Critics Consensus: Orphan Is Mixed Bag

Plus, The Ugly Truth ain't pretty, and G-Force doesn't accomplish its mission.

This week at the movies, we've got an evil adoptee (Orphan, starring Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard), a battle of the sexes (The Ugly Truth, starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler), and some powerful guinea pigs (G-Force, with voice work by Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz). What do the critics have to say?

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It's been a while since we've had a little-kid-is-pure-evil horror flick. And the pundits say that Orphan, while derivative and overly dependent on false scares, is better-crafted and smarter than average. Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard star as Kate and John, a couple that adopts a little girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). She's oddly precocious, but soon, sinister events make Kate question who she is and where she came from. The pundits say The Orphan too often relies on jolts rather than tension, and features too many characters who are blind to the terror around them. But others say it's a well-made, moody throwback that features fine performances and a forboding sense of doom. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down cinema's most evil children.)

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The Ugly Truth

News flash: Women are looking for deep, meaningful relationships, while men are cretinous pigs. That's the premise of The Ugly Truth, which critics say is labored, clichéd, and overly raunchy. Katherine Heigl stars as a TV morning show producer who's frustrated both professionally and romantically; when her station hires a sexist loudmouth (Gerard Butler) to dish out relationship pointers, she's appalled at first, but soon finds herself following his advice. The pundits say The Ugly Truth seldom deviates from the romantic comedy playbook, offering forced comic setups and stereotypical characters.

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G-Force is the tale of four super-intelligent special agents who have been tasked with saving the world. Oh, and they happen to be guinea pigs. It's an inspired setup, but critics say G-Force is merely content to assault the senses, not create memorable characters or an involving plot. The film follows our tiny heroes, who are part of a secret government program that trains animals in the art of espionage; this fearsome foursome must save the planet from an evil industrialist bent on global domination. The pundits say G-Force is mostly uninspired, relying on obvious pop-culture references, spastic action, and so-so CGI effects.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • California Company Town, a documentary about communities in the Golden State that have become abandoned once their primary economic focus dried up, is at 100 percent.
  • In the Loop, an Iraq war farce about a miscommunication that leads to attack by U.S. and British forces, is at 93 percent.
  • The English Surgeon, a documentary about a London neurosurgeon who treats patients in Ukraine with little access to modern healthcare, is at 90 percent.
  • Import/Export, a drama about two European victims of the economic downturn, is at 80 percent.
  • The Answer Man, starring Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham in a romantic comedy about a self-help author who is himself searching for truth, is at 36 percent.
  • Shrink, starring Kevin Spacey as a Hollywood psychiatrist who's as troubled as his patients, is at 15 percent.



David Jones

Bad week for movies. Wish I could see In the Loop or 500 Days of Summer. Sucks living in a small town.

Jul 23 - 05:04 PM

inactive user

Jared King

True dat.

Jul 23 - 09:55 PM


That Guy

The Orphan marketing always seemed to revolve around the idea of "little girl is doing bad things." Not really inspired or original. Maybe if they had given us something, anything else it would at least look interesting.

Now The Ugly Truth did their marketing better. That movie looks good at least from advertising. Obviously it's not doing too well critically but it looks interesting. Depending on how it does this weekend and what people say I might go see it.

G-Force always looked awful. It's one thing to make movies for kids. It's completely different to make completely dumb movies and hope kids like it. Kid movie makers need to start taking notes from Pixar, and the better Disney and Dreamworks flicks, and learn that the best kids movies offer something for adults to enjoy too. G-Force doesn't seem to appeal to anyone who has already hit puberty.

Jul 23 - 06:04 PM

Chris B.

Chris Bellew

I guess all I can do is look forward to Funny People.

Jul 23 - 06:04 PM

jack w.

jack warthime

Funny people better live up to its name! Hopefuly not another Sandler groaner. Maybe it could end up along the ranks of wedding singer, Punch Drunk, Happy gilmore and reign over me?

