Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked) Reviews

Top Critic
November 22, 2009
Curtis's movie is loosely based on the historical truths of the time, but it isn't meant as a documentary, a rockumentary, or even a docucomedy. It's just a hell of a lot of fun.
Top Critic
Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
November 19, 2009
Grudgingly irresistible
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
At the Movies
November 16, 2009
It just sits there in the water.
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
At the Movies
November 16, 2009
Any serious music fan -- that is anyone who sees the radio pirates as kindred spirits -- will be outraged by its sloppy approach to the history of rock and roll.
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
November 13, 2009
Forty years ago, they couldn't get these songs on the radio; now we can't get them off.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 13, 2009
Richard Curtis's comedy is anchored only in exuberance, but that's more than you can say for most movies these days; it keeps you beaming with pleasure.
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
November 13, 2009
Pirate Radio, the new rock-saturated comedy that proves life really is better when it's set to a '60s soundtrack, is, to borrow from the Stones, "a gas! gas! gas!"
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
November 13, 2009
Pirate Radio is a bit of a mess. But an amiable mess nonetheless, with the boys' casual chemistry and the music carrying things along, it's not that hard to watch and it's great to listen to.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
November 13, 2009
A hodgepodge of half-baked characters and story ideas, stoked by a frantic climax and a blue-chip playlist of 1966 rock classics.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
November 13, 2009
Boys will be boys and often at top volume in Pirate Radio, Richard Curtis's fanciful fiction about rebel broadcasters.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
November 13, 2009
What's not to like? It's Animal House on water, with Branagh playing Dean Wormer.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
November 13, 2009
[A] bright joy-bomb that explodes in every direction with rock classics used in surprisingly direct and literal ways.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Charlie McCollum
San Jose Mercury News
November 13, 2009
I started glancing at the time well before the midway mark.
Full Review | Original Score: 0.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
November 13, 2009
If there were awards handed out for the most badly bungled concept, Pirate Radio would have to be very much in contention.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
November 13, 2009
It's all got a great backbeat and you can dance to it, but there isn't much to Curtis's rebels except some canned anti-authoritarian, sex-drugs-rock 'n' roll rants.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
November 13, 2009
The film's original title was The Boat That Rocked. Indeed, these freewheeling, swinging '60s DJs braved their own Titanic to keep on rocking in the free world.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
November 12, 2009
The boat nearly sinks from character overload, and Curtis brakes when you most want him to gun it. But there's no denying the comic energy of the cast.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
November 12, 2009
Despite Curtis' bumbling, Pirate Radio manages to stay afloat bravely enough -- at least until the climax, which comes off as a confused marriage between Top of the Pops and Titanic.
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
November 12, 2009
This might sound like a sentimental recipe, but Richard Curtis, who wrote and directed, keeps the spirit fresh and anarchic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 12, 2009
Imagine the dullest moments from Almost Famous and the lamest bits from Animal House held together with clumsy Frankenstein stitching. Now punch yourself in the face. There you go.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
November 12, 2009
In just about every respect, Pirate Radio is less than seaworthy.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 12, 2009
Pirate Radio takes a great story -- the hugely popular offshore radio stations that illegally broadcast pop and rock in 1960s Britain -- and turns it into an aggressively irritating floating frat-party romp.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
November 12, 2009
If rock 'n' roll is about joy and rebellion, then a movie about it should be joyful and rebellious, too. But Pirate Radio is staid and stolid.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
November 12, 2009
Richard Curtis has made a party, not a movie, and if the party goes on much too long, at least the guests are great company and the host's taste in music is impeccable.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Sam Adams
AV Club
November 12, 2009
Do you like montages, but grow bored with the tedious plot bits in between? Then Pirate Radio is the movie for you.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
November 12, 2009
There's more Partridge Family hugginess than sedition and subversion behind this rock 'n' roll story.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
November 12, 2009
Here the plot doesn't require a reason for the characters to keep running into one another; there's nowhere they can hide. No coincidences means more development. And the wall-to-wall '60s rock keeps things bright.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
November 12, 2009
Pirate Radio is a great soundtrack in search of a movie. It never really finds one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 11, 2009
The music is great, the comedy provides occasional laughs, and there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the movie. Distilled to its essence, it represents a respectable diversion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 11, 2009
Even as it spirals into disaster-flick absurdity, Pirate Radio isn't trying to cause a big sensation, it's just peddling instant gratification.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
November 11, 2009
Pirate Radio is, in the end, about as rock-revolutionary as a tea break. But the choppy production floats on a great soundtrack (the real pirates are the Rolling Stones) and is buoyed by an inviting cast...
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
November 11, 2009
It was cut by over half an hour for American release and still plays long. But thanks to that fairy-dusting of Curtis charm, I wouldn't cut a frame of it. It skips by like a much-loved old LP.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 11, 2009
Giggles, not belly laughs, come frequently, and it'll help if viewers love U.K. comics.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Robert Wilonsky
Village Voice
November 10, 2009
The sex is polite, and there's not a whiff of dope.
Top Critic
Wally Hammond
Time Out
April 3, 2009
'The Ship That Sank' would be a more appropriate title for writer-director Richard Curtis's latest and most disappointing entertainment. It's a cripplingly self-conscious and self-satisfied tribute.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/6
Top Critic
Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
March 30, 2009
The film is far too long, and between the tracks, the episodic adventures of a group of disc jockeys broadcasting rock 'n' roll from a rusty old clunker anchored just beyond the three-mile limit from the British Isles is heavy going.
Top Critic
Derek Elley
Variety
March 30, 2009
For a script that relies more on character-driven than situational comedy, it's the perfs that count, and these are thankfully strong.