Metascore
42

Mixed or average reviews - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 11
  2. Negative: 3 out of 11
  1. 30
    So bad it's almost like performance art, or those cheap records from the '60s, where the Chipmunks sing the Beatles' greatest hits.
  2. The even faintly informed will see only a cut-rate vision of flabby white men defending their own bloodthirsty opportunism.
  3. Succeeds in scaring you and boring you at the same time; unlike Moore's movie, it's agitprop bereft of artistry, porn for Republicans.
User Score
4.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 5 out of 9
  1. MarkB.
    Oct 30, 2004
    6
    Well, I promised on this very site that if anyone wanted to counter Michael moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 by getting a liberal-bashing, anti-Kerry film into theaters, I'd more than happily pony up my $6.50 and check it out. Being a man of my word (or at least trying to be most of the time), here goes! Kevin Knoblock's documentary, cowritten by Lionel Chetwynd (whose excellent, gripping 1987 Vietnam P.O.W. drama The Hanoi Hilton was, I still think, unjustly savaged by critics because of its unflattering depiction of Jane Fonda's antiwar activities) is not so much a direct response to Moore's film as an attempt to counter five common "Anybody But (George W.) Bush" arguments ranging from "He stole the 2000 election!" to "He's making everything even more dangerous by angering the Muslim community!" On a pure filmmaking level, it's about on the same plane as moveon.org's series of agitprop documentaries made by Robert Greenwald such as Outfoxed and Uncovered; technically a little rougher, maybe, but that's to be expected, given that it includes very recent footage from John Kerry's campaign and the Democratic convention and obviously was made quickly in order to be rushed into theaters before Election Day. Much of it inevitably does indeed preach to the choir, which I'm not a member of, and given that I comprised exactly 20% of the audience at my showing, I doubt that it'll make a whole lot of converts, but several of its arguments, especially dealing with France's objections to unseating Saddam possibly arising partially from a cozy business relationship with him and with the Clinton administration supposedly giving carte blanche to PLO demigod Yassir Arafat, are intriguing and provocative and deserve further study. The filmmakers' best move was to eschew the use of incendiary rightwingers such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter as talking heads; opting instead for quieter figures in the conservative community such as Fred Barnes, Charles Krauthammer and Michael Medved implies that they're going for reasoning over rhetoric. (And I loved character actor-turned-politico Fred Dalton Thompson, who comes across with great decency, folksiness and likability; he's like your favorite uncle whom you may disagree with on some of these matters, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still your favorite uncle.) For a good long while, Celsius 41.11 was home free; I really thought it was going to stick to argiung its own points, stay away from the mud and go for the high road in the same way that George Butler's classy Going Upriver: The long War of John Kerry did, despite its occasional (perhaps inevitable) use of footage of Al Gore, Bill Clinton or Kerry looking like they either just sneezed, yawned or burped or were about to, or depicting the worst and most extreme examples of the antiwar or anti-Bush movement to characterize everyone in it. But then, like a twelve-stepper suddenly and feverishly rushing back into the bar, Knoblock, Chetwynd and cowriter Ted Steinberg can't hold back any longer, and we get 20 minutes or so of the usual Kerry character assassination, punctuated by Medved's whiny, gratuitous and bizarre "I-knew-Kerry-way-back-when-and-what-a-jerk-he-was" monologue and set to the tune of a bilious Larry Gatlin song that wouldn't be too far out of place on the Bob Roberts soundtrack. (My favorite argument here, which was also used against Al Gore, was that Kerry has always wanted to be president. So what? Does that mean that everyone who wanted to be a fireman since he was 3 years old should be barred from becoming one because he always wanted to be?) Obviously, the filmmakers aren't secure enough about George W. Bush or his platform to let them speak for themselves--and certainly the logical response to my reaction would be, "Well, what about Michael Moore? He made an ENTIRE MOVIE (two, to be honest) that did nothing but attack the Bush administration!" True, but then Moore's approach isn't really any different from what the neoconservative movement has been doing for decades, ranging from crucifying Michael Dukakis with those racist, fearmongering Willie Horton ads to its wholesale persecution of Clinton and near-successful attempt to subvert the will of the majority by driving him from office, to its redefinition of the perfectly honorable word 'liberal" into a near-obscenity that even liberals scurry to avoid being tagged as. I believe that a major reason that Moore is so fervently loved by a substantial portion of America (even if, like me, some don't completerly buy into all his arguments or techniques) is that he more than anyone else has proven that the Democratic Party doesn't have to lay down and die while the Republicans do whatever they want, and that America is still a two-party system. That seems to threaten those in power and many of their supporters...and that fear, regrettably informing the last reel of Celsius 41.11, turns an otherwise interesting film that broadminded viewers on both sides should see, to just another shrill negative campaign ad that I can't wait to scrape off my shoe on November 3! Full Review »