Critics Consensus

Pokémon Detective Pikachu Is Catching (Most) Critics' Hearts

Plus, see what critics think of girl power double The Hustle and Poms, and whether they're finding anything precious in Tolkien.

Ryan Reynolds voices a furry yellow Pokémon out to catch all the crooks in this weekend’s release of Pokémon Detective Pikachu. Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson are dirty, rotten scoundrels out for trouble of their own in The Hustle and Diane Keaton, Pam Grier, and Jacki Weaver get in formation for cheerleading comedy Poms. For something more serious, Nicholas Hoult stars as J.R.R. Tolkien in director Dome Karukoski’s eponymous film about the influential writer’s formative years. Which films get the critics’ best picks?

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) 68%

Find a kid-friendly plot written and directed by someone with a proven track record in this arena (Rob Letterman of Captain Underpants and Monsters vs. Aliens fame) and add an actor like Ryan Reynolds, who doesn’t take himself too seriously, and you’ve got a recipe for an ideal Mother’s Day weekend family outing. The plot revolves around a young Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) who is on the hunt to find his missing detective father. Luckily, dad’s wise-cracking former Pokemon partner is there to help him on the hunt. It’s not the deepest film opening this weekend, according to the critics, but it’s a solid pick if you want to take your mind off the outside world for 104 minutes, plus previews.

Tolkien (2019) 51%

Finnish director Dome Karukoski, who previously found success with a look at an LGBTQI icon in 2017’s Tom of Finland, attempts to explore the formative years of J.R.R. Tolkien in this new biopic. Nicholas Hoult plays the Lord of the Rings author during his formative years at school and during World War I, with Lily Collins depicting his muse and eventual wife, Edith Bratt. Despite the subject’s legacy as a leader in the world of elaborately epic fantasy storytelling, critics have been less enamored with this depiction of his life.

Poms (2019) 36%

Was Anjelica Huston onto something? The formidable actresses recently scoffed to Vulture that she would never appear in what she describes as an “old-lady cheerleader movie” – a dig many decided was directed at Poms. Directed by The Battle of the Sexes documentarian Zara Hayes, the movie stars Diane Keaton, Pam Grier, Rhea Perlman, and Jacki Weaver as ladies of a certain age who still have spirit (yes they do) and decide to break out the pom-poms and sneakers to start their own cheerleading team (13 Reasons Why actress Alisha Boe plays their coach). While this movie will certainly satisfy a certain subgroup of moms looking for a night out, the general critical consensus is to stay home and watch Wine Country on Netflix.

The Hustle (2019) 14%

The Hustle is the latest gender-swapped Hollywood remake, following Ghostbusters and Overboard – and it’s not fairing as well as either with the criticsHere, writer Jac Schaeffer and director Chris Addison have attempted to update Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson as the swindling con-artists who take unsuspecting wealthy paramours for everything they’re worth. But the film may end up being a Murphy game for anyone hoping the price of admission will result in hysterical and zany hijinks that still have the wit of the original. On the plus side, The Hustle’s costumes and scenery make the grade.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • General Magic (2019) : This highly praised documentary tells the backstory of the secretive Silicon Valley start-up that, among other things, shipped the first smartphone way back in 1994. It’s Certified Fresh at 100% on the Tomatometer.
  • The Biggest Little Farm (2019) : Emmy-winning director John Chester’s documentary about a couple who leave their Los Angeles apartment for the farm life is Certified Fresh with 93%.
  • All Is True (2019) : Director-star Kenneth Branagh returns to his love of the Bard in this biopic about William Shakespeare’s final days. It is getting mostly favorable reviews, with 76% on the Tomatometer.
  • Pasolini (2019)Willem Dafoe stars in this biopic about the final days of Italian writer, director, and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini, which is Certified Fresh at 71%.
  • Asako I & II (Netemo sametemo) (2019) : Director and co-writer Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s romantic drama is about a woman caught in a love triangle with two men who look the same but have different personalities. It is at 68% on the Tomatometer.
  • My Son (Mon garçon) (2019)Guillaume Canet and Melanie Laurent star in this drama about a man searching for details after his child mysteriously disappears. It is at 58% on the Tomatometer.
  • Charlie Says (2019) : Director Mary Harron’s largely panned drama about the three women sentenced to death for the Manson murders – Matt Smith plays the cult leader – is at 41%.
  • The Professor and the Madman (2019)Mel Gibson and Sean Penn star in this biopic about the two men who created the Oxford English Dictionary. Critics are shrugging; it’s at 33%.

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