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Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Wordplay focuses on the man most associated with crossword puzzles, New York Times puzzle editor and NPR Puzzle Master Will Shortz. Director Patrick Creadon introduces us to this passionate hero, as well as to the inner workings of his brilliant and often hilarious contributors and many celebrity crossword puzzlers. (IFC Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. At times the film resembles a promo for Shortz and the Times, and the celebrity puzzlers, who include filmmaker Ken Burns, Bill Clinton, and the Indigo Girls, have an unfortunate tendency to bloviate. Not so Jon Stewart, who seems to regard each Times puzzle as an opportunity to go mano a mano with Shortz.
  2. What's an eight-letter word for a non-fiction feature that is witty, wise and wonderful? "Wordplay."
  3. 75
    The film's subjects are almost uniformly likable, self-deprecating, funny, and hyper-verbal, and their peculiar passion for crosswords and the sense of genial camaraderie among buffs proves surprisingly infectious.
  4. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    75
    Ultimately, Wordplay is best enjoyed as an engaging look at a little-known subculture.
  5. 70
    Wordplay offers a running tutorial in how crosswords are created - lessons that are enhanced by the onscreen graphics of designer Brian Oakes, which, come tournament time, allow moviegoers to see the clues and grids the contestants are working on, theoretically allowing us to solve the puzzles along with them.
  6. This is mildly entertaining, though like the puzzles themselves, it favors diversion over wisdom.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. SusanM.
    Jun 16, 2006
    10
    Very funny even if you don't do crosswords!
  2. PaulK.
    Jun 22, 2006
    9
    Before seeing this, I thought the subject matter might be too dry...but half way through I found myself really enjoying this movie. Crossword puzzles, here I come! Expand
  3. LdH.
    Jul 10, 2006
    9
    It's puzzling that such an entertaining movie should have such a small audience.
  4. JS
    Jun 19, 2006
    8
    Very engaging. At times, I wasn't sure whether I was watching a documentary or a Christopher Guest spoof of one. Suspense, laughter, and genuine affection. All that, plus Jon Stewart and Bill Clinton (both, like most of the people in this film, lefties -- in the handedness sense). Expand
  5. JimG.
    Jun 24, 2006
    6
    An engaging documentary with a deft, if unquestioning, touch for its subjects. Somehow, for some reason (don't ask me why), I was hoping for something more substantive. I felt entertained by the film, but didn't come away with any new knowledge or new questions. So as entertainment, it was fun. As documentary, it was, well, just another story. The filmmakers pretty much take everything at face value swallowing, unchallenged, assertions that the New York Times is the greatest newspaper in the world and bastian of the crossword puzzle. Would have been nice to have some substance--perhaps some factual history of the crossword puzzle or probing why the fan base (mostly white, mostly male) is so homogenous. Overall, it is clear from the film that crossword fans enjoy a special community and are having lots of fun. Expand
  6. MarcK.
    Jul 10, 2006
    5
    I thought this would be an interesting movie with interesting people, and didn't feel that to be the case. Additionally, maybe I'm just the only one, but I felt sorry for a lot of these people...many of them are misfits, and the get-together in Stamford, CT appeared to be one of the only times these people were happy and confident. Expand

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