes quite nasty material.
  20. 50
    This aggressively "sincere" movie is without a single authentically lived moment a sense exaggerated by Brian Tufano's overcomposed cinematography, which imitates the glossy hollowness of fashion photographs. [24Oct1997 Pg 51]
  21. 38
    Flippantly hip without any solid laughs, Life strains to be the flick more offbeat. [24Oct1997 pg06.D]
  22. 50
    All this is accompanied by a too-emphatic pop sound track that turns almost every scene into a bad music video.

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