Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Unknown's Plot Twists Too Much

Plus, I Am Number Four is so-so, and Big Mommas is dire stuff.

by | February 17, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a mystery man (Unknown, starring Liam Neeson and January Jones), a teenage alien (I Am Number Four, starring Alex Pettyfer and Timothy Olyphant), and a cross-dressing fed (Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, starring Martin Lawrence and Brandon T. Jackson). What do the critics have to say?



Lately, Liam Neeson has a thing for European intrigue. He journeyed to Paris to rescue his daughter in 2009’s Taken, and now he heads to Berlin for Unknown, a twisty thriller that critics say undermines its strong premise with implausible plotting. Neeson stars as a man who falls into a coma after a car accident; when he awakens, he discovers his wife (January Jones) doesn’t recognize him, and he’s being targeted by shadowy forces. The pundits say Neeson and an expert supporting cast help keep Unknown watchable, but ultimately, the unlikely story and excessive action set pieces keep it from truly soaring.

I Am Number Four


Another week, another tale of a teenager with supernatural powers. In I Am Number Four, our hero is neither a vampire nor a wizard, but an alien — which matters little to critics, who say the movie has some decent action scenes, but little in the way of memorable characters or original plotting. Alex Pettyfer stars as a teenage alien with extraordinary powers who wants to settle down and enjoy high school life in a sleepy Ohio town; unfortunately, some evil aliens have already killed three of his associates. The pundits say Four rips off just about every other film of its ilk, from Twilight to Harry Potter, without adding much to the formula, though there are a few exciting moments here and there.

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son


Some cinematic stories are so sprawling or emotionally overwhelming that it takes a trilogy to tell them — think Lord of the Rings or the Apu trilogy. But the Big Momma movies? If the first two installments didn’t exactly set the critical world afire, the pundits are especially unamused by Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, calling it a particularly slim assemblage of crass gags that furthers the franchise’s one-joke premise without, ahem, expanding upon it. Once again, Martin Lawrence plays an FBI agent who must go undercover in the most counterintuitive of disguises — this time in an all-girls school after his nephew witnesses a killing. The pundits say Big Mommas is tired stuff – clichéd, dull, and shrill, with little reason to exist. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we present a brief history of movies with dudes in drag.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

universal monsters History cooking breaking bad CBS All Access medical drama classics Oscars Nickelodeon Disney streaming service VICE Hallmark Christmas movies critics green book canceled TV shows period drama adventure Awards Tour First Look spanish language sports See It Skip It ABC Family news series Schedule nbcuniversal Lucasfilm spain finale Shondaland Animation Star Trek die hard 72 Emmy Awards justice league hispanic TCM Emmys cops psychological thriller Rom-Com sag awards Disney Plus video on demand TLC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt HBO Anna Paquin Fall TV A24 Ovation Apple Shudder zombie TCA Winter 2020 Comedy Central cults Best and Worst twilight Polls and Games cancelled TV series Musicals Turner Classic Movies Pop TV Video Games Tumblr APB DC streaming service Arrowverse worst Vudu ITV DirecTV Discovery Channel RT History Tubi children's TV Disney+ Disney Plus documentaries Biopics discovery dc Writers Guild of America The Witch Marvel The Walking Dead natural history Turner slashers Quiz 2017 Rocketman Film Festival Adult Swim Esquire YouTube Red Sundance Now sitcom Apple TV Plus dramedy TBS cinemax Universal Nominations Spike Columbia Pictures Food Network canceled Fox News OWN psycho GIFs Pixar Syfy Emmy Nominations theme song name the review TNT toronto asian-american facebook nfl Ellie Kemper TCA reboot SDCC Kids & Family mockumentary criterion 2020 Superheroes documentary space game of thrones what to watch BBC One transformers Pop serial killer Paramount LGBT Trailer TruTV stand-up comedy Sci-Fi latino parents Calendar rotten independent The Arrangement Grammys E! travel crime Year in Review miniseries obituary Summer Showtime RT21 Sony Pictures cancelled television game show Hallmark satire ghosts New York Comic Con superhero GoT directors venice Marvel Television AMC 71st Emmy Awards quibi composers Photos Trivia casting Reality Competition A&E spy thriller Box Office scary movies BBC America 2015 TV renewals Lifetime Christmas movies Winter TV politics TV Holidays concert Lionsgate Funimation 2019 anthology aliens Binge Guide Western Action TCA 2017 comiccon Pride Month CMT FX on Hulu video free movies strong female leads Horror nature National Geographic Elton John MCU hist Election American Society of Cinematographers Amazon Prime Video cancelled TV shows doctor who Heroines Dark Horse Comics fast and furious Tarantino Set visit Interview Acorn TV binge screenings book chucky Countdown Disney SundanceTV Character Guide El Rey cancelled crime thriller Marvel Studios CBS laika ratings 2018 Rock Christmas Logo Winners Classic Film Spectrum Originals TCA Awards Watching Series social media Amazon Prime Mary Poppins Returns Avengers a nightmare on elm street Mary Tyler Moore Warner Bros. ABC adaptation rotten movies we love stoner dragons Extras versus 45 diversity BAFTA streaming Film biography Drama batman IFC romantic comedy christmas movies sequels mutant south america unscripted Cosplay cartoon award winner remakes crossover kids Chernobyl The CW franchise festivals animated Mindy Kaling science fiction thriller comics disaster YA Peacock harry potter child's play PaleyFest jamie lee curtis Travel Channel richard e. Grant MTV golden globes Super Bowl Television Academy witnail Musical E3 singing competition LGBTQ Amazon Starz revenge WarnerMedia Opinion films Nat Geo WGN Certified Fresh Martial Arts elevated horror werewolf OneApp renewed TV shows Lifetime Captain marvel Crunchyroll 4/20 indiana jones vampires DC Universe CW Seed Hulu Tomatazos Family 007 technology IFC Films Britbox war Mary poppins USA Network BBC boxoffice dogs historical drama 20th Century Fox Baby Yoda spinoff Television Critics Association Country San Diego Comic-Con screen actors guild Thanksgiving Holiday MSNBC Comedy dceu Valentine's Day FX spider-man Comics on TV cars Sneak Peek 2016 Pirates Cartoon Network Crackle Song of Ice and Fire police drama DC Comics movie PBS comic Superheroe Brie Larson HBO Go best DGA Mudbound 24 frames Toys Spring TV Star Wars foreign Black History Month based on movie Endgame reviews toy story FOX BET television emmy awards Black Mirror scorecard First Reviews BET Awards Music festival TV Land all-time Academy Awards crime drama stop motion romance The Purge Epix 21st Century Fox Women's History Month GLAAD Fantasy docudrama Creative Arts Emmys political drama ESPN PlayStation hollywood dark HBO Max Pet Sematary cats President football VOD USA CNN worst movies Hear Us Out Premiere Dates Disney Channel Mystery Stephen King Trophy Talk Podcast Masterpiece SXSW TIFF YouTube blockbuster sequel Cannes YouTube Premium movies halloween comedies blaxploitation Awards NBC Teen Red Carpet Netflix NYCC Rocky talk show Walt Disney Pictures tv talk supernatural Bravo Infographic teaser Paramount Network FXX Netflix Christmas movies Reality zero dark thirty Sundance VH1 Marathons Ghostbusters Apple TV+ Amazon Studios Freeform Sundance TV zombies robots joker indie mission: impossible Comic Book Chilling Adventures of Sabrina X-Men anime true crime