Mixed or average reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: In his feature-length documentary The Big Uneasy, humorist and New Orleans resident Harry Shearer gets the inside story of a disaster that could have been prevented from the people who were there. Shearer speaks to the tireless investigators and experts who poked through the muck as the water receded, and uncovers a courageous whistle-blower from the Army Corps of Engineers. His dogged pursuit of facts reveals that some of the same flawed methods responsible for levee failure during Hurricane Katrina are being used to rebuild the system expected to protect the "new" New Orleans from future peril. (Official Website) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    May 20, 2011
    When disaster struck, the documentary says, the powerful corps went to extraordinary lengths to silence, discredit and punish whistleblowers, many of whose allegations were supported by congressional investigators.
  2. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    May 17, 2011
    At once breezy and substantial, but it could have been more powerful if it were, paradoxically, sharper and blunter.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    May 17, 2011
    What it lacks in style, however, it more than makes up for in substance, as Shearer -- as smart as he is funny -- has assembled a vital and admirably accessible post-mortem on Hurricane Katrina.
  4. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    May 19, 2011
    So sleepy and understated that when John Goodman shows up to yell his way through an angrily sarcastic segment called "Ask A New Orleanian," it's incredibly jarring.
  5. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jun 9, 2011
    Unfortunately, I was also convinced that trapped within this 98-minute film is a good 30-minute news report struggling to get out. Shearer, who is bright and funny, comes across here as a solemn lecturer.
  6. 50
    While Shearer admittedly makes an impassioned directorial debut, the film plays out like a data-heavy, extended investigative report with an academic emphasis on scientific findings over portraits of human suffering.
  7. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    May 17, 2011
    Well-intended and informative, but also unfocused, unwieldy and a little smug, picture pales in comparison to the really first-rate films on the subject ("When the Levees Broke," "Trouble the Water").

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