Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. It's a giddy nightmare. Nothing is quite what it seems in I Served the King of England, and this is poetically appropriate. The world it depicts is too dangerous and too lovely to classify.
  2. This is a dark story as well as a frothy one. But the bubble of absurdist self-absorption in which Menzel places this specimen of man-child is exquisite.
  3. It is a sumptuously told tale of childlike wonder in the face of darkest corruption and war, mixing high comedy, surreal sequences and genuine drama viewed from a wise, jaundiced perspective.
  4. 90
    If this actually were 1968, the pipe-smoking sophisticates of "Esquire" and "Playboy" would be proclaiming I Served the King of England a nettlesome masterpiece. For whatever good it does this film today, I'll stick my pipe in my mug and agree.
  5. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    90
    A mischievously hedonistic, Chaplinesque farce, the film buoyantly but seriously traverses the horrors of World War II with a subtlety and sophistication that most American comedies cannot grasp.
  6. 83
    I Served The King Of England views diabolical events from the sidelines, something like "The Remains Of The Day" reworked as an absurdist comedy.
  7. A film as unique as this is a gift that shouldn't be ignored.
  8. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    80
    A virtual primer on the unique mixture of self-deprecating dark humor and personal tragedy that has been the Czech cinema's stock-in-trade since their celebrated 1960s New Wave.
  9. The movie's main appeal is its special comic flavor -- a zesty fusion of picaresque adventure, absurdist whimsy and Chaplinesque grace.
  10. 75
    It's a film filled with wicked satire and sex both joyful and pitiful.
  11. 75
    It's a funny, even whimsical film about a man who survives tragic times, complete with Nazis, pratfalls and plenty of mugging.
  12. Delicious confection about the resilient Czech character, tastes like a bittersweet chocolate souffle, it's much more substantial than dessert.
  13. Viewers will be swept away by the beauty of individual moments and by Ivan Barnev's extraordinary performance.
  14. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    A charming, damning portrait that has been stinging audiences in the Czech Republic since its 2006 release. In any language, what the movie says about surviving fascism by rolling with it speaks loud and clear.
  15. Reviewed by: Stan Hall
    75
    In the end it's those amazing, nutty set pieces, coolly guided by the veteran director, that make it all worthwhile.
  16. Menzel’s touch is sprightly, lyrical, mischievously understated.
  17. The performance of Mr. Barnev, who has the poker face and agility of a silent clown, defines the style of a film whose timing and physical comedy look back to 1920s slapstick.
  18. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    May not be a totally riveting movie, but it is, in its gently insinuating way, a curiously rewarding one.
  19. 70
    Menzel strings his sequences together with great affection and skill, but the movie, an absurdist picaresque, doesn't have much cumulative impact, and perhaps the hero is too much a lightweight to hold an epic together.
  20. The mordant wit and paradoxical melancholic bounce you find in a great many Eastern European filmmakers informs every joke and rosy sexual encounter in the work of Czech writer-director Jiri Menzel.
  21. Should be a brilliant picture, one last testament to the intertwined sensibilities of two brave artists. Should be, but isn't.
  22. The new film is so leisurely paced and overly long that what means to be at once charming yet darkly satirical lapses into tedium and barely comes alive.
  23. 50
    Pirouettes along a beguiling but treacherous line between horror and whimsy.
  24. 50
    The deft physical comedy is a pleasure, though the leering chauvinism becomes more embarrassing as the movie progresses. Mel Brooks never had it this good.
  25. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    40
    I Served the King of England, like its hero, is surrounded by and infused with the potential for meaning but feels like a lark: a bit of nothing whistling past the graveyard of 20th century European history without a thing to do but indulge itself.

There are no user reviews yet.