Reviewing the Reviews: 'A Good Year'

94813__good_year_lOh, they’re not pretty, Russell. Crowe attempts to show his softer side as Max Skinner, a high-strung stockbroker who needs to chill, in this Ridley Scott-helmed postcard of Provence. Most critics, unfortunately, would like to return to sender.

Many blame the script, which The Washington Post‘s Ann Hornaday describes succinctly, if not predictably, as "Under the Tuscan Son of ‘Sideways.’" A few enjoy pointing out exactly which moment is the most painful: Time‘s Richard Corliss notes the "long, agonizingly unfunny scene that Skinner spends at the bottom of an empty swimming pool," while The Village Voice‘s Nathan Lee opts for "when a Jack Russell terrier named Tati pees on Max’s loafer." Don’t even think of asking The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt to choose between the two scenes, as he’s too busy gnashing his teeth over the movie’s plot holes.

All that said, I will still see this movie at some point. Though I do wonder if I’ll enjoy it as much as I did French Kiss. (And that is not sarcasm.)

addCredit(“A Good Year: Rico Torres”)

Comments (7 total) Add your comment
  • kinglouieXVIII

    I’m bummed out to hear this movie is getting such horrible reviews, I really wanted to see it. Phone throwing aside, Russell Crowe is one of the best contemporary actors today so I expect quality work from him. Director Ridley Scott is also superb. It was kinda strange hearing they had reteemed for a project like this. So, what went wrong?
    I think I’m still going to see it. What can I say? Around the holidays, I’m a sucker for a tearjerker.

  • JillyRo

    My local paper says Russell looked bloated for some reason in this film and that he’s just not convincing as a romantic/mushy sorta guy. I myself love Russell Crowe and he usually does not disapoint, so I will see this.
    Plus I like these type of fish-outta-water movies, mainly for the stunning European scenery and a view of life in a small European village. A recent little known film like this (available on DVD) is “Shadows of the Sun” with Joshua Jackson and Claire Forlani (billed “If you liked Under the Tuscan Sun”). Gorgeous movie/scenery and sweet story (and makes me wonder why Joshua Jackson is not in more movies!!).

  • Danielle

    I think a lot of reviewers are just disappointed because the film is the definition of a light, fluffy, feel-good movie. But I don’t know why those scenes were singled out as unfunny by the reviewers. During the preview screening, there was a lot of laughter (especially during the pool scene). In fact, the film played really well, and I loved it. Russell made the comedy seem effortless, the supporting players were great, and the scenery was breath taking.
    I’m bummed it’s getting such a bad response, because it’s a really enjoyable, funny, romantic little movie.

  • blah

    Ridley Scott wouldn’t know character development if it slapped him in the face. I don’t know what he’s thinking directing a movie with no action in it. Usually the action is the only thing covering up what he’s terrible at, which is making any kind of connection with the characters. As usual, I like the type of movie that Ridley Scott tends to direct, but I never think he does a good job with them.

  • susana

    I just can’t see Russell Crowe as a romantic lead. I would keep imagining him throwing something at me, or whacking my head off somehow.

  • Winn

    Please! Russell Crowe is an actor, and one of the best of his generation. He gave plenty of romantic, passionate performances earlier in his career, in films like Hammers Over the Anvil, The Sum of Us and even a sweet little film like Mystery Alaska, in which you could easily buy that Mary McCormack would accept life in a podunk Alaskan town if it meant being married to him. Romance, love and devotion are a big part of the appeal of his performances in LA Confidential, A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man. The film itself may not be stellar or particularly original, but many of the reviews I’ve read seem to concentrate less on the merits of the film and more on the implausibility of Russell Crowe “softening” up his image. I expect more out of film critics than to lose the ability to separate life off-screen from an actor’s performances.

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