Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

The Blurbs

August 1, 2009

G-Force: Possibly Enjoyable!

In this week's edition of The Blurbs—the feature in which we take a close look at those critic blurbs that are a fixture of ads for movies—see breakdowns of blurbs for 'G-Force,' 'Adam,' 'The Ugly Truth,' and more.

David Goldenberg

The critic blurb is a staple of arts advertising. Yet if you look behind some blurbs, you'll find quotes out of context, quote whores, and other questionable ad practices. Blurb Racket exposes the truth behind critics blurbs in movie ads from the New York Times. Movie titles link to, which compiles movie reviews in a far-more honest way than do movie ads. See the inaugural Blurb Racket column for background and useful links, and find out what critics think of the racket.

"It will possibly be enjoyed by children of all ages."—Roger Ebert on G-Force

G-Force (Walt Disney)
Metacritic Score: 41

Pete Hammond, BoxOffice Magazine: “Hilarious!”
Actual line: “Often hilarious …”
Hammond tosses plenty of complimentary platitudes at the film, but only gives it 3/5 stars.

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: “Non-stop, wall-to-wall madcap action.”
Not quoted: “It will possibly be enjoyed by children of all ages.”
Ebert is not a huge fan of this movie; he only awards it 2.5 stars. But he seems to be a bigger fan of his own silly and ambiguous writing, which includes thoughts about inoperative microwaves and guinea pig sex appeal.

(500) Days of Summer
(500) Days of Summer (Fox Searchlight)
Metacritic Score: 76

Doris Toumarkine, Film Journal International: “500 cheers for the great story and script. Audiences across generations should have a summer of fun with this one.”
This is the actual line from the review. We are slightly disturbed that someone would write in such a blurby fashion.

Aliens in the Attic (20th Century Fox)
Metacritic Score: 54
Edwin Carpenter, The Dove Foundation: “A family comedy with heart!”
The actual review doesn’t seem to contain the above phrase, but that’s much less worrying than the fact that the movie’s PR team saw fit to blurb from an organization that doesn’t so much review movies as rate how Christian they are. This particular movie only got 4 doves out of 5, in part because “a young man puts frozen food on his crotch after being hit there by a paint ball.”

Adam (Fox Searchlight)
Metacritic Score: 59

Rex Reed, The New York Observer: “A riveting performance by the gifted Hugh Dancy, and Rose Byrne is equally good.”
Actual line: “A British actor on his way to superstardom, [Dancy] has range and discipline, and his American accent is perfect. (Ms. Byrne is equally good; she sounds so much like a New York native that you’d never believe she’s from Australia.)”
Pretending that a compliment assigned to Byrne’s accent extends to her entire performance earns this ad Gelf Magazine’s coveted Bogus Blurb of the Week Award.

Justin Chang, Variety: “Emotionally potent performances in a tender New York love story.”
Actual line: “Emotionally potent performances, gently offbeat humor and writer-helmer Max Mayer's assured touch guide this tender New York love story to a quietly hopeful conclusion, prevailing over some overly familiar situations and slight narrative missteps.”

The Ugly Truth
The Ugly Truth (Columbia Pictures)
Metacritic Score: 27

Matt Sullivan, In Touch Weekly: “The battle of the sexes is fought by two tough foes in this sassy, sexy screwball comedy! It’s wicked fun.”
Sullivan awarded the film 4/5 stars, the same rating he gave to The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

David Goldenberg

David Goldenberg is the co-founder and editor of Gelf, and the host of Geeking Out, Gelf's monthly science speaking series.

Post a comment

Comment Rules

The following HTML is allowed in comments:
Bold: <b>Text</b>
Italic: <i>Text</i>
<a href="URL">Text</a>


Article by David Goldenberg

David Goldenberg is the co-founder and editor of Gelf, and the host of Geeking Out, Gelf's monthly science speaking series.

Learn more about this author


Hate to miss out? Enter your email for occasional Gelf news flashes.


Gelf t-shirt

The picture is on the front of the shirt, the words are on the back. You can be in between.