Burn After Reading

Went to see 'Burn After Reading' last night, good film, not great but well worth the viewing, for a balanced review, check out these reviews from http://www.metacritic.com/

All critic scores are converted to a 100-point scale. If a critic does not indicate a score, we assign a score based on the general impression given by the text of the review. Learn more...

100 Chicago Reader J.R. Jones
After the portentous "No Country for Old Men," Joel and Ethan Coen return to their trademark brand of cruel, misanthropic farce, and for dark laughs and hurtling narrative momentum this spy caper is their best work since "Fargo."

91 Christian Science Monitor Peter Rainer
This is the loopiest star vehicle in ages.

90 Film Threat Zack Haddad
A roller coaster of emotions that will have you laughing one moment and gasping in shock the next.

83 Portland Oregonian Marc Mohan
Nothing more and nothing less than a savvy and talented cast having its way with a clever, hilarious script, with absolutely no weighty issues at stake.

80 Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan
Because it's a Coen brothers film before it's anything else, this is about as dark and nihilistic as comedies are allowed to get before the laughter dies bitterly on your lips.

80 Newsweek David Ansen
That's the paradox that makes this parade of folly so much fun: it feels as if everyone involved is having a high old time, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

80 Empire Ian Nathan
If "No Country For Old Men" was vintage port, Burn After Reading is a shot of tequila: eye watering and hard to swallow, but the after-effect is terrific.

75 ReelViews James Berardinelli
This is a thriller with a high quotient of comedic elements or, if you prefer, a comedy with a high quotient of thriller elements. As is always the case with a production of Joel & Ethan, it's difficult to classify, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.

75 Philadelphia Inquirer Steven Rea
A goofy screwball romp that affords a gaggle of A-listers the chance to hambone around in antic style.

75 Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert
The characters are zany, the plot coils upon itself with dizzy zeal, and the roles seem like a perfect fit for the actors -- yes, even Brad Pitt, as Chad, a gum-chewing, fuzzy-headed physical fitness instructor. I've always thought of him as a fine actor, but here he reveals a dimension that, shall I say, we haven't seen before.

75 Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sean Axmaker
One of the Coens' more playful projects, much lighter and significantly slighter than "No Country for Old Men" or "Fargo," but it's put together with such perfection that you can't help but be won over.

75 Rolling Stone Peter Travers
It would be no country for movie lovers without the Coens. They still manage to run unmuzzled while the rest of Hollywood runs scared.

75 The Onion (A.V. Club) Keith Phipps
This feels like a second-shelf Coen comedy, particularly when compared to their no-less-shaggy "The Big Lebowski."

75 USA Today Claudia Puig
It's consistently funny -- with witty dialogue and offbeat banter that stays in your head for days.

75 TV Guide Maitland McDonagh
The brothers' dark, all-star farce about sex, lies and surveillance is pretty damned funny.

75 Miami Herald Rene Rodriguez
Everyone in the movie is a buffoon or a dolt. No one is redeemable. The humor comes at the expense of the characters: You're always laughing at them, never with them. The Coens have never seemed this disdainful, this mocking, of their fellow man.

75 Charlotte Observer Lawrence Toppman
It's as pitiless and brutal as any of their pictures and funnier than any except "Raising Arizona."
75 San Francisco Chronicle Walter Addiego
Doesn't add up to much, but it's fast and funny and lets a bunch of top-drawer actors exercise their comic muscles.

70 Salon.com Andrew O'Hehir
Beneath its movie star clowning, its awful-but-relatable heroine and its lightweight gags, Burn After Reading poses an implicit challenge to its viewers: Can you figure out why this comedy isn't very funny? Could that be because its central proposition is that the people in the theater are just as stupid, just as gullible, just as eager to be deceived as the people on the screen?

70 Village Voice J. Hoberman
The Coens return to familiar territory with the parody thriller Burn After Reading, a characteristically supercilious and crisply shot clown show filled with cartoon perfs and predicated on extravagant stupidity.

70 The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt
Joel and Ethan Coen clearly are in a prankish mood, knocking out a minor piece of silliness with all the trappings of an A-list studio movie.

67 Austin Chronicle Josh Rosenblatt
Burn After Reading, the new film from the Coen Brothers, won't be mistaken for "Fargo" anytime soon. Or "Barton Fink," or "The Man Who Wasn' There." Those films were black comedy done to perfection.

63 The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Rick Groen
It's clear that Burn After Reading is a wannabe cult favourite -- some viewers may embrace it; many more will just want to burn after watching.

63 New York Post Kyle Smith
The film has enough funny lines and weird situations - some comedy business with a sex chair lovingly constructed by the Clooney character is the highlight - that it could age into a cult film like "The Big Lebowski."

63 Baltimore Sun Michael Sragow
The script is clever and would be brilliant if it worked.

50 Boston Globe Ty Burr
Shallow and proud of it, an antic cartoon that lacks the comic inspiration to go the distance.

50 Slate Dana Stevens
It's a clever setup for a spoof of the espionage thriller, but despite the film's intermittent pleasures (Pitt's gum-snapping dolt chief among them), the result is oddly airless.

50 Variety Todd McCarthy
Nothing about the project's execution inspires the feeling that this was ever intended as anything more than a lark, which would be fine if it were a good one. As it is, audience teeth-grinding sets in early and never lets up.

50 Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum
The movie is overplowed, even if Brad Pitt's debut as a Coen comedy player is eye-catching.

50 New York Magazine David Edelstein
Burn After Reading is untranscendent, a little tired, the first Coen brothers picture on autopilot. In the words of the CIA superior, it’s "no biggie."

50 The New York Times Manohla Dargis
The clubby, predictably self-amused comedy from Joel and Ethan Coen, has a tricky plot, visual style, er, to burn, but so little heart as to warrant a Jarvik 8.

50 Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips
Clooney remains as game as ever, but the way he and McDormand push the energy here, you feel the strain. Pitt, just floating through, comes off best. He doesn't judge the moron he's playing; he just is.

50 Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern
It's a cheerful trifle tossed off by the Coen brothers in their self-enchanted mode, an approach to comedy that shrugs off comedy's cardinal rule -- Don't Act Funny.

50 Washington Post Neely Tucker
Oh, the high-octane cast works hard. But there's nothing to suggest anybody off camera tried that hard, which is fatal to a Coen outing.

40 The New Yorker David Denby
Even Frances McDormand, the salt-of-the-earth actress who has warmed so many of the Coen brothers movies, falls into a queasy dead zone.

40 New York Daily News Joe Neumaier
Hopped up like a Bugs Bunny cartoon on mescaline and as chatty and uppity as a 5-year-old, Burn After Reading could be seen as the Coen brothers' need to let loose after the tightly wound "No Country for Old Men."

30 Time Richard Corliss
Either the Coens failed, or I didn't figure out what they're attempting. I must be like Harry or Osborne, pretending to a sophistication I lack. Burn After Reading is a movie about stupidity that left me feeling stupid.


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