If moviegoers were hoping thriller “Blackhat” and comedy “The Wedding Ringer” could be alternatives from all of the serious awards contenders that have been flooding theaters for the last two months, critics have some bad news. The two movies have been panned in the majority of reviews as stinkers.
The wide releases — one a Michael Mann hacker thriller from Universal and the other a Kevin Hart comedy from Sony — are currently tied on Rotten Tomatoes for an equally “rotten” 31 percent approval ratings from critics.
“Blackhat” follows Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) as an imprisoned hacker set free to square off against an even more dangerous cyber terrorist, while “The Wedding Ringer” stars Hart as a best man hired for a nerdy groomsman, played by Josh Gad, who is somehow cool enough to marry beautiful “Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco Sweeting, but not cool enough to have any friends.
TheWrap‘s Alonso Duralde described “Blackhat” as “one hacky hacker saga” and a “massive fiasco,” while writing that it’s comedic competition’s “occasional good ideas are ultimately drowned out by sloppy, contrived screenwriting.”
Needless to say, he didn’t like either very much, and neither do the majority of other critics that you may or may not want to advise before deciding against seeing more serious-minded cinematic attractions including “American Sniper” and “Still Alice.”
Below are some of the worst reviews critics had to offer for each.
“The Wedding Ringer”
The Globe and Mail critic Kiva Reardon:
“Love hurts, but Jeremy Garelick’s ‘The Wedding Ringer’ is truly painful. Part of the bromance-dramedy genre (where impending heterosexual nuptials are the means for two men to fall platonically for each other), this so-called comedy unfolds with embarrassing desperation and mind-numbing vulgarity.”
Slant critic Drew Hunt:
“It isn’t enough to say that ‘The Wedding Ringer’ is reminiscent of other films. This big, brash, occasionally clever, but mostly dumb comedy is so gallingly derivative that watching it feels like playing a game of basic-cable bingo.”
A.V. Club critic A.A. Dowd:
“Not since ‘Wild Hogs,’ perhaps, has a comedy so repeatedly insisted that there’s nothing funnier than the thought of two men touching each other. Over the next 100 minutes or so, there will be jokes about prison rape, about guys giving blowjobs for drug money, and about straight dudes dancing with other straight dudes, sometimes cheek to cheek. There will also be a loudly effeminate wedding planner who turns out to be “flaming up” to earn more business, and a montage of photos from various nuptials that will end, for extra amusing punctuation, with an image of kissing grooms. ‘The Wedding Ringer’ has so many gay jokes that some of them apparently didn’t even make the final cut.”
ComingSoon.net critic Edward Douglas:
“Hard as it tries, ‘The Wedding Ringer’ is spectacularly unfunny, proving that you can’t just throw Kevin Hart in a half-assed high-concept comedy and expect it to deliver on the laughs. Then again, we should have learned that lesson after ‘Grudge Match,’ which is a better movie than this.”
New York Post critic Sara Stewart:
“Hart is such a skilled comic — his lightning-fast riffs are almost always funny, even when they’re in the midst of hateful dreck like this — that I can’t believe he can’t talk his way into better material. Forget weddings. This guy needs an Agent Ringer.”
Las Vegas Weekly critic Josh Bell:
“There are certain wordless sequences—brutal fights, sensual love scenes, complex computational maneuvers—that make a strong visceral impact, but they don’t connect to form a cohesive narrative. The movie might have been better if nobody said a word, since the performances are consistently unimpressive.”
Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips:
“‘Blackhat’ is a thickly plotted disappointment, yet it has three or four big sequences proving that director Michael Mann, who gave us ‘Thief,’ ‘Heat,’ ‘Collateral’ and others, has lost none of his instincts for how to choreograph, photograph and edit screen violence.”
Guardian critic Jordan Hoffman:
“The unsavoury aesthetics aside, there’s the sheer stupidity of the story. ‘Blackhat’ can’t decide if it is a grim, realistic story from the trenches or cyberwarfare or a giddy, ‘who cares if that makes sense?’ Bond film. The frequent flip-flops are aggravating, as is the apparent mandate that every actor on set must deliver their lines as if they were the most bored people on planet Earth. There is one instant, one fraction of a second, in which Viola Davis is allowed to let a tiny bit of humanity sneak into her performance. This slurp of oxygen may do more damage than good, as it serves to reinforce the lifelessness of her co-stars.”
About.com critic James Rocchi:
“The absolute worst thing about Michael Mann‘s ‘Blackhat’ is how utterly unlike his other work it feels, forsaking all of the themes and concerns that have made him interesting in his career for the bland broad canvas of the modern globalized blockbuster; it’s as if some conglomerate of agents and execs and international moneymen changed the programming and language of Michael Mann with the hope that he might be Michael Bay.”
IGN critic Jim Vejvoda:
“Ultimately, most of Blackhat’s problems are on paper. All of its characters are ciphers. I’ve seen LinkedIn profiles with more dimension. Indeed, Mann and screenwriter Morgan Davis Foehl seem more interested in people who are job descriptions or titles rather than human beings. These are functionaries not characters.”