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Despite a promising premise and a solid central performance from Jesse Eisenberg, Holy Rollers lacks the depth necessary to overcome its cliched script. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

A Jewish youth (Jesse Eisenberg) risks being ostracized from his religious community when he becomes a drug mule for his best friend's older brother.

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Critic Reviews for Holy Rollers

All Critics (90) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (43)

Audience Reviews for Holy Rollers

  • Sep 23, 2017
    Feeling left in the slow lane of life, New York Orthodox Jews try drug running for awhile, trading on their outsider status. Families disapprove, but they do improve the drug-running game, because they're good with money ... ! Oy.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2013
    In what essentially amounts to a film version of a good Locked Up Abroad episode, Holly Rollers tells the story of young Hasidic Jews who were recruited to smuggle ecstasy from Europe to the United States. Specifically, the film looks at the inculcation of Jesse Eisenberg's character to this new lifestyle. The story that Holy Rollers seeks to tell is a familiar one, but one that should translate well to film. The film does a good job at the start, establishing the rigid belief system and antiquated social structure of Eisenberg's background. His introduction to the world is believable, but the film soon seems to lose its sense of build up and pace. Whereas it set up the Jewish community so well, Essenberg's rise in the drug world seems rushed, with the character arcs of those surrounding him never being fully fleshed out. It's as if the film stopped trying to distinguish itself about 1/3 of the way through, and instead opted for auto pilot. The performances in the film are all good, with Eisenberg having an especially interesting depiction of his character, conservative, awkward, shy, but yet curious and strangely competent. The problem, however, is that many of the supporting roles never fully developed, being especially pronounced with Justin Bartha's character. The relationship between Eisenberg and Ari Gaynor is also not handled especially well. Despite the weaknesses, Holy Rollers remains entertaining. It has most of the hallmarks of an effective drama, though it never stops to catch itself and reignite its originality. 3/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 01, 2012
    I can understand why this film was poorly received, in some criticisms of it, but over all it's a solid drama. I think when you here drug smuggling you think of a violent action. Don't expect this, it was very timidly paced and didn't show the really bad side. It wasn't in your face, and didn't even hint at violence in the drug smuggling business. This took out a realistic feel for this film, but the movie intentionally stayed away from it. The point was a low key spiritual message, when you think drugs low key and spiritual usually don't come up. I think the problem was how the crew produced it and not the film itself. The beloved Roger Ebert stated that "(the Hasidic Jews) never seem to be anything but Hasidic Jews". I strongly disagree with this statement this film also showed there sexual desires and family life. It wasn't all set in a Shul like Mr.Ebert portrayed. The film has a clear message, and without ever saying it you know what it is. Eisenberg acted his heart out and developed the character well from start to finish. It was slow, but at the same time there was a lot to enjoy.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2012
    An interesting idea executed in an un-interesting way, 'Holy Rollers' had my attention, but due to a lack of interesting characters and some serious pacing issues failed to hit the mark.
    Cameron S Super Reviewer

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