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

(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."

This photo released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Cameron Diaz as Malkina in the film, The Counselor.
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)
This photo released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Brad Pitt, left, as Westray and Michael Fassbender as the Counselor, in the film, The Counselor.
This photo released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Brad Pitt, left, as Westray and Michael Fassbender as the Counselor, in the film, "The Counselor."   (AP Photo/Copyright Twentieth Century Fox, Kerry Brown)
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