Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 15
  2. Negative: 6 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    In the film's most flamboyant role, Peter Sarsgaard's devil-ish charisma and cold bluster is frightening.
  2. 50
    The movie is all the more artificial because it has been made with great, almost painful, earnestness.
  3. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Earnest but unconvincing film.
  4. Remember the final page of Gatsby, a real American tragedy, when the green light beckons us into an ever-receding future? Now that was a mystery. This is, well, Pittsburgh.
  5. A coming-of-ager that nearly slaughters you by minute 30 with the relentlessness of its protagonist's voiceovers.
  6. 38
    You know a movie's got problems when the most memo rable thing about it is Sienna Miller's mustache.
  7. 38
    Almost nothing works in this movie.
  8. Reviewed by: Jamie Tipps
    Disappointed fans of Michael Chabon will have to watch "Wonder Boys" for solace, for The Mysteries of Pittsburgh boasts only one core mystery: how one can take such promising material and render it completely unmemorable?
  9. Marries an unengaging love triangle to a flat visual style, nearly squashing the one good thing in it -- a scruffy, slouching performance from Peter Sarsgaard.
  10. A stillborn rendering of Michael Chabon's first novel.
  11. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    The full warmth and idiosyncrasy of Chabon's original is missed in an adaptation that feels more impersonally observed. But Lawson's pic, (with the director making a left turn from prior feature "Dodgeball," which he says was a money gig undertaken to hasten this dream project) is entertaining and involving enough on its own terms.
  12. Reviewed by: Dan Zak
    Pleasant-to-watch, easily forgotten drama.
  13. 30
    A clumsy and confused adaptation of Michael Chabon's 1988 novel.
  14. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Mena Suvari, as Art's vindictive ex-fuckbuddy, gives sole signs of life--Miller is so void of presence that one can forget she's in the movie from scene to scene.
  15. 42
    Only Sarsgaard shows a pulse, creating a self-destructive, omnisexual rogue who, for all his faults, would probably be great company. The same can't be said for the film around him.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 5
  2. Negative: 2 out of 5
  1. Dec 23, 2010
    For the purpose of condensing the novel, I can understand why some of the choices are made. However, removing Arthur and consolidating him with Cleveland was questionable. Having read the book, it made me fairly uncomfortable, but somehow the ending came to practically the same conclusion minus perhaps a bit of emotion. Full Review »
  2. LeviK
    Jan 18, 2010
    Director Thurber and lead Foster really had to work overtime to mess this one up so badly. I can't believe Chabon consented to this script. The second most important character in the novel (Arthur Lecompte) was cut entirely, which through the remaining storyline and characters off completely. What remains is a well shot and poorly acted cliche, with the exception of Sarsgaard's work. Blah. The real tragedy is not that I wasted my time and money on this, but that I'll never be able to see one of my favorite novels adapted into the fine film it was destined to be. Thurber should stick to what he does best-- Dodgeball II, anyone? Full Review »
  3. SeanF
    Aug 9, 2009
    Not sure why this was panned by the critics. Not as good as Wonder Boys, but better than the majority of Hollywood fare. I hadn't seen Peter Sarsgaard or Sienna Miller in a comedic role before, both I think have further potential in that arena. The main character (Jon Foster), I did not know, and have not seen before, but he did a more than adequate job in this film as well. This has not been a great season for DVD's IMO, so this is a good rental among the limited selections for the summer of 2009. Full Review »