Critics’ Roundup – 3/2/12

Mike Krumboltz
Movie Talk

Good news -- we've survived February, the month when bad movies come out of the woodwork to steal your money and put you in foul moods. This weekend, the first of March, two wide releases hit the big screen, and they couldn't be more different. Here's what the critics think of "The Lorax" and "Project X."

'The Lorax'
Based on the classic tale from Dr. Seuss, "The Lorax" tells the story of the "grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world." Starring the vocal talents of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, and Taylor Swift, the animated flick is earning solid marks from the press.

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gives "The Lorax" a "B+" and calls it "still vibrant and touching." James Berardinelli of Reelviews gives the movie three out of four stars. "Solidly entertaining," he writes, though "not quite as good as 'Horton Hears a Who.'" The Hollywood Reporter's Michael Rechtshaffen says the movie "entertains while delivering its pro-environmental, anti-greed message."

If only everybody was as enchanted. A.O. Scott of the New York Times is anything but impressed. "The movie is a noisy, useless piece of junk, reverse-engineered into something resembling popular art in accordance with the reigning imperatives of marketing and brand extension," he writes. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune is a tad less harsh. It's "just another OK feature-length animated edition."

[Related: Weekend Picks: 'Dr. Seuss' The Lorax' & 'Project X']

'Project X'
Fans of the '80s may remember a Matthew Broderick movie of the same name. The similarities end with the title. This "Project X" is a teen comedy using "found footage" of an epic high school party.

Should you RSVP yes? Opinions are mixed, but most critics think you're better off flaking on this party. Sara Stewart of the New York Post writes that "Project X" is "a middle finger aimed at conventional moviemaking. Unfortunately, it's way lamer than the target of its beer-soaked ire." The USA Today's Claudia Puig gives it one star out of four and writes that it "would be every parent's worst nightmare if it weren't so inane."

The film does have its defenders, though. EW's Gleiberman gives it a "B," and says, "It ain't nothin' but a party." And Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times writes, "The 'Animal House' of the iPhone generation? Could be. Pretty enjoyable for parents, too."