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Overall Rating
3.19

Awesome: 11.54%
Worth A Look35.9%
Average: 20.51%
Pretty Bad: 24.36%
Total Crap: 7.69%

6 reviews, 42 user ratings


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Majestic, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"Imagine drowning in pancake syrup."
2 stars

Apparently desperate to shed himself of the title Stephen King Adaptation King, Frank Darabont has now turned his sights on a movie so trite and precious that it seems more like a live-action Norman Rockwell painting than anything else. If I had to choose between the jailhouse mysticism of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile or the syrupy sweet machinations of The Majestic, Id gladly spend time in prison with Darabonts earlier (and infinitely more entertaining) films.

Imagine a movie based on a Hallmark Card and youll have a good idea of what sitting through The Majestic feels like. Movies like this one remind you that in order for there to be good drama, there has to be some form of CONFLICT. Everyone walking around smiling all day and being painfully nice to one another is not a movie. Its a cult. I will admit that there is indeed an antagonist hidden somewhere in this sugar-coated marshmallow of a movie, but the villain is so clichd and his presence handled so laboriously that it seems like footage from another (also ridiculously familiar) film.

Its 1951 Hollywood, and young screenwriter Peter Appleton is suddenly not having a good day. Proud of his latest B-movie adventure epic, Sand Pirates of the Sahara, and ready to negotiate a new contract with his studio, Appleton is ready to start living out his dreams. His bliss is understandably shattered when he is falsely accused of being a communist. Anyone even remotely familiar with The Red Scare and the Hollywood blacklist knows what this means for Peter; his career is essentially demolished.

After unwisely trying to drink away his sorrows, Appleton takes to the California highways to clear his head. A narrow bridge and a sudden rainstorm conspire to finish what Senator McCarthy has started, and Peter is promptly tossed into the sea. When he awakens in the picture-perfect town of Lawson, Peter is suffering from a malady as old as the sitcom itself: Amnesia. The townsfolk of Lawson immediately mistake Peter for Luke Trimble, a young man thought dead for the past 9 years, and since Peter is conveniently suffering from amnesia, he assumes theyre correct.

Thus begins a series of overblown and push-button sequences that will not so much challenge moviegoers as it will promote tooth decay. Peter/Luke receives about four separate Welcome Home parties, the colorful townsfolk fall out of the woodwork to pat his back and wipe away a tear, the high-school sweetheart pops up (curiously unattached), the crippled short-order cook leers at Luke suspiciously, and one sad old man leeches on to the inadvertent impostor, convinced that his son has finally come home from the war. The townspeople gleefully join the old man in rebuilding his legendary movie theater, logically called "The Majestic". (If the Majestic Theater had any actual bearing on the plot, I must have missed it in between all the misty-eyed hugs and hoary deathbed sequences.)

The scenes described in the paragraph above comprise about 110 minutes of screen time. Three quick snippets of the commie-hunters at work are plopped in (seemingly at random) to remind the viewer that Peters accidental ruse is eventually going to end badly. The Majestic somehow manages to travel from cornball Capra wanna-be to overbaked courtroom grandstand without missing one single clich, and the less said about Mark Ishams ever-present insert emotion here musical score, the better.

Firmly entrenched in his desperate quest for an Academy Award nomination, Jim Carrey offers a surprisingly one-dimensional performance. His character(s) is given shockingly little to do, aside from look around inquisitively and stare google-eyed at the sky, to say nothing of his ridiculously maudlin and out-of-place courtroom scenes. (Yeah, the blacklists and McCarthyism were really awful. Tell me something new, and put it in a movie where it actually fits.) From the showcase of stellar character actors included, only Bob Balaban and David Ogden Stiers manage to distinguish themselves, while actors like Martin Landau and Hal Holbrook are saddled with sadly one-note roles. As the blonde love interest, Laurie Holden is certainly blonde enough.

A few moments of unintentional self-parody seep into The Majestic, as several unseen movie execs are overheard devising a depressingly formulaic movie from Appletons script. As we hear the voices of Garry Marshall and Rob Reiner bantering over pointless plot devices and mindless character concepts, its easy to think theyre discussing The Majestic itself. The easiest way to describe the ham-handed manipulation so prevalent in The Majestic would be to describe it as a Robin Williams movie and just leave it at that. That this lightweight movie has the audacity to run on for almost 150 minutes is a testament to its own misplaced self-importance.

