Critical Consensus: ?Kung Fu Hustle? Best Reviewed Wide Release of the Year
Expanding to 2,500 theaters this weekend is Stephen Chow?s ?Kung Fu Hustle.? It has already broken box office records all over Asia and is doing spectacular business in limited release here in the States. Stephen Chow plays a wannabe bad guy who gets caught in the middle of a war between the menacing Axe gang and peaceful inhabitants of Pig Sty Alley. Critics are heaping praise on this action-packed, highly imaginative, outrageously funny slapstick comedy. It scores an uproarious 85% on the Tomatometer, making it the best reviewed film in wide release this year so far. It pushed ?Sin City? (78%) to second.
Opening in even more theaters (2,700) is ?The Interpreter,? an international political thriller featuring the United Nations as a central setting. Nicole Kidman plays a South African U.N. interpreter who overhears a hushed conversation that could topple a government. The film features three Academy Award winners - Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, and director Sydney Pollack. Despite that, the film has only scored a modestly Fresh Tomatometer of 62% as of this writing. It?s slightly higher than Kidman?s average Tomatometer of 58%. Despite plot inconsistencies and improbabilities, critics think this polished, old-school thriller still thrills and entertains because of great performances from Kidman and Penn.
Ashton Kutcher returns to the big screen with another romantic comedy, ?A Lot Like Love,? just a month after ?Guess Who? topped the box office. This time, he?s paired up with Amanda Peet. The film follows the relationship of two casual friends who, after seven years, realize that they might just be meant for each other. Critics marginally agree. The film scores a marginally Fresh 61% on the Tomatometer, an improvement over the 43% scored by ?Guess Who.? Critics think its first half is more original, witty, and charming than other assembly-line romantic comedies, until it starts reverting back to a more conventional second half. Compared to Ashton Kutcher?s average Tomatometer of 24%, this is considered high quality product from him.
King?s Ransom, Anthony Anderson?s comedy about a wealthy businessman who sets up his own kidnapping to avoid losing his wealth to his soon-to-be ex-wife, was not screened for critics, which is about as ominous as a kidnapper?s note.
This is a rare week, with three films in wide release being Fresh. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, be sure to check out Stephen Chow?s ?Kung Fu Hustle? this weekend. ?The Interpreter? and ?A Lot Like Love? sound like great alternatives, too.