Last week's announcement of the Academy Award nominations brought several Best Picture nominees back to theaters, with the three that Christian critics liked least bringing in the most business. The box office also picked up this President's Day weekend with a quartet of new releases, even though critics panned them all as mediocre offerings.
The Whole Nine Yards ($16.1 million)
Bruce Willis plays a hitman who, on the run from mobsters he testified against, moves in next door to a straight-laced dentist (Matthew Perry). The odd-couple story drew praise from Christian critics for Perry's acting and for his good-guy persona. Perry "recalls the best comedic performances in screwball comedies from Hollywood's Golden Age," according to Movieguide.
Movie Parables was impressed with the dentist's nobility of character: "The Whole Nine Yards retains a certain degree of sweetness because at the center of it all is a genuinely nice guy who is motivated not by greed, not by vengeance, but by love." But even those who found him charming weren't impressed with the film as a whole.
The Movie Reporter acknowledges that the filmmakers "try to make [Perry] the innocent in all of this, but even he commits adultery. … The overall message is one of unfaithfulness, deceit, and murder."
The U.S. Catholic Conference also criticized it for being "off-putting in its breezy treatment of crime." And although the movie has some "ingenious one-liners" ( Childcare Action), critics felt the humor was mediocre overall and only "provides short-term amusement" (John Evans of Preview).
Hanging Up ($16.1 million)
Tying for the number one slot this weekend was Hanging Up, the story of a middle child (Meg Ryan) who takes on the burden of caring for her senile father ...1
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