Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. 100
    Because their work is so varied, the director Winterbottom and Boyce, his frequent writer, are only now coming into focus as perhaps the most creative team in British film.
  2. If that sounds highbrow and pretentious, it's not. The neat trick of Tristram Shandy is that the whole thing comes off as a lark.
  3. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    Rather than adapt the novel per se, Winterbottom has adapted Sterne's hilarious attempts to make the mess of life fit the neat contours of the novel by making a movie about an attempt to make Sterne's chaotic and confusing novel fit the contours of a film.
  4. The first great, mind-tickling treat of the new movie year.
  5. 91
    Coogan makes tremendous sport of himself, taking on a role as an adulterous, vain, anxiety-riddled, alcoholic and truly comic creep. Brydon is exquisitely droll as the straight man to this ugly comedian act.
  6. 90
    By not even attempting to follow Sterne to the letter, Winterbottom and Boyce have triumphantly captured his impish creative spirit.
  7. This is not just a movie-within-a-movie, but a movie-within-a-movie-within-a-movie, something that sounds unbearably arch but that is swift, funny and surprisingly unpretentious.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    88
    It's a little bit "Tom Jones," a little bit "Adaptation," a smidge of Monty Python and a dash of Fellini's "861/2," right down to Winterbottom's use of music by the brilliant Fellini composer, Nino Rota.
  9. More fun than a company picnic - and a lot more fun than the classic 18th century novel that inspired it - Michael Winterbottom's Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story is the first good comedy of 2006.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    The movie's still a wickedly droll put-on. Better yet, beneath the fun lurks a dry and weary sigh at life's refusal to match the tidiness of art.
  11. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    88
    The movie biz inside jokes eventually yield to fairly merciless plumbings about the construction of the self, resulting in a kind of philosophical discomfort that's much different from the run-of-the-mill humiliations this sort of thing usually trucks in.
  12. Can a little-read 18th-century literary masterpiece be food-spittingly funny? Can it also include contemporary English actors riffing about their bad teeth, getting drunk and kissing their personal assistants? The answer is yes, as long as you agree that the best way to adapt an original book is with a correspondingly original film.

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