We tend to think of New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott as a pretty funny guy — he does, after all, totally love The Simpsons — but his review today of Shoot 'Em Up, Clearly the Greatest Action Movie Ever Made, reads like it was written by our cranky grandfather. He comes off as such a scold!
I’m happy to affirm my general devotion to the whole Bill of Rights, in particular the First Amendment, which protects Michael Davis’s right to make this movie, New Line Cinema’s right to market it and, best of all, my right to tell you what a worthless piece of garbage it is.
Scott's screed is one of those rare complete pans that makes us want to see the movie in question more. Every moment Scott cites as being moronic — that Monica Belluci plays a lactating prostitute; that Clive Owen kills a guy with a carrot and says "What's up, Doc?"; that the baby Owen spends the movie protecting is in danger because the bad guys want his bone marrow — strikes us as totally hilarious. It's enough to make one think that Scott doesn't get that the movie's supposed to be funny, although in his online video review he says he knows this but simply didn't think the movie worked at all.
A.O. Scott, you're usually a pretty swell critic, but this time you clearly dropped the ball. When the critic whose opinion most closely mirrors yours is Stephen Hunter, you know you're in trouble.