- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Jan
Director Steven Soderbergh has compiled an eclectic repertoire of high-profile hits like
The USCCB critic calls it "equal parts witty and tedious, following a story line that doesn't bring its disparate parts together satisfactorily." Phil Boatwright calls it "a very uneven production" that "has some sophisticated humor mixed with lowbrow shtick and much sexuality." Paul Bicking (Preview) says it highlights "morally empty lives both on the screen and in the 'real' life of the film industry."
Mainstream critics are trying to decide if the movie is an interesting experiment or a self-indulgent failure. Ebert calls it "a film so amateurish that only the professionalism of some of the actors makes it watchable." Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly) is not so dismayed: "This is all fun; certainly it keeps us admiring the director's talent for invention and excited by the liberated performances of so many favorite actors jazzed by Soderbergh's trust in their instincts. The movie would be more rewarding, however, and less of a self-contained exercise in style (and performance), were it not so besotted with its own delights and tricks."
This week, Holly McClure (Crosswalk) writes, "I enjoy Soderbergh's work and thought this one had to be good because of the talent in it, but I was sadly disappointed in this movie and thought it was a waste of time."
Tom Snyder (Movieguide) allows it a few praises: "There are some funny scenes and some touching scenes and some scenes that provide a few insights into human behavior. There's even a reconciliation scene between the writer and his wife. Still, it's mostly just another vague humanist exercise that offers vague humanist answers to contemporary life. Hence, it is just as forgettable and just as pointless as too many of the mainstream movies that studios and filmmakers have been producing these days."
Mainstream critics continued to debate the film's merits. Greg Potter (Vancouver Courier) turns in a clever criticism: "To steal a line from