A-Listers Can't Help The Counselor
Critics call it 'bleak,' 'pretentious,' and 'soulless'
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2013 11:42 AM CDT
This photo released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Cameron Diaz as Malkina in the film, "The Counselor."   (AP Photo/Copyright Twentieth Century Fox, Kerry Brown)

(Newser) – Despite big names like Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, and Penelope Cruz, Cormac McCathy's first shot at screenwriting isn't sitting well with critics, who've granted The Counselor a 34% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences don't seem impressed with the Ridley Scott flick either, though they're a bit more generous with a 58%. Read on to see what's irking reviewers:

  • "Considering the deep bench of A-list talent involved, Ridley Scott's new Southwestern noir, The Counselor, is a jaw-dropping misfire," writes Chris Nashawaty at Entertainment Weekly. "The dialogue is laughably pretentious, the plotting is virtually nonexistent, and the performances are so broad and cartoony that you keep wondering if it's all some sort of prank."
  • Kenneth Turan calls it "a bleak waste of A-list talent." "As cold, precise, and soulless as the diamonds that figure briefly in its plot, The Counselor is an extremely unpleasant piece of business," he writes for the Los Angeles Times.
  • For Bloomberg, Greg Evans and Craig Seligman write that McCarthy gives audiences "unrestrained indulgence" that "may be remembered only for Cameron Diaz’s amazingly limber depiction of car sex. ... Overwrought soliloquies about auto eroticism, snuff films, and mechanical strangulation devices do not a Hamlet make."
  • Standing pretty much on his own is Peter Howell at the Toronto Star. He writes, "Golden tongues and black hearts enliven The Counselor, an uncommonly erudite thriller built around the pulpiest of stories. ... One of the many pleasures of The Counselor is trying to figure out which of the characters is a rabbit and which is a cheetah."

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Oct 25, 2013 9:53 PM CDT
I think Cormac McCarthy is overrated. I find plot non-sequiturs all over his books & in the movie adaptations. For instance, No Country for Old Men, ok, what kind of deer hunter in West Texas doesn't bring at least a canteen full of water w/him out in the plains for when he's hiking around under the hot noonday sun? McCarthy had Llewellyn Moss walking down to the scene of the drug deal gone bad in the middle of the hot Texas day wearing his cowboy hat for shade where he finds the shot, dying Mexican truck driver who asks Moss for "Agua, agua", to which Moss tells him, "No agua". No agua Cormac? Really? Llewellyn is some sort of superman hunter then? He has no need to carry a canteen full of water with him hunting out on the Texas plains on a hot day? And then to have Llewellyn wait till the middle of that night to go back & bring the now dead Mexican truck driver water, yikes. In the real world, at the least Llewellyn would have had a gallon of water sitting in his truck which he could have walked back to, in order to bring the dying Mexican his final drink. But no, not even in the truck, McCarthy has him bringing the water jug back to the crime scene in the middle of the night, after he walked away with the drug gang's money earlier that day. There was similar stuff in "The Road", but the makers of that movie thankfully left a lot of the inconsistencies out. But it cracks me up Hollywood thought he'd be good to hand screenwriting chores to lol (#desperation! lol)
Oct 25, 2013 4:57 PM CDT
Hmm the preview told me nothing about the movie, which can be a blessing. Sometimes critics can get it wrong. I may be aging myself but the Towering Inferno is one of my favorite movies. And that had A-Listers and panned by critics at the time.
Oct 25, 2013 12:51 PM CDT
After reading the article - I am no longer interested in watching the movie.