Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 32
  2. Negative: 6 out of 32
  1. 100
    Lee's incendiary and brilliant new film.
  2. Starts out hilarious and then turns very, very grim.
  3. Nothing seriously detracts from the film's overall brilliance.
  4. Too much is tossed into the ring and the last hour becomes a frantic swell of emotions and ideas, not all of which are exactly on point.
  5. It's a unique blend of history and hysteria, and there's no escaping the dead-serious ideas that run beneath its flamboyant surface.
  6. It's a film about dumbing down that has the effect of wising up its audience.
  7. Guaranteed to inspire, antagonize and divide his (Lee's) audience.
  8. 70
    Spike Lee's explosive, near-masterpiece media satire balances between brilliance and incoherence.
  9. Spike Lee has grabbed a tiger by the tail in his scabrously risky new comedy, Bamboozled. The wonder is how long he succeeds in hanging on.
  10. What the movie lacks in clarity, it makes up for in honesty, toughness, relentlessness and passion.
  11. Collapses under its own contempt.
  12. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Ends with a fizzle, not a bang.
  13. 60
    This is less a movie than a lecture. Perhaps Lee simply should have made a documentary.
  14. 60
    By the end, we simply have no idea what he (Lee) feels or what the film is really about. And we are too worn out to care.
  15. Nothing Lee has done is as flashy or as mucked up as Bamboozled.
  16. 50
    Spike Lee misjudged his material and audience. He doesn't find a successful way to express his feelings, angers and satirical points.
  17. 50
    Angry, potentially offensive movie.
  18. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    On both technical and conceptual levels, Bamboozled is a movie that will leave Spike Lee fans bewildered.
  19. It's an unpleasant experience, and a long one, that gets more morose and melodramatic as it goes along.
  20. 50
    A frustratingly uneven satire with undeniably sharp teeth, isn't afraid to shoot comic darts at its targets until blood is drawn.
  21. 50
    Primary story line is clumsy and badly acted. But he (Lee) reminds you that movies have power, that they matter, and for a few brilliant moments, Bamboozled matters more than any other American movie this year.
  22. Lee's new racial satire starts out strong but loses its way.
  23. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Infuriating on almost every conceivable level.
  24. It's the angriest film an unfailingly angry filmmaker has yet made, skewering almost everyone in it, both black and white.
  25. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Occasionally biting but excessively melodramatic.
  26. 40
    Spike Lee lost his nerve -- there are moments here, too, when it also seems like he lost his sense.
  27. This is the kind of misfire that can take everyone down with it. It's not just bad, it's mean-bad.
  28. The film's as chaotic and heavy-handed as "Summer of Sam" without the same sense of harsh reality.
  29. 27
    If Lee's intention was to cement our loathing of blackface comedy, he's succeeded all too well.
  30. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    One of the least entertaining satires ever made.
  31. With conceptual misfires like this, Lee's best work recedes even more swiftly into the past.
  32. Angry, fitfully provocative mess.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 13
  2. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. Apr 11, 2011
    In this depiction of race and race relations, the white man is still in power and is only interested in exploiting black people and assuming black culture. The white TV writers and bosses are stupid, insensitive, and racists who love racist material. This is, of course, a racist presentation of white people. On the other side, you've got essentially two kinds of black people. Authentic blacks who are part of the resistance, and the sellouts. You can tell which ones are the sellouts because they wear/perform blackface and get shot to death by the authentic resistors. The whole thing is unbelievably blunt, simplistic, and thoughtless exploration of race, power, and the history of racism in America. I suspect many will presume there is some kind of enlightened message buried deep within the satire that emerges with enough searching and pressure, but there's really no excuse for the kind of 2-D typecast representations of whiteness and what Lee sees as modern day uncle toms who play along. It's a crap way of telling stories, and it's a crap way of looking at life too for that matter. Looking at people and seeing only objects is, after all, kind of what started this whole race mess in the beginning. Full Review »
  2. AlessioP.
    Jun 28, 2009
    Basically, it's a mediocre film, like could be one made by college students. And I'm not talking only about the technique (the camera is always shaking, and the p.of views are questionable) or the acting (amateurish at best) but of the theme itself. Everyone is a caricature, a forced portrait of a stereotype. The end leaves you unsatisfied, because no one of the character is worth to stand up and worthy express an opinion: they are all stupid or out-of-reality regretful about racism. This is my first Lee movie, and since now i thought he was a great director since he is so famous. Until now. Full Review »
  3. Stephen
    Jun 7, 2008
    It boggles my mind how a film like "You don't mess with the Zohan" can have a metacritic score higher than that of Bamboozled. How does that even happen? If anything, it shows the current state that we are in as a society -- where a quick fix of laughter is more "enjoyable" than a brooding dark comedy/tragedy. For all the reservations I have of Spike Lee as a director and a spokesmodel for everything that is "colored", this film was excellent in almost every way. I am fully aware that Lee fails to answer his own questions on race. Unfortunately, that is the problem with the whole notion of race. It being a social construction, there really is no "solution" for it. Using a rather postmodern approach, Lee explains this in an eloquent manner. Full Review »