Critics Consensus: Side Effects is Certified Fresh

Plus, Identity Thief is criminally short on laughs.

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This week at the movies, we've got a woman on the edge (Side Effects, starring Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum); a shameless fraudster (Identity Thief, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman), and some hotshot pilots (Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer). What do the critics have to say?

Side Effects


Steven Soderbergh claims that Side Effects will be the last theatrical film he directs. Critics say that if that's the case, he's crafted a heck of a swan song in this sleek, mysterious thriller. Rooney Mara stars as a young woman suffering from depression after her husband (Channing Tatum) is released from prison. She turns to a psychiatrist (Jude Law) who prescribes her an antidepressant that he's being paid to pitch, but soon she's reeling from the drug's adverse effects. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Side Effects is twisty, elegantly shot, and suspenseful, one that offers further proof of Soderbergh's ability to elevate genre material to new heights. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Law's best-reviewed movies.)

Identity Thief


Melissa McCarthy has established herself as a scene-stealing supporting player, and critics say in Identity Thief she proves she has the goods to be a leading lady. Unfortunately, they also say she and co-star Jason Bateman can't save the film from its rambling, aimless script. McCarthy stars as an identity thief whose posh lifestyle is being financed by a financial services drone (Bateman), who tracks her down but soon finds himself in over his head. The pundits say Identity Thief's laughs are attributable to McCarthy and Bateman, who labor mightily to create a framework for the movie's undisciplined plotline. (Check out this week's 24 Frames for a gallery of impostors and identity thieves.)

Top Gun: An IMAX 3D Experience


Upon its release in 1986, Top Gun was a massive success, one that made Tom Cruise a superstar, spawned a hit soundtrack, and inspired an uptick in enlistments into the Navy. It's getting an IMAX 3D rerelease this week, so a new generation can see what all the fuss was about. Suffice to say, the critics were largely split, with many praising the film's aerial footage while finding its characters to be pretty one-dimensional.

Also opening this week in limited release: