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Criticwatch - Pete Hammond Forever After: The Next Chapter

by Erik Childress

When Pete Hammond calls something "the funniest film of the year" you really should not listen. Your first clue that he's full of crap would be that his mouth is moving. Then you might notice that something is controlling the guy. And it sure as hell is not a brain. No it is actually whatever is pulling the strings that animate the guy's mouth. Assuming of course that it is not a ventriloquist act being pulled by whatever studio he is shilling for at that moment. No, unlike many of the quote whores out there Hammond actually does write reviews. Not very well, but reviews nevertheless. Which means the hand up his ass controlling the moron behind the curtain is his own. And with an asshole that big he can certainly fit his head up there too. Because only someone in that position could call Shrek Forever After the funniest film of the year.

Studios tend to believe that putting film critics in a room full of free ticket recipients from the general public will put us in the same frame of mind or, at least, soften us up to think "well if they are laughing, maybe I should be too." Not that I enjoy quoting Rex Reed but I am often reminded of his interview at the beginning of Albert Brooks' Lost In America when he says "if it's really funny, I'll laugh." If Rex Reed doesn't need a cue then neither do any of the free-thinking, brain-powered critics out there. Just because I sat in a room partially full of them during a deadly silent screening of The Hangover last year does not mean any of us would laugh when seeing it with a crowd. OK, there was one but we prefer jabbing him in person for that.

Nevertheless we were all present for a mid-afternoon screening of Shrek: The Final Chapter or Dragons or whatever the hell Dreamworks/Paramount is calling it and to say that even the little kids surrounding us were straining to chuckle is an understatement. I'm sure they enjoyed it more than us who had grown tired of the decline in the series' writing, but you might be hard-pressed to find someone even under the age of ten who would describe the film as hilarious let alone the funniest film of the year.

Thus, we must go back into the Hammond archives to see his trail of shit that led him to declare 2010's funniest just five months into the year. Why just three months into 2009 he said the following about Monsters vs. Aliens:

"The year's funniest comedy. Monstrous laughs!"

About two months later he was declaring Up as:

"The funniest movie of the summer."

OK, so everyone loves Up and Pixar. Hard to fault him about that.

"Chasing a dream has never been this much fun. Disney Pixar's funniest movie ever!" (Ratatouille)

So he's not one to wait for the next funniest movie of all time to come down the pike. He is going to share his enthusiasm with you right now! At a panel I moderated at this year's South by Southwest entitled "Hyperbole In Film Criticism" we played a little round of Match Game where I would read off a quote and within ten seconds each panelist would have to provide the name of a film that they believed best represented that quote. We can play right now. We'll just do it backwards as I ask you to name the funniest films from the careers of Ben Stiller and Woody Allen. 10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1...

Did you say There's Something About Mary, Meet the Parents, Sleeper or Love and Death? Well here is how Mr. Hammond would have answered:

"Woody Allen is back in style with his funniest movie in many years." (Scoop)

"Ben Stiller's funniest film." (The Heartbreak Kid)

Wait a moment though. We are getting word that Pete Hammond has actually changed his quote. No, not the part from his review that actually adds an "at least so far" to his " it can be said Shrek is without question the funniest film of the year" quote. Nope, the new ads state that Pete Hammond says that Shrek Forever After is...wait for it:

"The best comedy of the year!"

That line, most definitely, is not part of his review. Anyone remember what he said last summer about The Proposal?

"The Proposal is without question the year's best comedy."

Yep, that is the same guy who said that September's Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs was "the most purely entertaining and inventive animated comedy of the year" after May's Up was "the funniest comedy of the summer" and March's Monsters vs. Aliens was "the year's funniest comedy."

Beating on Hammond has become old hat for Criticwatch. Because he just makes it so damn easy. We often wonder if anyone is paying attention. The studio marketers don't seem to cause they keep using this jackass to pimp their product when there are hundreds of other critics more legitimate than him. You can find many of them on Rotten Tomatoes. Just like the commenters who, thankfully, do seem to have taken notice to Hammond's whoredom. And we would like to salute some of them now who instantly took to taking shots at his early bird review of Shrek The Fourth (16 days before its theatrical release - it played the Tribeca Film Festival). Let it be heard loud and clear people.

"If people trusted all of your reviews I'm sure they would all be out of house and home. 95% of the reviews you give are fresh." - fresh f.

"Destined to be on a commercial again. Well played, Hammond. You dope." - Coastermonkey61

"This guy makes Armond White look reputable by comparison." - nathanpoitras

"Obvious shill or obviousest shill? Hammond and White should do a Siskel & Ebert type show. It would be one thumb up and one thumb down every time." - Otto v.


"this guy must be high" - Jon

"wow.... he cut the two obvious quote whore plants from this summary. guess this movie is no longer "A Shrek of a good time"." - Matthew R.

"I was going to see it anyway (with justified suspicion), but this review really didn't tell me anything that I couldn't have already known about the film by looking at trailers for it. It seems more like a press release than anything." - 0dd1

"It's one of those cheese sayings that get put on horrible movies DVD cases." - Omega R.

"Yeah. Definitely expect "The funniest film of the year!" to be in the advertisements." - Sarah H.

"He probably thought "If i say it's the funniest film of the year, then maybe they will quote me on the poster" Nuff said." - yellowhead

"Funniest film of the year...If you're 9 years old." - jaysix

"This guy is an employee of NATO. That means it is his job to be a cheerleader for the films the studios make. He is not a real reviewer just a guy paid to champion films." - Darkplaces

"are you some kind of gay?" - Jesse D.

"I take it Boxoffice Magazine hires ten year olds to write (their) reviews." - Drake B.

"Pete Hammond might not be as overzealous in this review as people are saying he is. There haven't exactly been a plethora of good comedies so far. Actually, who am I kidding? He's always trying to land on promotional material." - E-Hook

Keep the comments coming. We can see 20 of them already on Hammond's review of Prince of Persia, posted 17 days prior to its release. Naturally, the review is positive and we can probably expect him to grace a summer movie ad for the third week in a row after Robin Hood and Shrek: a.k.a. Pete Hammond.

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originally posted: 05/24/10 16:01:12
last updated: 05/24/10 16:08:30
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