Notorious - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Notorious Reviews

February 12, 2009
As mainstream hip hop becomes ever more predictable, so do the biopics about its stars.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/6
January 20, 2009
Even if we miss the thinking that went into the creation of Wallace's B.I.G.-ger-than-life alter ego, the movie's performances are exultant.
January 20, 2009
The movie leaves us with the sense that, twelve years after Biggie Smalls's death, a lot of people are trying to extract whatever profit or pride they can from the chaotic life of a young man who was, as he well knew, a work in progress.
January 20, 2009
If Milk set the standard for biopics in 2008, then 2009 is off to a strong start with Notorious.
January 20, 2009
For a hardcore fan of his music and his life, it rings true.
January 16, 2009
Notorious is like a piece of well-crafted bling. It looks good, and facets of it shine, but behind the gilded facade there's not much there.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 16, 2009
This tale of triumph and tragedy within hip hop's elite is intelligent, gripping and far less sensationalistic than anyone could have expected.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 16, 2009
The best thing about Notorious is its across-the-board, excellent cast, especially the soulful Woolard and Mackie's mesmerizing work as the complex Shakur.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 16, 2009
It must have been an act of great restraint for Sean Combs to resist titling this film, about Chris Wallace, his close friend turned rapper and cultural icon, The Notorious B.I.G. -- The Sean Combs Story.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
January 16, 2009
Notorious is surprisingly and pleasantly unflashy, a straightforward picture that makes a distinction between classiness and bling.
January 16, 2009
George Tillman Jr.'s film may follow the well-worn path of many a musical biography. But spot-on casting, a light touch around the edges and affection for its subject makes this warts-and-all look at the big man with the big hits a winner.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
January 16, 2009
The script lets too much slide, and director George Tillman Jr. -- whose biggest films have been Soul Food and the Barbershop franchise -- abets it.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 16, 2009
Closer to Scorsese than Scarface, Notorious gives a heartfelt yet clear-eyed sendoff to the late Brooklyn rapper Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls aka the Notorious B.I.G.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 16, 2009
It's unlikely there will be a better dramatization of the Biggie Smalls story than this one.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
January 16, 2009
Notorious obviously loves its protagonist, but the movie can't get past its own starstruck awe.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
January 16, 2009
Notorious has a fine time along the way, with Woolard channeling the rapper's sweetness and wit as comfortably as his pathos.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
January 16, 2009
A vivid biopic of the larger-than-life rap star that doesn't require you be a big fan of the genre.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 16, 2009
This flick smoothes out the roughest edges, drains off the rawness and blandly retraces the narrative arc of every musical biopic since The Jazz Singer.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
January 16, 2009
Notorious is a game of dress-up, the Greatest Hits version of Biggie's life. But in the end, it fails to present a convincing argument of why we should care.
Full Review | Original Score: C
January 16, 2009
Notorious, directed by George Tillman Jr. with a sentimental touch, seems torn.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
January 16, 2009
This engrossing biopic, throbbing with style and attitude, will likely add to his legend.
January 16, 2009
An enjoyably ridiculous entertainment about a pursy young man with mysterious sex appeal who turns the rap world on its ear.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 16, 2009
Anyone looking for a dispassionate, evenhanded account of the life of Biggie Smalls will be disappointed, perhaps even dismayed, by Notorious.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/5
January 16, 2009
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 16, 2009
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 16, 2009
Full Review | Original Score: B
January 15, 2009
It's as if the filmmakers didn't trust Woolard to carry the emotional weight of Wallace's story. They should have.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 15, 2009
Feels like Biggie's Wikipedia page reformatted for the big screen.
January 15, 2009
A great rapper deserves a great biopic, but B.I.G. fans will have to settle for this merely passable one.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
January 15, 2009
Notorious is an efficient biopic, and a celebratory exercise in nostalgia for hip-hop fans of a certain age.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 15, 2009
Even when this 'authorized' movie biography makes you long for the 'explicit' version, Woolard's tour de force finds the human details that forged an artist and lets Biggie fly.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 15, 2009
What really saves Notorious are the performances of rapper Jamal Woolard, who captures some of The Notorious B.I.G.'s playful charm, and newcomer Naturi Naughton, who dazzles early on as the fiery Lil' Kim.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 15, 2009
Notorious is a good film in many ways, but its best achievement is the casting of Jamal Woolard, a rapper named Gravy, in the title role.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 15, 2009
If there's a guide book on how to create a standard rags-to-riches music biopic, the makers of Notorious must have memorized every page.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
January 15, 2009
The best way to remember Biggie Smalls is to listen to "Juicy" or "Things Done Changed" or any of the virtuosic autobiographical raps in which Christopher Wallace paints his own world with more immediacy and wit than Notorious ever manages to muster.
January 14, 2009
Notorious is a luridly unapologetic trip through the violence, hunger, verbal bravado, and money fever of the hip-hop world, which it views as both liberating and destructive (often for the same reasons).
Full Review | Original Score: B+
January 14, 2009
Kicks off with the usual rapper braggadocio of a childhood on the cutthroat street corners, then slyly cuts to a chubby A-student nerd known as "Chrissy-poo" to mom Voletta.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
January 14, 2009
Notorious delivers nothing but clumsy filmmaking and a greatest-hits checklist, without offering insight into the man or his myth. If you don't know now...you still won't know.
Read More | Original Score: 2/6
January 14, 2009
Notorious, a biography of the rapper Notorious B.I.G., transcends gangster-flick cliches because of the outsized talents of the artist and the actor who portrays him.
January 14, 2009
Just buy the records; that's the point of this infomercial anyhow.
January 12, 2009
It has terrific performances, a powerful soundtrack and eye-catching visuals.
January 12, 2009
A rock-solid biopic with a foolproof rise-and-fall storyline and a warmly nuanced performance by Jamal Woolard as iconic rapper Christopher Wallace.
January 5, 2009
Watching Notorious was like attending a 10-year high-school reunion and reliving the good old days when the future seemed so bright.