Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 19
  2. Negative: 5 out of 19

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Critic Reviews

  1. Comes across as stiff and uneven.
  2. Reviewed by: Nick Dawson
    A fable that leaves us unenlightened at the end, it is a curious, worthy failure.
  3. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    Oh, boy. This is not unlike watching one of the movies Jerry Lewis made after that concentration camp/clown epic nearly destroyed his career and his mind.
  4. It's not a bad idea, and it has the right cast and the right look. But, sad to say, it lacks the pace and energy to make it come alive and therefore remains more of a literary conceit than a movie.
  5. A key problem here is that the film is adapting a short story, and, as such, has to pad it out to feature length -- it still comes in at a scant 82 minutes, about 52 minutes too long.
  6. It's a parable as timely today as when it was written. But except for Paymer as the boss who ultimately expresses empathy for Bartleby's pain, the performances are so stylized as to be drained of human emotion.
  7. 50
    It's a testament to both the timelessness and the prescience of Herman Melville's 1853 story "Bartleby, the Scrivener" that it can be so easily updated with so few changes.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Although closer in tone to "Office Space" than Herman Melville, Jonathan Parker's absurdist update of Bartleby is surprisingly faithful to the spirit, if not the letter, of the "Moby-Dick" author's 1853 novella about an under-achieving Wall Street copy clerk.

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