Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. 88
    Brosnan redefines "hit man" in the best performance of his career, and Kinnear plays with, and against, his image as a regular kinda guy.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Pierce Brosnan is the anti-Bond in The Matador. And though he's anything but suave, sophisticated or debonair, he's a joy to behold.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (not credited)
    It's a role that essentially demystifies Brosnan's star persona, and in it he is simply sensational, funnier and more persuasively neurotic than even a devoted fan might expect.
  4. A wicked comedy with just the mildest amount of pathos to season the blend.
  5. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    We've never seen Pierce Brosnan so liberated - he’s a man reborn, and for what The Matador may lack in rounded plotting, it makes up for in funny, spiky, idiosyncratic glee.
  6. In The Matador, a delightfully sly diversion, Pierce Brosnan breaks the mold and turns in what might be considered the performance of his career, the kind of witty, relaxed star portrayal that recalls those of Cary Grant and other Golden Era legends.
  7. 75
    Writer-director Richard Shepard gives Brosnan his meatiest role ever, and he digs in with relish.
  8. Works remarkably well as a stylish and unconventional buddy flick--cruising along with wit and wisdom.
  9. It is no small compliment to Pierce Brosnan to say that his performance in writer-director Richard Shephard's goofy black comedy The Matador could only be rivaled by Christopher Walken.
  10. Brazenly enjoyable, The Matador is a picaresque cocktail with a Tarantino twist. It is The Odd Couple with a buzz on.
  11. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Clad in dull khakis and a polo shirt, the always reliable Kinnear is his (Brosnon's) perfect foil, while Davis' neat turn as a suburban wife with a penchant for guns and the men who use them turns what might have been a cliched supporting role into something worth watching.
  12. 75
    There's nothing edgy or groundbreaking about The Matador, but it's funny, touching, and ultimately endearing.
  13. The cinematography is consistently hipster handsome, the script is bracing in its lewdness, and Brosnan adds no unnecessary weight to Noble's meaninglessness.
  14. Brosnan pulls out all the stops in his quest to be the last word in crude boorishness, only slightly relieved by the midlife soul-searching. Whether the public will buy him in this extreme role is another question. But it's a fearless, and fairly skilled, comic performance.
  15. The Matador gets a 151-proof tequila shot of sharp comedy from the droll byplay between Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear.
  16. 70
    Maybe Brosnan is so shockingly good in this film because Kinnear gives him the sounding board and safety net that the actor never had in his sadly solitary spy-flick duties.
  17. 70
    The Matador is brilliantly cast right down to the secondary supporting roles, played by the formidable likes of Dylan Baker and Philip Baker Hall, but it's the leads who really deliver.
  18. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Deftly maneuvering through audacious mood swings and tonal shifts, The Matador emerges as a quirky yet commercial commingling of black comedy, seriocomic psychodrama, heart-tugging sudser and buddy-movie farce.
  19. The Matador has its dull patches, one of which is relieved by Hope Davis's endearing presence as Danny's wife. But what fun it is to watch Julian losing it, and Pierce Brosnan nailing it. He's worth the price of admission and then some.
  20. Reviewed by: Martin Rubin
    If he'd (Shepard) gone a few notches darker and deeper he might have had a formidable post-cold war thriller. Still, there's much to enjoy in Brosnan's enthusiastic scruffing up of his Bond/Steele image and in Shepard's energetic, if lightweight, direction.
  21. 67
    The Matador is anything but predictable, and therein lies its sublime and fascinating charm.
  22. 63
    Shepard's Matador demonstrates what an Almodovar picture would feel like without his gonzo sensibility. It's Almodovar for heterosexuals.
  23. Never as good as you'd hoped or as bad as you'd feared, The Matador is one of those of up-and-down experiences -- here a sharp pica of wit, there a welcome veronica of absurdity, but, now and then, just a bit too much bull in the ring.
  24. Reviewed by: Daniel Wible
    The Matador has that shiny sheen that quickly fades, yet is still fun while it lasts.
  25. Taking the medium slopes and never venturing into extremities, Shepard gets all of his laughs if not the ironic heart-tugs, and his cast is perfectly in tune. (Davis in comedic-observant mode is funnier than most American actresses in fifth gear.)
  26. 60
    Instead of slick heroism, the saving grace of The Matador (which was obviously made on something less than a blockbuster budget) lies in the comic interplay between Brosnan's ignoble Mr. Noble and the hapless square he picks to serve his purposes.
  27. At first blush, there's something vicariously liberating about Brosnan strutting through a lobby dressed only in Speedos and cowboy boots. But it also feels false. The actor seems to be theatrically slumming before his return to suave form.
  28. 60
    The Matador teeters between comedy and moral inquiry but doesn't quite make it either way. The movie features a startling performance, however, by Pierce Brosnan.
  29. 58
    In the end, the movie proves to be, like Brosnan's character, a tarted-up cliche: a whoremonger with a heart of gold.
  30. 50
    As long as the movie's set in Mexico City, The Matador is a slick and entertaining black comedy, but the instant Danny heads back to Denver, it comes flying apart at the seams.
  31. Strives for an airy, merry amorality, but it never quite achieves liftoff, though at times it comes close.
  32. It's a shame The Matador isn't a better movie, because this semi-dark comedy contains one great, cackling, self-loathing performance by Pierce Brosnan.
  33. Because The Matador sustains a tone of screwball insouciance and keeps its trump card hidden up its sleeve, it must be counted as a well-made comic thriller. That doesn't mean it has any depth, credibility or artistic value beyond its capacity to divert.
  34. The film rapidly devolves into a lame buddy picture, part thriller, mostly goof.
  35. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    If we send Sally Struthers money, will she be able to stop this kind of suffering from taking place in Beverly Hills?
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 59 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 32
  2. Negative: 5 out of 32
  1. May 13, 2011
    This movie has forgettable all over it, but then you watch it and say, "hey that was good!" This is one of those strange off the beaten path movies that no one expects to be good but it really is. It is funny, interesting, and well acted (shocking I know!). Check out this movie for a surprisingly good time. Full Review »