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 metacritic.com, 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.
"Need I observe and report that the view isn't for every taste?"—Entertainment Weekly's Leah Rozen on Seth Rogen's new movie.
Observe and Report (Warner Bros.)
Metacritic Score: 52
Not quoted: "Need I observe and report that the view isn't for every taste?"
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "Funny as hell
Rogen is nutso hilarious. 'Observe and Report' revels in creeping you out and making you laughhard."
Actual line: "Even when [Director Jody] Hill goes way too far, and he does, Observe and Report revels in creeping you out and making you laughhard."
Metacritic Score: 76
A.O. Scott, The New York Times: "The smart vibe feels just right. Greg Mottola's film is akin to Richard Linklater's 'Dazed and Confused.' Sweet and intelligent."
Actual line: "The smart, slightly depressive vibe feels just right."
Not quoted: " 'Adventureland' sometimes seems to lose track of just which movie it is, and its sprawling narrative encompasses some soft spots and patches of inconsistency."
Metacritic Score: 81
A.O. Scott, New York Times: "Undeniably noble and beautiful. A wise and lovely film. Belongs on a shelf with 'Hoop Dreams.' "
Actual line: "There is something undeniably noble and beautiful about the love of sports."
Scott truly likes this film, but that's absolutely no reason for the ad writers to take his praise for sports fans (in the very first line of the review, no less!) and apply it to the movie. For that outrageous misdirection, this wins Gelf Magazine's Bogus Blurb of the Week Award.
David Ansen, Newsweek: "Irresistible! 'Sugar' doesn't go where you expect."
Actual line: "The movie left me wanting more from it than it delivers, but what it does offer is pretty irresistible."
Roger Friedman, FOX News: "The directors have scored a home run! Beautiful, unexpected and extraordinarily artful."
Sadly, this may be one of the last films Friedman gets to review. He was fired by FOX after mentioning (in a rave review!) that he'd illegally downloaded the new X-men movie Wolverine.
Metacritic Score: 80
Siran Babayan, LA Weekly: "Will make you laugh, cry & cheer."
Actual line (from the subtitle): "Duo will make you laugh, cry and cheer with songs like 'Hair Pie' and 'Show Me Your Tits.' "
Not sure exactly why the end of the line didn't make it into the ad copy.
Metacritic Score: 70
Manohla Dargis, New York Times: " 'Limelife' keeps you hooked."
Actual line: "Despite such floundering, 'Limelife' keeps you hooked."
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: " 'Lymelife' sends off sparks."
Actual line: "Even when the drama gets overcooked, 'Lymelife' sends off sparks."
This movie's blurb writers had a field day getting rid of those pesky dependent clauses.
Metacritic Score: 69
David Denby, The New Yorker: "Enormously enjoyable. A romantic comedy set at the center of a caper movie. Roberts and Owen make a terrific team."
Not quoted: " the narrative bamboozlements may leave some audiences in an irritated funk."
For more on the film's blurbs, see the previous Blurbs column.