Reviews: 'Rotten' New Releases Won't Live to 'Die Another Day'
HOLLYWOOD (Box Office Mojo) - Pierce Brosnan takes his fourth turn as James Bond in the heavily hyped Die Another Day this weekend, which opens against the urban comedy Friday After Next and the inspirational Kevin Kline drama The Emperor's Club. These three releases are meant to satisfy a broad spectrum of movie appetites, but according to the nation's top critics any one of them will give you indigestion.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the Web site that tracks the nation's movie reviews and doles out the consensus in the form of a Tomatometer rating, all of the new releases failed to receive enough positive reviews to be deemed "Fresh."

Die Another Day has been better received by critics than the last Bond adventure, but not by much. Out of 117 reviews, only 68 are positive registering a "Rotten" 58% on the Tomatometer, which is determined by dividing the number of positive reviews by the total amount. To be considered "Fresh" a movie must register a Tomatometer reading of 60% or more.

The last Bond installment, The World Is Not Enough, also opened to decidedly mixed reviews with 50 out of 94 positive, registering a "Rotten" 53% rating.

The majority of critics found Die Another Day to be a step in the right direction. "The first Bond movie in ages that isn't fake fun," writes Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly. Rex Reed of the New York Observer calls the movie "the most thrilling, lavishly designed and imaginative Bond picture in years."

Some critics such as Claudia Puig of USA Today found the constant action a distraction to their overall enjoyment of the movie. She writes, "The film is so fraught with explosions and chases that the action eventually feels numbing."

Also gathering mixed reviews is The Emperor's Club, the consensus being that the sentimental drama has done little to distinguish itself from other movies in the genre. With 45 out of 89 reviews positive, it registers a "Rotten" 51% rating on the Tomatometer.

Harvey S. Karten of CompuServe describes the movie as "a well-acted, sincere antidote to the season's cynical, mindless and computer-aided films." In agreeance is Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle who hails it as "a substantial examination of character, morality and destiny."

Some other critics aren't as convinced. Rob Blackwelder of Splicedwire pans it as "a movie that seems motivated more by a desire to match mortarboards with Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting than by its own story."

Enough already. That seems to be the critical sentiment when it comes to the third installment in the Friday franchise. Friday After Next is all-out "Rotten" with only 15 out of 53 reviews positive, registering a pitiful 28% on the Tomatometer. It is however faring better than its predecessor Next Friday, which scored 20% with only 11 of 56 reviews positive.

Friday After Next is "Loud, chaotic and largely unfunny," says Ernest Hardy of L.A. Weekly. Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel agrees and writes, "To call this film a lump of coal would only be to flatter it."

On the flipside Ted Fry of the Seattle Times enjoyed the movie, saying that "Friday movies are a lot like an African-American version of Seinfeld; they're really about nothing. And if you can appreciate the cultural dislocation of their urban California milieu, same as Seinfeld, they can be funny as hell."