(2004)

Critic Reviews

44

Metascore

Based on 11 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
70
The New York Times
Sloppy but smart-enough-to-make-you-squirm comedy.
60
Variety
While Second Best is mildly engaging thanks largely to an appealingly self-effacing turn from Joe Pantoliano, writer-director Eric Weber's script could have used an extra polish or two.
60
The Hollywood Reporter
Pantoliano brings his usual degree of wily, understated humor to his role and is ably supported by the terrific ensemble, but he's unable to elevate a film that is ultimately as directionless as its protagonist.
60
Two things make this worthwhile: The realistic relationship between Elliot and Richard, and Pantoliano playing against type and actually humanizing a possibly loathsome character.
50
The strongest scenes are those between Elliot and Richard, which give Second Best a verisimilitude lacking in the rest of the film. The truest thing here is that these two guys have been friends forever and always will be.
50
Entertainment Weekly
Second Best might have made a good stage monologue, but as a film it's overstated and barely baked.
50
New York Daily News
A guy flick, but I can't imagine many male viewers actually identifying with Elliot or his friends. The depression would be unbearable.
40
Weber's losers really are losers -- envious, spiteful, complacent, mean-spirited and ultimately boring malcontents pickled in their own poison, and they drag his film down with them.
40
It tries too hard for sincerity, when it's actually more sincere when cynical. Filmed in 17 days with hand-held cameras that give it a home-movie feel, the movie takes blue-collar pride in its own hopelessness.
25
New York Post
If it weren't for "Sideways," Second Best probably wouldn't have been released at all, but the earlier film made you root for a hapless schmo. This one doesn't, mainly because its protagonist is so obnoxious.

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