| Original Score: 3/4
| Original Score: 3/5
| Original Score: B+
Silly as it is, The Contender has a lurid zest that keeps you hooked, and a rambunctiously good cast.
Streetsmart and savvy.
| Original Score: B
What The Contender lacks in sophistication and subtlety, it more than makes up for with sheer verve and chutzpah.
The film's lively twists are not too difficult to see coming down the road, but the proceedings still hold our attention and keep us wanting to know how it's going to turn out.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
An entertaining ringside seat for backroom wannabes and beltway junkies.
An intelligent and informed look at the preposterous ways our leaders are often picked and sabotaged.
You don't have to be a conservative to feel pushed around by Lurie. All you have to be is a moviegoer who wants a little room to think for him- or herself.
Bury itself under a steaming heap of plot contrivance, equivocation and preachiness.
The large, talented cast elevates the film above the trappings of its loquacious debates.
Wonderfully cast and slickly directed, but so crudely written as to make its espousing of progressive principles seem crassly exploitative to the point of self-parody.
The Contender booms and pontificates, full of bravado and that ineffable quality of the current political season, chutzpah.
| Original Score: B-
What makes this twisty, cautionary yarn ... delicious is a cast that chews the scenery with such obvious enjoyment.
However neatly packaged, The Contender is double-dealing baloney.
| Original Score: 55/100
The film's very premise, while initially promising, doesn't hold up to lengthy scrutiny.
| Original Score: 3/5
The film looks horrendous, poorly composed and staged, and the rhythm staggers.
What it lacks in credibility, it more than makes up for in energy and scandalous wit.
A vivid, juicy, thoroughly entertaining movie.
This is one of those rare movies where you leave the theater having been surprised and entertained, and then start arguing.
| Original Score: 4/4
A landslide winner as an emotionally rewarding drama.
A major step forward for the director.
Excellent performances in an entertaining if less than totally plausible story.
The hit Primary Colors never was.
No question, The Contender taps into the modern political zeitgeist. As drama, however, it flails.
| Original Score: 2/4
Inane and dishonest.
While you're watching it, The Contender lives up to its title.