Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 37
  2. Negative: 9 out of 37
  1. That's all Full Frontal is: a brilliant gag at the expense of those who paid for it and those who pay to see it.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    90
    The result is Soderberghs liveliest experiment since the strenuously weird "Schizopolis" six years ago -- except that this one works.
  3. 80
    Catherine Keener is wonderfully weird as a vicious vice president of human relations, and Nicky Katt is brilliant as an actor playing Hitler in a stage play.
  4. Viewers need only a willingness to have fun and not mind when they realize the movie was never intended to be profound. Full Frontal is merely human, funny and unusual -- and that's enough.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    These characters are interesting for their flaws and wounds, but the movie doesn't delve deeply into the sources of their pain. See this movie for its humor and talented cast and you won't be disappointed.
  6. 70
    The movie remains fragmented, elliptical and overplotted to the point of being hard to track. Still, it's worth hanging in for the finish, a birthday party for Gus (David Duchovny), the producer of the film and the one person they're all linked to. Then Soderbergh pulls off a delicious trick, a gesture of pure, tender, unabashed movie love that makes up for everything.
  7. 70
    It's all part of the joke. Soderbergh may have created a bit of a mess with Full Frontal, but it's a playful and scrappy mess.
  8. 70
    The fact that Full Frontal comes together so well removes any doubt that anyone other than a master filmmaker is pulling the strings.
  9. 67
    Feels like a tonic for its makers, a means of clearing the palate after a series of rich meals. For viewers who appreciate risks, it should be just as refreshing.
  10. Even by Soderbergh's standards of serious playfulness/playful seriousness, Full Frontal is a tricky novelty item: The director himself has variously described it as an ''experiment,'' an ''exercise,'' and a ''sketch.''
  11. Keener makes this sometimes inert but always intimate tale of love and ambition burst with dynamic energy. Keener doesn't just have attitude, she has maditude.
  12. It's a weird little movie that's amusing enough while you watch it, offering fine acting moments and pungent insights into modern L.A.'s show-biz and media subcultures. But it doesn't leave you with much.
  13. 63
    It's the summer's most avant-garde experiment, and those who hate it (and there will be plenty) will complain the movie doesn't have a point. Then again, neither did Seinfeld, and look how that turned out.
  14. 63
    Quality-wise, however, there's a big drop off from sex, lies and videotape to Full Frontal.
  15. Despite (or maybe because of) its showy cleverness, Full Frontal merely seems full of itself -- it's a small film made by a big ego pretending to a modesty he no longer feels.
  16. 60
    No matter how much fun it is to watch -- and for hard-core movie fans, it is often enormous fun -- there's a certain relief when it stops and we're popped back out to our banal, one-track lives.
  17. Reviewed by: Chris Gore
    60
    It's disappointing that he (Soderbergh) couldn't make something more cohesive out of his admirable experiment.
  18. Far from a great film, but it certainly stretches the envelope.
  19. 50
    You can't get much more perverse than asking Julia Roberts to wear fright wigs, do her own frumpy makeup and costumes -- and then shoot her scenes in eyeball-gougingly ugly digital video.
  20. When improv is done well, it sheds a unique light on the human condition. When it is done adequately, as it is in Full Frontal, it simply makes you long for a good script and pricey production values.
  21. 50
    Studding your movie with friends, admirers, and sycophants is having a ball; it does not bring us to question the illusory power of cinema or the politics of entertainment.
  22. Reviewed by: Nancy deWolf Smith
    50
    The medium really is the message here, and it steals what there is of the show.
  23. For an ostensibly personal film, this plodding portrait of the self-involved flailing for meaning in a mercenary world has little of Soderbergh's insight, empathy or generous personality.
  24. 40
    Though some individual scenes crackle, overall the film feels unfocussed and flabby, like a series of acting improv exercises strung together.
  25. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    40
    Full Frontal could not be more opaque. I honestly don't have a clue what it's about; it went completely over my head.
  26. Has its fun moments, and the dialogue, some of which was surely improvised, has a natural flow. But Soderbergh suffocates everything with stylistics. Soderbergh is exploring his navel.
  27. 40
    Aside from a few well-shaped moments from some of the actors, the editing is about the only thing that keeps your mind occupied in Full Frontal -- and any good editor will tell you that's a problem.
  28. When a set of pre-shooting guidelines a director came up with for his actors turns out to be cleverer, better written and of considerable more interest than the finished film, that's a bad sign. A very bad sign.
  29. You could dismiss it, as I do, as an impenetrable and insufferable ball of pseudo-philosophic twaddle.
  30. 38
    A film so amateurish that only the professionalism of some of the actors makes it watchable.
  31. Fails because it takes itself so seriously, and because it is itself so seriously dull. Soderbergh's straining to give us a wink -- come on, guys, this is fun -- but really it just feels like some awful eye twitch -- a spasm of yawning self-indulgence in a mostly captivating career.
  32. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    30
    Arid, self-consciously arty and emotionally uninvolving.
  33. 25
    In this film, Soderbergh appears to judge the actors by how well they spew or swallow bile.
  34. 20
    Full Frontal is the sort of arbitrary mess that gives experimentation a bad name. The news that the movie was shot on digital video and film in eighteen days, and that the actors drove themselves to the set and applied their own makeup, would have made a nice Sunday Times story if the movie were any good. But it isn't. [5 August 2002, p. 80]
  35. The aesthetic of Full Frontal is as rough and grainy as the off-the-rack digital video in which much of it was shot.
  36. 20
    "Every work of art is an uncommitted crime," Theodor Adorno once wrote. This one is more of a botched misdemeanor.
  37. The only way a self-absorbed treatise like this can get any kind of audience (not to mention distribution) is to cast famous people in it.

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