Critics Consensus: Jack the Giant Slayer is Fee-Fie-Fokay

Plus, Phantom is out to sea, 21 and Over is short on laugs, and The Last Exorcism Part II wasn't screened for critics.

by Tim Ryan | Friday, Mar. 01 2013

This week at the movies, we've got fairy tale swashbuckling (Jack the Giant Slayer, starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor), submarine suspense (Phantom, starring Ed Harris and David Duchovny), excessive partying (21 and Over, starring Miles Teller and Skylar Astin), and devilish doings (The Last Exorcism Part II, starring Ashley Bell and Spencer Treat Clark). What do the critics have to say?

Jack the Giant Slayer

52%

With all the fairy tale adaptations Hollywood's been cranking out lately, Jack and the Beanstalk seems particularly ripe for a big-budget adaptation. And critics say that while Jack the Giant Slayer is briskly paced and occasionally thrilling, it's often more stylish than substantial. After unintentionally opening a portal to another world, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) fights to defend the earth from a group of giants who are attempting to reclaim their former realm. The pundits say Jack the Giant Slayer looks terrific, and it has some exciting set pieces, but it doesn't do much to distinguish itself from other fantasy adventures of its ilk. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down star Ewan McGregor's best-reviewed movies.)

Phantom

25%

Das Boot. The Hunt for Red October. Crimson Tide. There are plenty of good thrillers set on board submarines, but unfortunately, critics say the well-acted but poorly-scripted Phantom is unlikely to join their ranks. Ed Harris stars as the captain of a Soviet sub on a secret mission. However, several of the crew members, led by Bruni (David Duchovny), are planning to take over the ship and escalate conflict with the U.S. The pundits say Phantom is unfortunately short on tension, leaving its talented cast out to sea. (Watch our video interview with Harris and Duchovny.)

21 and Over

28%

If the premise of 21 and Over -- three dudes party and go on wild adventures unill somebody blacks out -- sounds a lot like The Hangover, well, that's because it shares screenwriters. What they don't share, say critics, is a steady stream of laughs. Jeff (Justin Chon) is turning 21, but has an important interview the next day. His two buddies (Miles Teller and Skylar Astin) demand they hit the town; intoxication and hilarity ensue. The pundits say 21 and Over has a couple of solid gags, but they're separated by long passages that are raunchy and politically incorrect rather than funny. (Check out this week's 24 Frames for a gallery of memorable movie benders.)

The Last Exorcism Part II

16%

Perhaps the studio behind The Last Exorcism Part II were afraid their film was less than bewitching, since it wasn't screened prior to its release. Following the events of the previous film, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found alive with no recollection of what became of her family. Soon, she's once again possessed by a demonic spirit. Time to play guess the Tomatometer again!

Also opening this week in limited release:

Finally, props to Donald Whitman Jr. for guessing Dark Skies's 30 percent Tomatometer.

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