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Criticwatch - Toy Story: Time To Let The Adults Play
by Erik Childress

The story of Toy Story 3 this week is a story of three critics. Three junket critics and easy lays that should never be allowed to say anything about film. It is hard to find a critic that actually disliked the latest Pixar film. Unless you are a contrarian named Armond White or a website-hit seeking embargo breaker like Cole Smithey, the self-proclaimed "smartest critic in the world." Those two are untrustworthy as it is. But self-promoters comes in all shapes and slits. It's a wonder if their mouths run independently from their brains or if they just lip sync whatever the studio puts into them.

Criticwatch has been beating up on Pete Hammond a lot lately. The guy brings it on himself for being a predictable hyperbole-laced shill who does not think before he speaks. But we're speaking in generalities now. Let's get into specifics. Hammond called How To Train Your Dragon "the first great movie of 2010" when he had already been quoted on ten other films prior. He called Shrek Forever After "the funniest film of the year!" Now when he finally sees Toy Story 3 he says:

"Truly Awesome. Hilarious, heartwarming entertainment for all ages."

He likes using those words to appease Disney.

Awesome! Hilarious! More laughs, excitement and heart than any other comedy this year. The perfect holiday film. (Bolt)
A triumphant return to Narnia! It’s magical and fun. Perfect for all ages. (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)

Unlike Steep and X-Men: The Last Stand which were just "Awesome!", Toy Story 3 was clearly a step above for Hammond being "Truly Awesome" Just about the best reviewed film of the year gets the same description as Zac Efron's 17 Again which was also "Hilarious and heartwarming." 182 positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes and Lord knows how many more and Disney can't do better than Hammond?

Or what about Clay Smith and Scott Mantz? Smith was the Access Hollywood critic up until 2005 when he was replaced by Mantz. He was also the very first recipient of the Peter Travers whore of the year award. No longer a contributor for the Billy Bush show,Smith's numbers in the quote game dropped off sharply, registering only a single quote in 2008 and 2009 for Warner Bros. That trend was continuing in 2010 until Disney threw him a bone for this. Scott Mantz picked up where Smith left off and has been a casual earner in getting Access Hollywood's name out there. His personal best of 17 was back in 2007. Scottie has thrown down 8 quotes in 2010 this year, including four just this summer. It must have been bittersweet for the two to show up on the commercials together.

"The best movie of the year by far." - Clay Smith
"Disney-Pixar has done it again." - Scott Mantz

And doubly sweet to be joined in the newspaper ads as well.

"Sensational! Disney and Pixar have done it again." - Clay Smith
"A masterpiece. The best movie of the year, by far!" - Scott Mantz

Who-da, said-da, huh? Precisely who said what here? For a week the TV ads are saying one thing and then the newspapers say just the opposite for the next two. Are Smith and Mantz swingers? They like the swappin'? Could it have just been a mistake in the marketing department somewhere? Or is it just proof that guys like Smith and Mantz are so interchangable that it doesn't matter who says what, when they say it or who wrote it for them? Nah, how cynical, right? These guys are true originals. And I bet if we retraced their steps a little we could discover who really said what. Let's look at Scott Mantz first.

The best movie of the summer by far. (Ratatouille)
A masterpiece...the best Disney/Pixar film yet. (Up)

BAM! Solved. Mantz said it once. He was sure to say it again. Up yours, Clay Smith. You can't take what Mr. Mantz said and claim it for your own. Only he can repeat himself. OK, admittedly we haven't looked at your side of the case. Fair enough. Let's go back to 2003 and see what we can find from Clay.

As wonderful as the original. An absolute delight from beginning to end! (The Jungle Book 2)
Hilary Duff will steal your heart away! Pure fun from beginning to end! (The Lizzie McGuire Movie)
Visually stunning thrills, chills and non-stop laughter! Finding Nemo is the best family film of the year. (Finding Nemo)
Great Disney fun for the whole family. (Pirates for the Caribbean)
Fantastically Funny! Funny and irresistible! Freaky Friday is worth seeing any day of the week. Will have you laughing out loud! (Freaky Friday)
Pure Disney magic from beginning to end. One of the year’s best family films! (Brother Bear)

Another animated classic. If ever there was a summer movie for the whole family, this is it. Offers so many laughs and inside jokes that I recommend you go back to see it again just to make sure you didn’t miss anything the first time around. the real deal. Not only is it a worthy sequel but I think it is even better than its Oscar-winning predecessor. (Shrek 2)
Incredible! (The Incredibles)
Discover why this magical adventure is on the fast track to becoming an instant Christmas classic! (The Polar Express)

Hilarious...maybe the funniest animated movie ever made! (Madagascar)
Herbie is fully loaded with laughs and a whole lot of fun! Pure Disney entertainment. (Herbie: Fully Loaded)
A summer thrill ride you don't want to miss! Destined to become a family movie classic. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
The most entertaining family film you will see this summer! (Sky High)
The last fantastic family comedy of the summer! (Valiant)

Fantastic family fun! (The Shaggy Dog)
The best animated film of the year! Fast and funny…an instant classic on the fast track to the Oscar! (Cars)
The most thrilling, chilling, breathtaking ride you will take all summer! (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)

Soars with fantasy and imagination…This is what great family films are all about! Unlike anything you have ever seen before. (Bridge to Terabithia)
The best, most original comedy of the year. (Ratatouille)

Yeah, up yours TWICE Clay Smith. It's unbelievable that Disney or any studio would insist on using the same ol' morons on their junket scene. Is it just comfort food, Disney? Can you not see the inherent disvalue in continuing to attach these names to your marketing campaigns? Start inviting real critics. Real critics who write reviews, form thoughts and can give you some real special praise. This wasn't Marmaduke. You probably have 200 some reviews at the very least to choose from. Start using more people like Time Magazine's Richard Corliss who is mixed in there with the Mantzs, Smiths and Hammonds calling Toy Story 3 "an instant classic." Remember when you quoted him for Cars in 2006? Those were good times. He called, what is widely regarded as Pixar's weakest effort, "an instant classic." On second thought, never mind.

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originally posted: 06/26/10 00:56:01
last updated: 06/26/10 01:01:30
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