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Criticwatch - A Little Something Something From The WB (and Pete Hammond, Again)
by Erik Childress

We have been hard on Warner Bros. this year. And why shouldn't we when the best movies they have released so far in 2011 have been Unknown and Hall Pass? You could take the collective percentages of The Rite, Red Riding Hood, Sucker Punch and Arthur at Rotten Tomatoes and they would just edge out this week's Thor by a measly 1%. Maybe that is why the studio entered into a deal this week to purchase Flixster, which owns the movie review aggregator. They can fill their film pages with all the quotes they get from their junket whores. Conspiracy theories aside, the studio can actually take a good hard look at the reviews for their latest certified rotten film, Something Borrowed. Tracking with a dismal 15% positive rating, this is precisely the sort of lesson they should be learning from. It is hard to blame them in leaning heavily about their whores with a film like this when you only have 11 written reviews positive enough to be counted. So we won't. But this is just a temporary mulligan so they can remember that the next time they put out even a mediocre motion picture, there are better options for them.

Just look at Summit's release of Jodie Foster's The Beaver this week. Reviews have hit the 70% mark at Rotten Tomatoes. More than 50 to choose from there and yet the studio is leading the audience to drink with a cavalcade of whores including Kevin Steincross and Tony Toscano. "A true masterpiece," says Shawn Edwards, the same guy who called Resident Evil: Apocalypse "an explosive masterpiece."

"Who in hell wants to see a Mel Gibson movie? The answer is: you do. Because Gibson gives a high-wire performance of the highest caliber. The Beaver, soulfully directed by Jodie Foster from a script by fearless first-time Kyle Killen, is operating on a plane far above multiplex formula. This heartfelt, often painfully funny movie has the power to sneak up and floor you." - Peter Travers

Do we need to do this again, Travers?

"...sneaks up and floors you." (Away We Go)
"...will sneak up and floor you." (Grace Is Gone)
"...a heartfelt human drama that sneaks up and floors you." (The Visitor)
"This spellbinder will sneak up and floor you." (The Secret In Their Eyes)
"This immersive marvel of a movie sneaks up and floors you." (The Fighter)
"It’s power sneaks up and floors you." (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas)

Then again, you can see part of the strategy on Summit's part by including a quote by none other than Chicago's Dean Richards, who infamously was called "an asshole" by Mel Gibson during a live television interview. Kudos, I suppose, to Mr. Richards for being able to put his differences aside to call The Beaver "remarkably compelling." Though the question still remains whether or not he should be allowed to review it at all just to ward off any conflicts of interest. But then you can't go "hell, even the guy Mel Gibson thinks is an asshole really liked the movie." Who in the hell wants to see a documentary about the backlash over George Lucas? Certainly not one of the talking heads featured in the film.

"Best film about geek culture I've ever seen!" (The People vs. George Lucas) - Chris Gore

Get the picture? It's a simple rule for critics. If you are too close to a project or have been given some super sweet special access to it, maybe take a step back and let someone else review it. There are plenty of us to pick up the slack. Just like there will be for The Hangover Part II, Green Lantern, Horrible Bosses, Crazy Stupid Love and the final Harry Potter film - to name a few of Warner Bros. titles this summer. Odds suggest that none of these films will hit below 20% on the Tomatometer like Red Riding Hood, The Rite and Something Borrowed have. And we shouldn't have to see names like this:

"Laugh-out-loud hilarious!" (Something Borrowed) - Maria Salas

"Hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny." (Rumor Has It)
"Perfectly hilarious!" (I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry)
"Hilarious, the perfect summer movie!" (Nacho Libre)
"Hot. Hilarious." (John Tucker Must Die)
"A must see. A laugh out loud hilarious comedy. Crazy." (Hall Pass)
"You can't miss this movie. Laugh-out-loud fun." (Red)
"Hilarious and irreverent. The laugh-out-loud comedy of the year!" (Due Date)

Three of those films ranked 25% or less and only Red registered fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. We also have Maria down for The Rite, the first of four Warner Bros. releases to go under 25% this year. Something Borrowed marks the seventh time the studio has used Miss Salas since 2010. Being used five times by the WB in that period is 2010 runner-up Whore of the Year, Joel Amos from website Apparently he shares the same taste as Salas also pimping Hall Pass and calling Due Date "the funniest film of the year." He also has a thing about perfection.

