Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Exceptionally clever, hilariously gloomy and bitingly subversive.
  2. Reviewed by: Sean Smith
    80
    Pretty charming. Audiences may like it more than critics, but everyone should agree it's one of the most wickedly stylish movies of the year.
  3. 80
    Silberling does a good job of introducing Snicket to the big screen in an impressive adaptation that’s always smart, even if it’s rarely spectacular.
  4. 80
    A gem of a movie, all its adversity and wickedness a backdrop for a story about the remarkable resilience of children
  5. Carrey is a bit of a conundrum: He's the best and worst thing about Lemony Snicket.
  6. 75
    Manages to remain witty throughout.
  7. A pessimistic chronicle that even optimistic 8-year-olds can love.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    75
    An astounding achievement in production design, an original creation so completely in tune with the books' macabre sensibilities that even the movie's (arguably) happy ending can't diminish its satisfying sense of schadenfreude.
  9. 75
    A work of wonderfully sinister fantasy. Director Brad Silberling is always mindful of his kiddie audience -- the movie is never even remotely scary.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    The film's no masterpiece, but at least you're in the hands of people who know what they're doing.
  11. Much credit for this delightfully morose children's film must go to director Brad Silberling's careful orchestration. Please note, in the vocabulary-building spirit of the Snicket books, that the word "orchestration'' here means "coaxing good performances out of child actors and keeping Jim Carrey in check.''
  12. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    70
    Snicket's macabre tale of three newly orphaned siblings has been lavishly visualized. But for all its elaborate splendor, production pic lacks the feeling and imagination that have distinguished the best recent kidpics.
  13. 70
    At its best, A Series Of Unfortunate Events is the stuff nightmares are made of, a sick joke of a film that realizes the best children's entertainment doesn't hide from the bleaker side of life, but plunges into the void and respects kids enough to assume they can handle it.
  14. Just might be Jim Carrey's finest screen role...The rest of the movie, however, isn't quite up to Carrey's level.
  15. Carrey's relentless showboating is almost its undoing.
  16. 70
    Successful in kicking off a largely amusing and visually engaging franchise.
  17. In time, Carrey's monkeyshines, Jude Law's silhouetted reappearances as Snicket, and the inevitable descent of Beverly Hills pathos blunt the movie's fastidious dark-carnival humor.
  18. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    A visually arresting and entertaining romp, but it lacks some of the sardonic humor of the popular children's books on which the movie is based.
  19. A series of unfortunate events occurred during the making of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and they all had to do with Jim Carrey.
  20. If you wanted this "Snicket" movie (and the presumed flood of sequels) to be faithful to the novels, you have come to the wrong franchise.
  21. 63
    There is no one in the movie to provide a reasonable reaction to anything; the adults are all demented, evil, or, in the case of Mr. Poe, stunningly lacking in perception, and the kids are plucky enough, but rather dazed by their misfortunes.
  22. Though rich in visual style, the movie is unbalanced in performances and script, ranging, from scene to scene, from go-for-baroque grandeur to strident excess.
  23. 63
    A lavishly mounted blockbuster that has little personality of its own except on a purely visual level.
  24. Devolves into a repetitive comedy that squanders a hugely talented cast.
  25. Mr. Silberling has made a movie that's far rougher in texture and tone than Mr. Handler's books, but while he doesn't have the author's sense of whimsy (or irony) he manages to construct a pleasantly watchable entertainment in all the spaces in the story not laid siege to by Mr. Carrey.
  26. What the movie lacks, alarmingly, is a shriveled black heart, or a big, red tell-tale one pulsing beneath the floorboards -- anything, really, that might infuse it with the sense of true dread that keeps kids coming back for second, third and 11th helpings of the willies.
  27. 60
    Episodic but entertaining fantasy.
  28. 60
    As it ticks by, laboriously, it leaves you feeling that you should be enjoying it more than you are.
  29. Isn't nearly as cheerily unpleasant as it ought to be.
  30. I walked out of it feeling much the same way I did after "The Cat in the Hat" and "The Polar Express" -- jarred by its excess, undernourished by its lack of heart and bored by its lack of originality.
  31. Ends up being one of those heartbreaking movies that gets off to a promising start but never quite creaks to life, despite everyone's obvious best efforts.
  32. 50
    Silberling and writer Robert Gordon have made the fatal error of trying to jolly up the novels, which are often funny but never, ever cute.
  33. 50
    In Robert Gordon's script, Handler's hilariously literate bouts of psychological torture develop no consistent tone, voice or momentum.
  34. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    40
    Jim Carrey is the prime offender here. He's such an unseemly showoff that the movie keeps stopping in its tracks.
  35. I hate to sound per-Snickety, but this lemon of a movie is a sadly unfortunate event.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 212 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 104
  2. Negative: 24 out of 104
  1. Oct 23, 2011
    6
    "A Series of Unfortunate Events" is a decent kid-block buster with a average story line with a monotonous tone. But as always, its Jim Carrey"A Series of Unfortunate Events" is a decent kid-block buster with a average story line with a monotonous tone. But as always, its Jim Carrey (the veteran actor) the saves the screen. Full Review »
  2. Nov 30, 2015
    6
    While certainly enjoyable, most of this movie is quite forgettable, and Jim Carrey was the only thing really carrying the movie (and ofWhile certainly enjoyable, most of this movie is quite forgettable, and Jim Carrey was the only thing really carrying the movie (and of course, the few minutes we got of Meryl Streep). Full Review »
  3. Feb 3, 2016
    7
    To keep up the fame for this movie, I must give it a good score. It's enjoyable, but not living as the name for other Nickelodeon MoviesTo keep up the fame for this movie, I must give it a good score. It's enjoyable, but not living as the name for other Nickelodeon Movies currently here. Full Review »