New Line Cinema | Release Date: August 28, 1992 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Mixed or average reviews based on 29 Critic Reviews
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Except for a brief episode in which singer Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland make like an FBI Rocky and Bullwinkle, this is a morbidly joyless affair. You'll feel as drained as one of Cooper's mugs of joe watching homecoming queen Laura drown in a whirlpool of sex and drugs. [31 Aug 1992]
San Francisco ChronicleMichael Snyder
It's all rather haphazard, and fans will wait in vain for Sheriff Harry S Truman, rich girl sexbomb Audrey Horne and the rest, or for more Cooper. Brief bits that avid viewers can understand will render the film incomprehensible to the new viewer. [29 Aug 1992]
Mostly, though, Lynch fills the screen with a lot of cynically off-putting and sadistic violence. In place of incident, character and a bemused view of small-town life, corrupt beneath its cherry-pie surface, we are essentially asked to witness torture - mostly of Laura Palmer, as her troubles lead her to self-destruct with drugs and promiscuity, including a couple of side trips to the Canadian bordello known as One-Eyed Jacks. For all the violence in Lynch's "Blue Velvet," that film maintained a comic dimension. The violence in "Wild at Heart," for all its extravagance of gesture, was hollow - stylized, not real...Here, there's no comedy, nothing surreal, just wave after wave of titillation. Except that it doesn't titillate. It depresses. There's no psychic charge on any of it. It proceeds from no artistic conviction, just from a cynical desire to squeeze a few more bucks from the already overworked corpse of Laura Palmer. It shows how quickly a creative impulse can be exhausted - from quirky originality toying with humanity's darker impulses to dispirited quasi-porn. [29 Aug 1992, p.23]
Tampa Bay TimesJanis D. Flroelich
The film, which follows homecoming queen Laura Palmer's last seven days before her murder, is dark, pointless and tortuously boring to watch. [1 Sept 1992, p.1D]
TimeStaff (Not Credited)
After an agonizing first half-hour designed to empty the theater, Lynch unleashes his patented perfervid style, puts the familiar dwarfs and feebs on display and elicits a nicely horrifying turn from Lee. [7 Sept 1992]