Metascore
44

Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 32
  2. Negative: 8 out of 32
  1. 30
    There’s only the faintest glimmer of Rock’s talent for piercingly funny humor here, a shortcoming for which the comic can only blame himself, given that he also produced and directed the movie.
  2. 63
    In Head of State, Rock may be verging on becoming a heart-warmer.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    50
    Gets better -- more rambunctiously astute -- as it goes, and its comic engine sputters into fitful life when Bernie Mac arrives on the scene.
  4. Satire's funniest when it's true, but Rock exaggerates and mistimes too many jokes.
  5. 70
    The gags come fast and furious, and though some are a little stale, Rock and cowriter Ali LeRoi strive for wit over crudity.
  6. 75
    An imperfect movie, but not a boring one and not lacking in intelligence.
  7. 38
    The difference between Head of State and a good comedy is like the difference between Chris Rock and a real actor.
  8. I'd like Head of State better if it had less cartoonish violence, and if its gags weren't so predictable. Rock is in fine comic form, though, and his directing debut shows real promise.
  9. Chris Rock gets to direct himself, and as a result is finally starring in a laugh-out-loud funny movie.
  10. Rock and Mac exult in the kind of highly charged verbal and physical antics that are star-turn rewards for performers currently at the tops of their games.
  11. Reviewed by: Rory L. Aronsky
    50
    After all is said and done, it seems like the jokes during the end credits are the tow truck of the movie, the engine quitting after the halfway point.
  12. 40
    Pandering, stiffly acted and brimming with awkward (if progressive) political posturing, Rock's films attempt to filter old Hollywood formula through a hip-hop sensibility.
  13. Rock can't set up a decent-looking shot, and he doesn't care about niceties such as character development and all that narrative downtime in between jokes. But he nonetheless wrings biting humor from serious issues with the sort of ferocity that made Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce men of respect as well as comedy.
  14. 50
    Right now, this goofy film is the best candidate for mindless, enjoyable laughs.
  15. A tepid amalgam of other, similarly themed movies.
  16. 25
    The sloppily shot, crudely edited Head of State fails as satire, for starters, because of its utter disconnect from any kind of reality.
  17. Reviewed by: Chris Hewitt
    33
    Opens with a statement that Hillary Clinton, Bob Dole and Al Sharpton are not in the movie. Also not in the movie: laughs.
  18. 63
    The key term here is "fairy tale," because, although the movie occasionally tries for dramatic moments, they're overplayed, undercooked, and divorced from reality.
  19. 50
    Doesn't seem directed at all; you half expect the actors to crash into each other. Still, give me the attempted satire of Head of State over the racial stereotyping of "Bringing Down the House" anyday. You can feel a mind at work when you watch Rock.
  20. 20
    An excruciatingly amateurish production.
  21. Pleasing and occasionally very funny movie that maintains a mild but consistent hold on its audience.
  22. When Rock hits he's dangerously funny. If he didn't try so hard to be liked, he'd be even more dangerous.
  23. 50
    Offers a smattering of big laughs and an overall tone of ramshackle likability, but considering Rock's talent and the film's potential for smart satire, Head Of State registers as a somewhat wasted opportunity.
  24. You can see Rock hedging his bets right from the opening frames.
  25. The very confusion that has made him (Rock) so unpredictable and funny onstage makes this on-screen exploration of contemporary racial mythologies curiously tentative and unfocused.
  26. 40
    Toothless satire punctuated by the occasional biting gag.
  27. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    50
    Chris Rock was busy directing, producing, co-writing and starring in this light comedy. Given his hilarious stand-up routines, one wishes he had spent a little more time on the script.
  28. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    40
    So beneath the considerable talents of its star, Chris Rock, it's dismaying to note Rock is also the movie's director, producer and co-scenarist. Not unlike Richard Pryor a generation ago, Rock has yet to land a movie vehicle that captures the sparky energy and subversive bent of his excellent stand-up performances.
  29. 40
    Shows Rock suffering from premature Robin Williams syndrome. He's yet to express the full ferocity of his comic talent on the screen and he's already doing penance by going for the warm and fuzzy.
  30. This is silliness of such a special grade, performed with such zest, that it makes you forgive and even forget the movie's foolishness and borderline incoherence.
  31. Not the sharpest political humor I've ever heard, but it gets my vote for the stupidest fun I've had in a long time.
  32. 30
    Though the comedy falls short of a debacle -- which is what such egocentric projects tend to be -- it isn't as sharp, fast or funny as Rock's stand-up routines.

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