Jul 23 - 06:36 PM


Dylan Hair

I just want to read a review that says whats wrong with Esther already. I don't want to see Orphan, but I want to know. Maybe I'll see it if Ebert gives it 3.5/4. Can't wait for Funny People next week, guess I'll catch up on Bruno and The Hurt Locker this week, possibly Humpday

Jul 23 - 06:47 PM

Anna L.

Anna Long

Blech. Another humdrum week. Thank God the independent theater near my home is showing Moon.

Jul 23 - 06:55 PM


Jake Peffer

Nothing good until Funny People comes next week. I'll be seeing The Hurt Locker this weekend and possibly The Ugly Truth just for The RottenTomatoes Show. Other than that it looks like a pretty weak weekend.

Jul 23 - 07:31 PM



Orphan is 'mixed' you say? Isn't that the rating. Isn't this the site where things are fresh or rotten and nothing in between?

Jul 23 - 08:09 PM


Aaron Dean

AMY C: go back to that craphole website Metacritic!

(lol, that's really sad that metacritic is desperate enough to send a troll to rotten tomatoes)

Jul 23 - 09:13 PM


Miguel Gonzalez

Who the F^&ck green light G-Force?

Jul 23 - 08:57 PM


Aaron Dean

AMY C: go back to that craphole website Metacritic!

(lol, that's really sad that metacritic is desperate enough to send a troll to rotten tomatoes)

Jul 23 - 09:13 PM


Rick V

Smarter than the average horror movie? That's like saying you're the top of the "special" class.

Glad G-force is getting bad reviews... I hated it the first time I saw the trailer. Same goes for the Ugly Truth.

Jul 23 - 09:19 PM

inactive user

Jared King

True dat.

Jul 23 - 09:55 PM


adam ramberg

Everyones saying nothing good left except funny people wheres the love for D9? Based on everything it looks awesome.

Jul 24 - 01:28 AM


Derek Meadors

I'll se Orphan on video.

500 Days of summer is coming to town this week, so I'll go to that.

Jul 24 - 01:45 AM


harjono h

I'm interested on "Orphan". Not very much interested on the story, but I want to see the performances and the ending

Jul 24 - 06:36 AM

Mr. Bo Ziffer

Mr. Bo Ziffer

Maybe if they make enough money in the box office, there will be a sequel to both "Orphan" and "G-Force", combined to make one crap movie. Make it like "Freddy vs. Jason" or "Alien vs. Predator", where the G-Force guinea pigs are on a mission to assassinate the little Orphan girl. The loser dies, then the grown-ups kill the winner.

Jul 24 - 06:52 AM



Orphan looks like The Good Son and The Omen and... Does it have some kind of twist that others like it don't have, or is it just derivative?

Jul 24 - 06:52 AM


Daniel Klein

'There's something wrong with Esther'

...there's two ways to go with this:
1) She's a homicidal loon
2) She's not *really* the homicidal loon, and she's the (gasp) protector, trying to SAVE the family from the REAL homicidal loon.

Either way, is there an answer here that will excuse killing lots of people?

"What's wrong with Esther?!"
"Oh, she was forced to wait on line to see 'Twlight.' She's feeling a little snippy"
"OOOHHH. ...that's fine. That justifies homicidal rage *perfectly*. Carry on, Esther! I think the one on the left is still breathing"

Jul 24 - 07:18 AM

Walken The Park

Tom Pastor

There's something wrong with TombstoneLawDog, and you know, I think I like it.

Jul 24 - 07:26 AM


Tyler Boone

I too am curious about The Orphan. But not because it looks like a good movie but because of my OCD-like need to know the plots of movies.

Is she a demon?
Is she just a messed up little girl?
Does she have the Benjamin Button disease and is actually a crazy old lady?

Someone tell me so I dont have to see it.

Jul 24 - 01:11 PM

Zachary P.

Zachary P

"Does she have the Benjamin Button disease and is actually a crazy old lady?"
Close enough.

Jul 25 - 09:17 PM

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