For those who think TV movies and Lifetime Channel specials are a bit too edgy for their tastes, The Majestic is just the thing. Its like a puppy that so desperately wants to be embraced, but every time you pick it up it just wont stop licking your face. Constant face-licking can be very irritating.

While its not one of the worst movies of the year, The Majestic certainly ranks among the most disappointing. Given the impressive (and usually reliable) skills of Jim Carrey and Frank Darabont, we should expect more than this shallow, painfully nostalgic and strangely schizophrenic piece of cinematic treacle.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1874&reviewer=128
originally posted: 12/22/01 06:35:26
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User Comments

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7/27/14 PAUL SHORTT PONDEROUS, UNEVEN AND CLICHE-RIDDEN 1 stars
5/07/13 Charles Tatum Good stuff desperately needed to be edited down. 4 stars
9/05/11 RLan An enjoyable movie. One of Jim Carrey's better performances. 4 stars
8/14/10 robin lupinacci My dad was a decorated WWII vet, this film reached me in it's reminder of sucn values 5 stars
7/02/09 cindy Love this movie, one of Jim Carrey's best. 5 stars
12/26/05 Ben Knapton one of the most boring films ever made. 1 stars
8/08/05 Bad Critic A good film, but its running time could have been cut down a bit. 4 stars
1/04/05 HL Jim Carrey is Very Good...Story Contrived...Worth Seeing Though. 4 stars
7/06/04 R.W. Welch Overly slushy, but manages to hold your attention. 3 stars
3/04/04 daimon Pretty good 4 stars
2/01/04 Dean Carrey's best role. 4 stars
5/30/03 soliddrummer cheezy, rediculous, overly idealistic garbage. for some reason I liked it. 2 stars
4/13/03 Jack Sommersby Not as I'd feared: it's actually interesting and inolving -- to a point, though. 3 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon I couldn't believe this movie thought I would buy its message. Jeez Loueez! 2 stars
3/09/03 Hannah This is the stupidest movie I've ever seen. 1 stars
1/06/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng A wonderful story. Jim Carrey was great! 4 stars
1/05/03 WestcoastPunk Why does Carrey always get screwed in his movies. Once again a great performance 5 stars
11/26/02 Monster W. Kung Jake, you must be a retarded redneck fucking idiot or something. 1 stars
9/24/02 Jake Should of been nominated for Best Film instead of that Lord of the Rings rubbish 5 stars
9/04/02 Joe Zappa How can you not like this movie. Darabont & Rubberface are gods. Best courtroom scene ever! 5 stars
8/23/02 Danielle Ophelia Oy. I've digested less sugar in an entire family-size bag of Jolly Ranchers. 3 stars
8/19/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) Another "Miracle Movie" from the true God Among Directors Frank Darabont!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/07/02 Kent Jim Carrey imitating Jimmy Stewart. The story was very predictable and got to be real dumb. 2 stars
7/10/02 Kevin I think Carrey is a very good dramatic actor... A very welcome feel good movie 5 stars
6/24/02 Del Didn't like the ending, but the ride was nice 4 stars
3/15/02 the movie moose critically shamed but excellent film 5 stars
2/28/02 Tiffany Thunderhurst Comic genius Jim C. still wanting to be serious actor; scores higher than usual this try. 4 stars
2/26/02 ownerofdajoint whatahugedisappointmentcouldntbelievehowtotallylamewantedarefunda 1 stars
2/07/02 Butterbean Carrey should go back to talking out of his asscheeks and stop trying to win an oscar nod. 2 stars
2/01/02 E-Funk Cute and cheesy...I think a lot of people missed the idea of a film emulating old Hollywood 4 stars
1/01/02 Greyjack Yay, a movie w/scenes about how great movies are. Still, it's not awful, I guess. 3 stars
12/31/01 poetchuck Heartwarming - good performance from Carey 4 stars
12/29/01 RazorDog So sugar coated I have 4 new cavities. 4 stars
12/25/01 daniboy agree COMPLETELY with A. Hershey. I had so high expectations for this one... 2 stars
12/25/01 A. HERSHEY This Film was VERY disapointing 2 stars
12/24/01 ajay Filled with so much cheese I was ready to puke. 1 stars
12/23/01 JL It's not a complete waste of ur time...a lot of great historical stuff if anything 4 stars
12/22/01 spaceworm USA TODAY: Slap, then dismiss, that bitch Claudia Puig. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Dec-2001 (PG)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-May-2002




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