Is ‘Burn After Reading’ a Good Stupid Coen Brothers Comedy? Or a Bad Stupid Coen Brothers Comedy?

Photo: Courtesy of Focus Features

Because the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading is the follow-up to No Country for Old Men, pretty much everyone has high hopes that it's a goofball comedy like their good one, The Big Lebowski, instead of a goofball comedy like their two subsequent crappy ones (The Lady Killers and Intolerable Cruelty). Is it? No one can agree! "Those who relish this movie might treat it as the second coming of The Big Lebowski," says The Hollywood Reporter, who liked it. "Nothing about the project's execution inspires the feeling that this was ever intended as anything more than a lark, which would be fine if it were a good one," says Variety, who didn't. The Guardian loved it and says the Coen film it most resembles is Intolerable Cruelty.

We seem to remember critics being similarly unsure what to make of Lebowski as the follow-up to Fargo, so we're still inclined think Reading is gonna be awesome. If it turns out terrible, though, we suppose we've been warned.

A tightly wound triumph [Guardian]
Burn After Reading [Variety]
The Coen brothers are in a goofy mood as pure lunacy engulfs a spy thriller [HR]