The Bonfire of the Vanities - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bonfire of the Vanities Reviews

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Roger Hurlburt
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
June 28, 2013
Brian DePalma`s The Bonfire of the Vanities is a perfect example of how a best-selling book can be carefully altered, perceptively pruned and converted into an intriguing motion picture.
Paul Schrodt
Slant Magazine
September 10, 2006
De Palma's characterizations may not have the subtle tongue-in-cheek wit of Tom Wolfe, but his version of the story is both more comic and angrier for it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Chuck O'Leary
Fantastica Daily
January 24, 2006
An interesting failure that's not as bad as its reputation. Speaks a lot of truth, but the tone is too broad.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
November 20, 2003
It's botched, but it's more interesting than assumed.
| Original Score: 3/5
Fred Topel
July 14, 2003
Not as bad as originally thought upon reflection. Somewhat compelling story of media manipulation. Nothing huge, but better than remembered.
| Original Score: 3/5
Alex Sandell
Juicy Cerebellum
May 30, 2003
I thought it was an alright movie. The people that hated it hated it because they loved the book.
| Original Score: 3/5
Christopher Smith
Bangor Daily News (Maine)
October 11, 2002
| Original Score: 3/5
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
July 26, 2002
| Original Score: 3/5
David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews
May 10, 2016
It's ultimately not difficult to see why The Bonfire of the Vanities was (and still is) regarded as an epic big-budget bomb...
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
June 28, 2013
If you're interested in a faithful visual adaptation of Wolfe's novel, be assured that this isn't it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Ralph Novak
People Magazine
June 28, 2013
Brian DePalma lapses into idle, slapsticky digressions. You don't get angry at what he's attacking, or defensive; you just get weary.
Gary Thompson
Philadelphia Daily News
June 28, 2013
Tom Wolfe's widely read satire becomes a tedious farce, turning one of the year's most anticipated movies into one of the most disappointing.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 28, 2013
What a mess.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
June 28, 2013
On film, Bonfire achieves a consistency of ineptitude rare even in this era of over-inflated cinematic air bags.
Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
June 28, 2013
If you loved Wolfe's book, you may very well hate the movie. If you simply liked the novel, you may be simultaneously entertained and disappointed by what De Palma and Cristofer have done to it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4

TV Guide
June 28, 2013
Reduced to pure plot, the narrative is not so much a sendup of 1980s hypocrisy as an orgy of banal, juvenile mean-spiritedness. The irony of Wolfe's book becomes shrill, screaming sarcasm, unpleasant, and, worse, unfunny.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Sheila Benson
Los Angeles Times
June 28, 2013
Certainly Wolfe's canvas might lend itself to a broad approach, but broad like Dr. Strangelove, not broad like the Three Stooges.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5

June 28, 2013
In this heavy-handed and uneven treatment, De Palma drains Tom Wolfe's original story of its humour, and must shoulder the blame for its failure.
David Sterritt
Christian Science Monitor
June 28, 2013
Even as they've smoothed the novel's rough edges... the filmmakers have tried to cram a maximum number of its incidents into about two hours of screen time. This gives the picture a hectic pace that adds to its feeling of weightlessness and unreality.
Top Critic
Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune
June 28, 2013
The film was cast wrong and written shallowly.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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