Pay It Forward - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pay It Forward Reviews

November 6, 2002
Spacey and Hunt create interestingly layered characters who are hiding parts of themselves from themselves. And come Oscar time, Osment once again may be saying, 'I see tuxedoed people.'
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
March 22, 2002
Less a worthy achievement than a nice try.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
June 25, 2001
With its smorgasbord of moralizings, Pay It Forward is a confusing welter of sentiment.
June 4, 2001
Not since Gump has there been such a pandering, faux-virtuous package of populist pap for Hollywood to shove in the faces of electioneering politicos and say: Look, we don't just market unwholesome swill to families, we market wholesome swill, too.
Read More | Original Score: 0.5/5
January 1, 2000
Has to be the most oppressive 'feel good' picture in movie history.
January 1, 2000
As it stands now, Pay It Forward winds up making a very good case for never going out of your way to help anybody.
January 1, 2000
Keeps zigging and zagging between plots and subplots that don't really matter.
January 1, 2000
Read More | Original Score: C
January 1, 2000
Osment truly is as good as it gets where kid thesps are concerned.
January 1, 2000
It's a pretty nice movie until, like a Ponzi plan, it collapses.
January 1, 2000
Wants so badly for us to feel something -- inspired, teary, shocked -- that it leaves us merely numb.
January 1, 2000
The result is about as organic as a pink Hostess Snowball.
January 1, 2000
Has all the elements of a satisfying movie except knowing when to stop. The rest is good enough, however, that it will do.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
January 1, 2000
It tells a story that audience members will want to like, but it doesn't tell it strongly and cleanly enough; it puts too many loops into the plot, and its ending is shamelessly soapy for the material.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 1, 2000
The combination of restrained writing and direction and top-of-the-line acting is enough to make even confirmed agnostics want to believe in this unashamed fairy tale.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
January 1, 2000
Inspirational Oscar-bait undermined by bad casting.
January 1, 2000
Worthwhile for the performances.
January 1, 2000
The idea is simple, sweet and catchy, like a pop song, and Pay it Forward is almost as irresistible as Trevor's idea.
January 1, 2000
Unceasingly manipulative.
Full Review | Original Score: D
January 1, 2000
Offers more potential than payoff.
Read More | Original Score: C+
January 1, 2000
The three principals have been encouraged to recycle their recently acclaimed performances and, when at a loss for something to do, to fall back on their specialty acts.
January 1, 2000
No wonder Arlene keeps a bottle of vodka in the chandelier. You would too with this demonic, passive-aggressive, New Age munchkin trying to run your life.
January 1, 2000
Toploaded with manipulative schmaltz, star-turn moments, intentionally unflattering makeup, unbelievable plot twists and just plain twaddle.
January 1, 2000
The year's most manipulative movie.
January 1, 2000
Tissues or barf bag, take your pick. Personally, I was glad I grabbed a handful of concession napkins. Judging by the chorus of sniffles, I wasn't alone.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 1, 2000
So enamored of its own upbeat view of human nature that it expects you to overlook its stick-figure characters, its creaky plot machinery and its remorseless assault on your tear ducts.
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
January 1, 2000
Hard-hearted critic that I am, I even found tears welling up near the end. But it's dishonest in its execution, and a tad dull after a promising beginning.
January 1, 2000
Hollywood feel-goodism at its best (or worst, depending on your Patch Adams tolerance quotient).
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
January 1, 2000
Despite being full of Oscar-winning talent, this is still just a better-dressed, drawn-out episode of Touched by an Angel.
January 1, 2000
It's carried to an amazing degree by its performances.
January 1, 2000
If a movie can coax tears out of me, touch me in a way that the tears flow naturally, more power to it. But stealing my tears by beating me over the head with manipulated schmaltz is a cheat.
January 1, 2000
Despite the concerted efforts of its Oscar pedigree cast to keep it real, Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and impressive young Haley Joel Osment unfortunately find themselves smothered by the schmaltz.
January 1, 2000
You witness the first, testing, tension-packed conversation between Spacey and Osment, as pregnant in its silences as in its words, and you are ready to go wherever this movie leads you.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
January 1, 2000
Some very affecting performances.
January 1, 2000
An example of how a movie can emotionally blackmail an audience.
January 1, 2000
Both affecting and effective.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4