Metascore
39

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 30
  2. Negative: 9 out of 30
  1. Man of the Year remains an interesting proposition throughout, and a tale well told.
  2. 75
    The most refreshing thing about Man of the Year is its mingling of comedy and suspense with common decency. Levinson asks his countrymen not just to know their limits, but also to reach them.
  3. 63
    For 60 minutes, the movie appears to have found the right tone and approach, then everything goes wrong. It's rare to see a production that starts so strongly finish so weakly.
  4. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    63
    As Dobbs's chain-smoking and hard-eyed enabler, a quietly spooky Christopher Walken manages to straddle the genres more effectively, gently toying with the stereotype of the rough-edged showbiz manager.
  5. The movie offers several moments in which Williams comes alive, but they're few and far between.
  6. Levinson diverts his film into a political thriller with its own conspiracy theory, an improbable romance and a curious subplot that feels like an anti-smoking ad. Little wonder his bewildered star, Robin Williams, looks confused much of the time.
  7. 50
    It's the damndest thing, watching this light but genial movie self-destruct. It's as if writer-director Barry Levinson set out to sabotage his own film by gradually turning what should have been a minor subplot into the story's main subject.
  8. You know a comedy's in trouble when the only laughter the audience can hear is coming from the speakers. There are other problems with "Man," notably its abrupt shifts from farce to romantic comedy to suspense thriller, and the near absence of a political edge.
  9. The actors, individually fine although they appear to be in different films, tread warily on each other's turf, like Martian and Venusian making adjustments for an alien gravitational field.
  10. 50
    Wobbles unsteadily between broad humor and paranoid thrills. The result is a bland muddle.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    50
    Like a politician who waters down his message to gain favor with the masses rather than truly serving his constituency, Man of the Year seems determined to play it safe on all counts.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    50
    One walks out of Man of the Year aching for the squandered opportunities.
  13. Levinson made a great political comedy once, "Wag the Dog," but that had a script by David Mamet. Here, Levinson seems to be torn between making a political jest and a suspense thriller. Neither works.
  14. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    50
    A watchable film, but it -- and its star -- might have done so much more.
  15. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    50
    A curious hybrid -- a political/action/comedy/thriller in which Robin Williams becomes president of the United States. A movie as uneven as it sounds, "Man" is less laugh-out-loud funny than topical and suspenseful.
  16. Reviewed by: Jennifer Frey
    50
    A movie that can be smart-funny and astutely topical. But if what you're expecting is a start-to-finish laugh fest, beware: This picture takes some detours and never really figures out what kind of movie it wants to be.
  17. Williams turns out to be exactly the wrong candidate for the job, a comedian singularly uninterested in letting anyone else get a word in, but with nothing to say.
  18. The writing is lazy, the movie focuses on all the wrong things and the tone lurches unpleasantly between gum-soft comedy and lukewarm thriller.
  19. 40
    But instead of being the hippest kid on the block, this plays like some ranty, paranoid comic thriller. It'd be more fun watching Jimmy Stewart get the beat-down from Claude Rains on the Senate floor; when Mr. Williams goes to Washington, the result is a total snooze.
  20. 40
    It swerves from thriller to romantic comedy to farce without much conviction, though you can occasionally salvage a glimmer of amusing possibility. Mr. Williams scores with a few throwaway jokes.
  21. The result is a mess -- sometimes an entertaining mess, but mostly a movie that makes a perfunctory mockery of the mockery currently passing for political discourse.
  22. Levinson has written and directed in many genres. But rarely has he made a film as indecisive and diffident as Man of the Year.
  23. Writer-director Barry Levinson leaned on Robin Williams the way a one-ring circus relies on its lone acrobat. So they're jointly responsible for the film's utter failure.
  24. 33
    If there's anything sadder than a satire without teeth, it's a thriller without thrills. Even sadder is the rare movie that fails at both genres simultaneously. That, and that alone, makes Man Of The Year exceptional.
  25. 30
    It's a comedy, a political thriller, a love story: Barry Levinson's Man of the Year tries to be all things to all people and fails on every count -- a little like the generic, ineffectual politicians it's pretending to excoriate.
  26. 30
    No doubt, Levinson thought he was making this generation's "Dr. Strangelove." What he's actually made is a desperate, ponderous sop to progressives that caters to all of the left's worst fears about voter fraud, corporate malfeasance and the impossibility of effecting real change.
  27. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    30
    Levinson loses his movie, his audience, and his purpose in a tangle of conspiracy theories and crackpot notions that sink the movie just when it begins to transcend expectations. In short, it would have been great if it had stopped, oh, 12 minutes in.
  28. Mainly it's a shambles, though for once Williams gets to do what he's best at (his stand-up shtick), and the absurd story, no matter how carelessly assembled, keeps moving.
  29. 25
    Halfway through, the jokes stop - the laughs never began - and give way to a tiresome thriller.
  30. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    25
    The film is laughable when it tries to be dramatic and stone-faced when it strains to be funny. Beyond that, Man of the Year is often so wildly off the mark in its depiction of how elections are run, it's hard to believe that it was directed by the same guy who helmed "Wag the Dog," one of the savviest political films ever made.
User Score
5.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 56 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 30
  2. Negative: 14 out of 30
  1. BarbP.
    Oct 16, 2006
    2
    Completely misses the audience. The humor is aimed at the dumbest common denominator, and the waffling back and forth between the Completely misses the audience. The humor is aimed at the dumbest common denominator, and the waffling back and forth between the slapstick-Robin Williams run-on joke and Laura Linney's take on The Net makes your brain hurt. Full Review »
  2. LarryMartin
    Oct 15, 2006
    3
    A weak script and lack of focus by the directer doom this poor effort.
  3. JoshuaC.
    Oct 14, 2006
    2
    Its so poorly executed. The mis-match clash of trying to suddenly be a politcal thriller and a comedy NEVER works. Besides a couple funny Its so poorly executed. The mis-match clash of trying to suddenly be a politcal thriller and a comedy NEVER works. Besides a couple funny moments, when finally it goes poltical thriller it never recovers. Not recommendable. Full Review »