Critic Reviews

63

Metascore

Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
That's the paradox that makes this parade of folly so much fun: it feels as if everyone involved is having a high old time, and their enthusiasm is contagious.
75
This is a thriller with a high quotient of comedic elements or, if you prefer, a comedy with a high quotient of thriller elements. As is always the case with a production of Joel & Ethan, it's difficult to classify, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.
70
Joel and Ethan Coen clearly are in a prankish mood, knocking out a minor piece of silliness with all the trappings of an A-list studio movie.
70
Village Voice
The Coens return to familiar territory with the parody thriller Burn After Reading, a characteristically supercilious and crisply shot clown show filled with cartoon perfs and predicated on extravagant stupidity.
67
Burn After Reading, the new film from the Coen Brothers, won't be mistaken for "Fargo" anytime soon. Or "Barton Fink," or "The Man Who Wasn' There." Those films were black comedy done to perfection.
50
Variety
Nothing about the project's execution inspires the feeling that this was ever intended as anything more than a lark, which would be fine if it were a good one. As it is, audience teeth-grinding sets in early and never lets up.
50
Burn After Reading is untranscendent, a little tired, the first Coen brothers picture on autopilot. In the words of the CIA superior, it’s "no biggie."
50
The movie is overplowed, even if Brad Pitt's debut as a Coen comedy player is eye-catching.
40
Even Frances McDormand, the salt-of-the-earth actress who has warmed so many of the Coen brothers movies, falls into a queasy dead zone.
30
Either the Coens failed, or I didn't figure out what they're attempting. I must be like Harry or Osborne, pretending to a sophistication I lack. Burn After Reading is a movie about stupidity that left me feeling stupid.

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