"Kate Hudson has never been better! The perfect date movie." (Something Borrowed) - Joel Amos

"The first great romantic comedy of 2010. Jennifer Lopez is pure perfection." (The Back-Up Plan)
"The perfect family summer comedy." (Marmaduke)
"The perfect summer movie." (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)

Yes, so perfect that the collective ratings of those four films add up to 85%. On a side note, moviegoers must instantly put up the red flag anytime they see the words "perfect date movie" (or some variation of) plastered on a movie's ads.

"Irresistible! The perfect date movie." (Fever Pitch) - Earl Dittman
"An instant date-night classic." (Dear John) - Earl Dittman
"The perfect date movie." (No Reservations) - Bonnie Laufer
"The perfect date movie." (Life As We Know It) - Bonnie Laufer-Krebs
"The best date movie of the season!" (He's Just Not That Into You) - Mark S. Allen
"The best date movie of the summer!" (Sex and the City) - Mark S. Allen
"…the perfect summer date movie." (Alex and Emma) - Mark S. Allen
"The perfect date movie." (Trust the Man) - Mark S. Allen
"The perfect date movie!" (Maid in Manhattan) - Mark S. Allen

"The best date movie of the year." (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) - Andy Taylor, Entertainers
"The most winning date movie of the year." (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) - Jeanne Wolf,
"The best date movie of the summer!" (Dedication) - Roger Friedman
"The date movie of the holiday season" (It's Complicated) - Pete Hammond
"The perfect date movie for the holidays." (P.S. I Love You) - Jim Ferguson
"A date-movie must." (She's Out Of My League) - Peter Travers
"The perfect date movie!" (Something New) - In Touch Weekly
"...the perfect date movie." (Letters To Juliet) - Maria Salas
"The perfect date movie" (Twilight) - Kevin Steincross
"The perfect date movie." (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) - Jeffrey K. Howard
"The perfect date movie." (Valentine's Day) - Toni Gonzalez (NBC-TV)
"The perfect date movie." (Valentine's Day) - Brandy Williams (TV Guide Network)
"The perfect date movie." (The Back-Up Plan) - Jami Philbrick
"The perfect date movie!" (Sweet Home Alabama) - Paul Starke (Pure Oxygen)
"A perfect date movie!" (The Hot Chick) - John Black (Boston Metro)

Also beware anyone who calls anything "the best romantic comedy of the year" in May like Andrew Freund of Any questions? Besides what WB is doing using a guy from MySpace? Then I've got one. Did we not just a week ago point out what an unbelievable, untrustworthy whore Pete Hammond is? He's like the last living Edsel salesman trying to sell to the Amish. It is bad enough that Warner Bros. decided to double-up (or quadruple up) with Manny De la Rosa saying that Something Borrowed is "Something good! Something fun! Something sweet! Something smart!" He is part of the new generation of whores that is just sad and pathetic. Hammond has been doing this for years and has made many a film look absolutely stupid as a result.

"Smart, sexy and funny. Something Borrowed is something terrific. The entire cast shines!" - Pete Hammond

Something something terrific. Amazing that a grown man not in advertising would come up with such a statement. Then again, Hammond has certainly made his case to be the next Gene Shalit.

"...will keep you on the edge of your seat." (Edge of Darkness)

"Mega-tons of fun. This super-powered summer movie adrenaline blast will have you leaping out of your seat. This time the Hulk really IS incredible." (The Incredible Hulk)

"The surprise movie comedy treat of the year!…This is the real deal!" (Lars and the Real Girl)

"Jumps waaaaaay over the top on the laugh meter!" (Over the Hedge)

"A fun, heart-racing adventure…Race To Witch Mountain has it all!" (Race To Witch Mountain)

"Super great in every way." (Superbad)

"Do yourself a favor and crash this 'Wedding'!" (Wedding Crashers)

"Magical. Madly inventive. Magnificent." (Alice In Wonderland) ("M" words, Mad Hatter, get it?)

