Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Darkness Balances on the Edge of Freshness

Plus, When in Rome gets tossed to the lions.

by | January 28, 2010 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an angry detective (Edge of Darkness, starring Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone) and a Roman holiday (When in Rome, starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel). What do the critics have to say?


Edge of Darkness

It’s been nearly a decade since Mel Gibson has played a leading role onscreen. And critics say the reason Edge of Darkness works as well as it does is Gibson’s presence, which elevates the film above a run-of-the-mill revenge thriller. Based upon the 1980s British TV series of the same name (also directed by Martin Campbell, who helms here), Edge stars Gibson as a Boston detective filled with grief after the murder of his daughter. However, as he investigates, he learns her death is part of a larger conspiracy. The pundits say Gibson is in fine form, delivering a world-weary, compelling performance that mostly makes up for the film’s contrivances. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Gibsons’s best-reviewed films.)


When in Rome

When in Rome attempts to meld romantic comedy and fairy tale tropes into a picturesque travelogue. However, critics say this long-delayed would-be confection is hardly worth the trip — it’s a forced and unconvincing attempt at whimsy that falls flat. Kristen Bell stars as Beth, a single gal who finds herself in a sticky situation: after removing coins from a “fountain of love” in the Eternal City, she’s followed back to New York by a string of obsessed suitors. The pundits say When in Rome is leaden, generic, and occasionally creepy, wasting an excellent cast (including Will Arnett, Anjelica Huston, and Danny DeVito) on a largely laugh-free script.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • North Face, a historical drama about a pair of climbers attempting to conquer a perilous peak in the Swiss Alps, is at 89 percent.

  • Off and Running, documentary about a college track prospect grappling with her unconventional family life, is at 80 percent.

  • The Israeli import For My Father, a drama about a suicide bomber who finds himself living among his purported targets, is at 50 percent.
  • Saint John of Las Vegas, starring Steve Buscemi in a dramedy about a recovering compulsive gambler drawn back to Vegas, is at seven percent.

Finally, we’d like to send a big “EEYEAHH” to King Crunk (WHAT?!) for successfully guessing Legion‘s 17 percent Tomatometer. (OKAY!)

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