Critical Consensus: Brotherly Love, A Not So Great ?Raid,? A Skeletal ?Key,? and Schneider?s Latest

by Tim Ryan | Thursday, Aug. 11 2005

This week at the movies gives us four brothers with vigilante justice on their minds, a woman who discovers the frightening secrets of an old house on the bayou, a band of brothers on a mission to save their own, and the latest in sophisticated, lofty humor from Rob Schneider. What do the critics have to say?

What is "Four Brothers"? Is it a neo-western? A blaxploitation update? A family drama? A tough-minded action flick with gritty humor? Critics say it?s all these things and more. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, and Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000), John Singleton?s film tells the tale of four adoptive brothers who grudgingly reunite to avenge their adoptive mother?s murder. At 68 percent on the Tomatometer, critics say "Four Brothers" is not without its flaws, but that it?s rough and inspiring just the same. And it?s helping Singleton?s combined Tomatometer, currently at 64 percent.

Naomi Watts, Jennifer Connelly, Nicole Kidman?. A big-time actress starring in relatively generic horror flick has been something of a trend in the past few years. Now Kate Hudson gives it her best shot in "The Skeleton Key." Big scares in the Big Easy was the plan, and with a distinguished cast (Gena Rowlands, John Hurt), this one may have looked like helta skelta on the delta. Unfortunately, it seems like this gumbo is a little undercooked; critics say the atmosphere is there, but the execution is less than spellbinding. At 36 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Skeleton Key" could use some more meat on its bones.

The Greatest Generation has been the subject of some great films, from "The Great Escape" to "Saving Private Ryan." "The Great Raid," starring Benjamin Bratt, tells the story of a remarkable rescue of POWs in the Philippines. But critics say a great story does not make for a great movie; for all its noble intentions, this one is overlong and not as compelling as its subject matter requires.

Cats and dogs, Yankees and Red Sox, Rob Schneider and movie critics -- some things are just natural enemies. Recently, Monsieur Schneider, star of "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo," has been publicly dissing some of the scribes for their assessment of his work. He might have listened to the advice of a humorist who slightly exceeds his stature (Mark Twain): "Never pick a fight with someone who buys his ink by the barrel." At a staggering eight percent on the Tomatometer, the latest installment of the "Deuce" saga is unsurprisingly getting pummeled. And it?s lower on the Tomatometer than "The Hot Chick" (at 22 percent! I can?t believe it either!)

Recent Rob Schneider Movies
22% -- The Hot Chick (2002)
29% -- The Animal (2001)
24% -- Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)

Recent John Singleton-Directed Movies:
37% -- 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
67% -- Baby Boy (2001)
69% -- Shaft (2000)
89% -- Rosewood (1997)
46% -- Higher Learning (1994)