Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 36
  2. Negative: 3 out of 36
  1. 100
    I liked these characters precisely because they were not designed to be likable -- or, more precisely, because they were likable in spite of being exasperating, unorganized, self-destructive and impervious to good advice.
  2. In "Upside" Allen's marble face acts as the pressure-cooker lid on a hilarious hissy fit.
  3. 88
    A fiercely funny human comedy with jokes that sting and leave marks.
  4. In making such an appealing movie about characters who are usually swept under the Hollywood rug, Binder does us all a service.
  5. 88
    Original, unfailingly entertaining marital-breakup movie.
  6. Allen turns the character into a tour de force that unleashes an unexpected comedy about compassion and self-loathing.
  7. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    80
    Compelling and honest with flashes of dark humour which makes this a meaty comedy drama.
  8. 80
    One senses that this is an intensely personal project for Binder, who is not as forgiving as he might be toward the mercurial mother. Still, the film is carried by Costner and Allen, who project a chemistry so incrementally built on reluctant camaraderie, they almost seem like siblings.
  9. If Allen owns The Upside of Anger, she is generous enough to loan it to Costner, who, despite the dim, glazed eyes, is more alive here than he's been in years.
  10. A squarely suburban movie with a distinctly bourgeois-shaped window on the world, but it's genuine and exceptionally well observed.
  11. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    Increasingly exhibits a desire to amuse and distract rather than go deep, which ultimately generates disappointment in light of its announced intentions.
  12. 80
    As this matron on the loose, Allen is rancorously funny.
  13. 75
    The Upside of Anger belongs to Joan Allen (for whom director/screenwriter Mike Binder developed the project).
  14. The Upside of Anger is overly therapized, yet Costner and Allen show you what it means not just to play a role but to inhabit it.
  15. Joan Allen, for whom the role was written, combines severity, which she has often played before, with such levity and verve that she lifts the whole film on the wings of Terry's wrath.
  16. What's best about "Upside" is its gonzo-sitcom craziness, a situation that lends itself to enjoyable performances.
  17. This loses focus and begins to get a little soggy and moralistic toward the end, but on the whole it's a sensitive and well-observed comedy that's especially adept at handling the characters' rage.
  18. The film never earns the irony of the title or offers anything profound in its observations of fractured family dynamics in an atmosphere of lingering resentment, but Allen and Costner enrich and elevate the film and give the growth of their characters a hard-earned gravitas.
  19. 63
    Costner does things he hasn't done in years: He's funny and playful; he laughs and cracks jokes; and he doesn't look like he's carrying the weight of the universe on his shoulders.
  20. 63
    Binder has allowed Allen, a brilliant actress, to go overboard with Terry's obnoxiousness, just as Brooks (his apparent role model) did with Téa Leoni in "Spanglish."
  21. Binder has written himself a scene-stealing supporting role as Shep, sleazeball producer.
  22. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    The primary upside to The Upside of Anger is the presence of Joan Allen in the lead role.
  23. Reviewed by: Bob Westal
    60
    A reasonably intelligent timekiller.
  24. 60
    The film's outsized ambitions are deceptive: Everything here is less than meets the eye.
  25. A seriously flawed movie wrapped around two nearly perfect performances.
  26. The two leading actors in The Upside of Anger are so good that their performances, even more than the story they are in, keep us interested.
  27. It's a bizarre but engaging fling.
  28. What's lacking in The Upside of Anger is a steady sense that we're watching real people cope with real, jolting emotions.
  29. 50
    It's the men in ''Upside" who speak all the truth.
  30. The two fantastic performances by Allen and Costner that anchor The Upside of Anger are the reason to see this contemporary drama.
  31. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    50
    A climactic twist that's among the stupidest I've ever seen-almost up there with another Costner movie, "No Way Out," and "The Life of David Gale."
  32. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    40
    As contrived and pretentious as its title.
  33. Meant to explore anger, all this picture does is manufacture it.
  34. 30
    It feels like a retread of several better movies, with a nastier, more bitter edge.
  35. 20
    The film has exhausted itself with fits of glib hysteria long before its truly stupefying final twist, a stunning betrayal of audience trust.

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