Mixed or average reviews - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 11
  2. Negative: 2 out of 11
  1. Sloppy but smart-enough-to-make-you-squirm comedy.
  2. Pantoliano brings his usual degree of wily, understated humor to his role and is ably supported by the terrific ensemble, but he's unable to elevate a film that is ultimately as directionless as its protagonist.
  3. Reviewed by: Brad Slager
    Two things make this worthwhile: The realistic relationship between Elliot and Richard, and Pantoliano playing against type and actually humanizing a possibly loathsome character.
  4. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    While Second Best is mildly engaging thanks largely to an appealingly self-effacing turn from Joe Pantoliano, writer-director Eric Weber's script could have used an extra polish or two.
  5. A guy flick, but I can't imagine many male viewers actually identifying with Elliot or his friends. The depression would be unbearable.
  6. Second Best might have made a good stage monologue, but as a film it's overstated and barely baked.
  7. 50
    The strongest scenes are those between Elliot and Richard, which give Second Best a verisimilitude lacking in the rest of the film. The truest thing here is that these two guys have been friends forever and always will be.
  8. 40
    Weber's losers really are losers -- envious, spiteful, complacent, mean-spirited and ultimately boring malcontents pickled in their own poison, and they drag his film down with them.
  9. Reviewed by: Jake Tracer
    It tries too hard for sincerity, when it's actually more sincere when cynical. Filmed in 17 days with hand-held cameras that give it a home-movie feel, the movie takes blue-collar pride in its own hopelessness.
  10. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    If it weren't for "Sideways," Second Best probably wouldn't have been released at all, but the earlier film made you root for a hapless schmo. This one doesn't, mainly because its protagonist is so obnoxious.
  11. 10
    An ugly, amateurish film that champions mediocrity in a meta-attempt to justify its own ineptitude.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. BethM.
    Dec 30, 2005
    I thought this movie was refreshing - a real life scenerio. This is the stuff most people live with every day - not "Hollywood." Compare the cheesy, over done, non intellectually challenging movies that Hollywood pumps out with French films. French movies have heart and soul and don't use perfect-A list role characters. They use imperfect actors who don't need a que card to tell them it's time to start showing emotion. Though this movie has nothing to do with the French movie industry - my point is it's "real" and the only people who find the whole "loser" thing depressing are probably standing in a heap of denial. Would I go out and buy myself a copy to watch again? No, probably not. Did this movie inspire me. No - it didn't. But, I enjoyed it. It took me from my daily life and helped me escape for 86 minutes. And, it wasn't "Hollywood" - it was fresh, which is what I was most fond of. Full Review »
  2. roxw.
    Dec 2, 2005
    This is a very funny and honest film, perhaps too honest for most people. it doesn't champion mediocrity, it rages against it and shows us how lazy we've become by settling for second best in almost every aspect of our lives. second best is an important cultural statement. it holds the mirror very closely to our faces. more real, more funny, and much better written than 'sideways'. Full Review »
  3. JonA
    Nov 28, 2005
    Annoying as hell, so poorly done that it gave me a headache.