Rush Hour 2 (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Classic lowbrow movie, loved by pretty much everybody but the critics. 

It is rated a near-classic 7.2 at IMDb, consistently high across all demographic groups, and was immensely popular at the box office. It was among the top three films at the box office for the entire month of August. Three full months after it opened, it was still showing on 2100 screens (a signal of great word-of-mouth in the face of critical pans), and it finished with $226 million domestic gross on a budget of $90 million. It was the number #2 movie of the year before Harry Potter opened.


What does this mean exactly?   


  1. Critics feel that their job is to tell you what they like, not to give you the information necessary to determine whether you will like it. They didn't like it, and they don't consider your potential enjoyment of the film to be germane to their reviewing process.
  2. Many critics (and the academy) have no concept of what constitutes a good comedy. As I have written many times, they seem to think that humor is irrelevant to comedy. How many Oscars were awarded to Duck Soup and Blazing Saddles and Groundhog Day and South Park? Critics and the academy think a great example of a hilarious movie is Chocolat, or maybe The Gods Must Be Crazy.
  3. In general, critics have no idea of what is necessary to make a movie that people will actually want to watch, and don't consider that information relevant to their job.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • Full-length director commentary

  • many, many extra short features in Infinifilm format, plus deleted footage and outtakes. Great coverage.

It sure leads you to ask why critics exist. I mean, don't you read the newspaper reviews to help you choose what you want to see? It's obvious that almost everyone wanted to see Rush Hour 2, and the continuing popularity of the film tells you that people liked it and told their friends to go see it. That seems to be reinforced by the high IMDb score. Yet virtually no major critic was able was explain or predict why this movie would be adored across the board by people of both sexes and in all age groups. If movie critics were sportswriters, they would all bet on the Detroit Lions.

"OK, Scoop, so if you're so frigging smart, why does everybody love this movie (except those paid to review it)?"

Sorry, I have no idea. 

I thought the film had a few laughs. Tucker was funny up to a point, but sometimes wandered far beyond that point and became grating. It was an OK entertainment movie in the silly suspension-of-belief genre (obviously, Tucker doesn't try to behave like a real cop), but I sure didn't smell $226 million coming, and I had no idea it would have such universal appeal.

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.2, Apollo 74/100 
  • With their dollars ... it was a monster domestic hit - $226 million
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C or  C+, I guess. Massively popular lowbrow buddy comedy. 

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