I know that A.O. Scott's review of Shoot 'Em Up is meant to make me decide that I don't want to go see it. He calls it "witless, soulless, heartless" and "a worthless piece of garbage". Fine. I pretty much knew this was going to be a completely absurd and misguided movie just by the poster featuring Paul Giamatti (?!) menacingly holding a machine gun that's almost as big as he is.
But the photo attached to the article? Hm! Why is Clive Owen pulling that trigger with a carrot?
Then A.O. Scott goes and writes things like this:
Ms. Bellucci plays Donna Quintano, a lactating prostitute.
That task is no easier now that the movie has been made, though "made" (to say nothing of "movie") is perhaps too generous a word for this slapdash assembly of hectic, poorly shot action sequences, lame catchphrases (tell me Mr. Owen didn’t say, "What's up, Doc?"), sadistic gags and heavy-metal tunes. The body count is astronomical as Mr. Owen shoots 'em up while rappelling down a stairwell, driving a BMW and feigning intercourse with Ms. Bellucci. (Not all at once, by the way. Now that would be cool.) Also, he drives a carrot through the back of one man's head and uses another one to put out an eye.
Yeah, I know, what are Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, and Monica Bellucci doing in schlock like this, etc. Still, this negative review makes it sound so weird and fun that if the opportunity to sneak in to this movie presented itself, I wouldn't say no.
UPDATE: Sourpuss A.O. Scott missed the boat on this one. I saw Shoot 'Em Up, and it's one of the weirdest, most ridiculous movies I've ever seen. It's a riot. (It's also probably a good idea to have a drink or two before you watch it.) The audience at the AMC went nuts for it. If the movie didn't have such great actors in it, it probably would have felt smarmy and irritating, but these actors know how to take radically over-the-top material and make you feel like you're all in on the same joke.
Roger Ebert got the joke too: his review is really good. He recognizes how nuts this movie is, but he happily goes along for the ride: "Shoot 'Em Up is the most audacious, implausible, cheerfully offensive, hyperactive action picture I've seen since, oh, Sin City, which in comparison was a chamber drama. That I liked Shoot 'em Up is a consequence of a critical quirk I sometimes notice: I may disapprove of a movie for going too far, and yet have a sneaky regard for a movie that goes much, much farther than merely too far."