"The year’s funniest comedy. Monstrous laughs!" (Monsters vs. Aliens)

"...monstrously funny and clever…." (Igor)

"One comedy will have you begging for more!" (Hotel for Dogs)

"A doggone hilarious treat!" (The Shaggy Dog)

"It's raining big food and big laughs." (Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs)

"...a nonstop laughing spree." (Confessions of a Shopaholic)

"It will crawl under your skin!" (Bug)

"A winning bet at the movies." (Even Money)

"This one hits the jackpot as a sleek and stylish caper flick even Sinatra himself would have loved." (Ocean’s Thirteen)

"The pitch-perfect performance by Michael Douglas is a hidden treasure." (King of California) (Michael Douglas plays a guy searching for a hidden treasure)

"A genuine treasure trove of fun and high adventure, loaded with state-of-the-art visual effects that will simply blow you away! As good as gold." (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)

"...pure hilarity, a gold medal comedy winner." (Blades of Glory)

"gets the gold medal for genuine heart and comic inspiration. Johnny Knoxville scores a whole lotta laughs!" (The Ringer) (set during the Special Olympics)

"Hilarious and heartwarming. Zac Efron shoots and scores!" (17 Again)

"The Longshots scores! A big winner for the whole family. Ice Cube is at the top of his game." (The Longshots)

"A comic touchdown for The Rock!" (The Game Plan)

"Nobel takes the prize." (Nobel Son)

"A total knockout! The real deal. Channing Tatum’s raw star power blasts through the screen." (Fighting)

"Hilarious! It’s a blast! The comic force is with Fanboys." (Fanboys)

"Fired Up is a total blast." (Fired Up)

"...burns up the screen…" (Lakeview Terrace) (set amongst the backdrop of California wildfires)

"It…just may kill you with laughs." (Death at a Funeral)

"It’s the…prescription for what ails you: loads of laughs!" (Charlie Bartlett) (title character plays a teenage shrink who hands out pills)

"...a landslide comedy winner." (Swing Vote)

"Loaded for fun. A trigger-happy, full-frontal assault." (Shoot ‘Em Up)

"Loaded with laughter - a great date movie! Definitely worth leaving home for!" (Failure To Launch) (Matthew McConaughey plays a middle-aged guy who still lives at home)

"Dives into the heart of a true hero." (The Guardian) (Ashton Kutcher plays a Navy diver)

"A non-stop action film that doesn’t come up for air." (Poseidon)

"The perfect summer joyride from start to finish line!" (Cars)

"Strap yourself in for a blistering, super-charged ride. This time around the fast and furious action is simply off the charts!" (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift)

"A hard driving adrenaline pumping blast that leaves everything else in its dust." (Fast Five)

"One terrifying trip. Fasten your seatbelts and hang onto your seats for a first-rate thriller." (Flightplan)

"Amelia simply soars." (Amelia) (Yeah, Amelia Earhart)

"Fly Me to the Moon soars, taking the 3D experience to brand new heights." (Fly Me To The Moon)

"Full of fun. With big out-of-this-world laughter." (Chicken Little) (Earth invaded by aliens)

"Huge laughs, spectacular special effects and the pure animal magnetism of Steve Carell make this the summer movie comedy event that proves to be every bit as much fun as it’s meant to be – times two!" (Evan Almighty) (Steve Carell becomes Noah and builds an ark)

"You’ll laugh your Heineken off!" (Beerfest)

We're not even sure if calling Sebastián Silva's The Maid "first class" even qualifies as a pun. But do you put it past Hammond. As we said, WB, we're giving you a pass on Something Borrowed, a film that even Peter Travers gave a half-star to and called a "vile dung heap of a movie." Maybe that's some half-hearted attempt at a pun for taking a deuce (aka borrowing it) but...just forget it. Point being that Warner Bros. has five big summer releases coming up. They can turn this trend around right now. You can use the junkets for the cushy interviews, but unless 3-out-of-4 at Rotten Tomatoes says it stinks, leave the written quotes for those of us who actually write them.

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originally posted: 05/07/11 11:49:43
last updated: 05/07/11 12:10:47
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