Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 38
  2. Negative: 6 out of 38
  1. 50
    It's fitfully funny but never really takes off. Out of the corners of our eyes we glimpse the missed opportunities for some real satirical digging.
  2. 50
    The film is too light and juvenile to be viewed as some sort of darkly subversive satire in which the director is laughing at those of us who take it all semi-seriously.
  3. 50
    Writer-director Andrew Niccol -- gets this Hollywood satire off to a rousing start. But the middle flattens, despite Pacino firing on all cylinders. And the end just nose-dives into something silly and, worse, sentimental.
  4. 60
    The result is gorgeous, if ultimately shallow -- much like Simone herself.
  5. As the man who made the monster and now has to live with it, Pacino's a blast.
  6. Moves at a lumbering pace, peppered with ungainly gags and dramatic moments with little emotional power. The ironic commentary on show-biz superficiality is sabotaged by Niccol's failure to make his own story seem real.
  7. The movie pretends to warn against such shallowness -- but flaunts its arousal at how exciting such a controllable world is for those with access to the software.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    38
    What it is, distressingly, is a mess - a ragbag of promising ideas and failed narrative, of good acting and plain old bad filmmaking.
  9. Such a tedious Hollywood farce, so unpleasantly glib and relentlessly shallow, that Pacino's excessive performance is not even the worst thing about it.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    A worthy, if flawed, piece of entertainment.
  11. For all its flaws, offers an enjoyable look at the machinations of moviedom and fame, and a look into a future where what is real and what isn't becomes scarily blurred.
  12. 30
    Torpedoed by its own overarching idealism -- the film targets the new star system, the media, the studios, digital technology, and pretty much everything else you might care to think of -- and not enough script to back it all up.
  13. Writer-director Niccol (who wrote and directed "Gattaca" and scripted "The Truman Show") uses disarming, but wicked lightness to damn the celebrity-worshiping culture and Hollywood's beyond-the-looking-glass filmmaking.
  14. 50
    Because it's Pacino, though, Simone is never quite boring.
  15. Some movies need a suspension of disbelief. Simone requires a suspension bridge. And as fast as you try to build it, the movie keeps tearing it down.
  16. 70
    The best scenes play like "Frankenstein" revisited, with a comically bedraggled Pacino cast as the mad scientist trying to protect his runaway creation from a rabid public.
  17. 50
    Because the material gives off such a delicious vibe, even though the movie itself feels a little old, you want to like Simone. It would be easier if it were a more forceful comedy. But Mr. Niccol's style is that of reticence -- as a director, he's a little coquettish.
  18. Hilariously inventive Hollywood satire.
  19. 58
    It's a strange, uneven film, hilarious in moments and tin-eared in others, alternately subtle and hammer-handed, acid and dull, as schizophrenic as "Signs" and probably, like that film, best enjoyed in discrete chunks rather than as a whole that needs to be digested equally all at once.
  20. If this is satire, it's the smug and self-congratulatory kind that lets the audience completely off the hook. Effective satire, the Swiftian brand, seduces us first and then implicates us in the seduction -- we become a target too. But this stuff never gets past the initial step -- it's toothless, as innocuous as the puffery it pretends to skewer.
  21. 50
    It's not merely that these subjects have already been satirized to the point of ultimate tedium; more importantly, Simone just isn't very funny.
  22. A ravishing crock. Like its title character, a computer-generated movie star programmed to resemble a cross between Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall and Kim Basinger, it's beautiful but empty, gorgeous but spurious.
  23. 30
    Niccol has no gift for comedy. His ongoing exploration of modern celebrity results in an industry satire that's less funny than half-empty and hyper-designed.
  24. Each plot twist trumps its predecessor into ludicrousness.
  25. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    40
    The premise cries out for take-no-prisoners, Terry-Southern-style sick humor; it gets instead a lot of clunky, self-congratulatory in-jokes, and Pacino is left to ham in a vacuum.
  26. It's also unclear just what Niccol wanted this film to be: a satire? a spoof? a black comedy? a pointed social commentary? Perhaps all of the above - way too many hats for a movie this slight to wear.
  27. 60
    I don't believe that anyone will have much trouble seeing what's wrong with the picture, but it's one of those bad movies that you remember with a smile a year later. [9 September 2002, p. 162]
  28. Staggers between flaccid satire and what is supposed to be madcap farce.
  29. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    Simone is a funny, smart, improbably successful satire on contemporary celebrity obsessions, the waning summer's most delirious comedy.
  30. Writer-director Andrew Niccol throws around a lot of intriguing ideas in this film, and even though his ambitions are more expansive than his talent, he's managed to come up with something that credibly resembles the shape of things to come, Hollywood-style.
  31. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    60
    Attempts to delve beneath the surface of Hollywood's rampant narcissism and fascination with technology, but ultimately feels like just one more in the long line of films this year about the business of making movies.
  32. 50
    Recycles a great many motifs from "Truman" but never comes close to putting on as good a show.
  33. 70
    With Simone, Niccol makes what seems like a preposterous idea not only fresh and entertaining, but most of all reveals said idea to be not at all far removed from reality--as any good satire should.
  34. That's not to say Simone doesn't offer a good time. Shove aside its self-righteous agenda and it's a deft kick, a light comedy whenever it's not trying to play heavy. And it's bolstered by Al Pacino in a lively performance.
  35. 50
    The film never quite achieves the sharp edge satire demands, largely because director Andrew Niccol, who was so good at managing tone in "Gattaca," can't decide whether to go with nasty or hilariously farcical.
  36. Reviewed by: Lisa Kennedy
    70
    Niccol gives audiences a very amusing puzzle about authenticity, fraud, and the uses and abuses of technology. That is a fine and funny feat. The very folks responsible for our obsession with celebrity will likely love it. And in loving it, they will no doubt let themselves off the hook.
  37. Reviewed by: Collin Levey
    50
    But for what it is, the film supplies enough laughs to bury most nagging existential questions.

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