Olaf is a threat to the children, one who just won't go away; Carrey's biggest threat is that he'll never stop clowning around.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
A Series of Unfortunate Events suffers from one of the most grievous maladies that can strike a children's film, notably a regrettable tendency to fill in all the quiet with noise.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Though the movie is a literate adventure story, the series' dark tone is lightened up in the film just enough to make one yearn for the darkly twisted witticisms and pervasive anxiety that made Handler's books uniquely appealing.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
The visuals are dark and ominous without getting totally terrifying -- the characters feel real, but their environment is off-kilter enough to remind you that this world is one of imagination.
Jennifer Frey - Washington Post
I daresay most viewers will enjoy themselves. I already look forward to the next one.
Desson Thomson - Washington Post
The movie, like the books, flatters children's innate sense that the world is not a perfect place and that anyone who insists otherwise is trying to sell you something.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Against all odds it delights, using a compact script (by Robert Gordon), creative storytelling and the ripe comedic talents of a prodigious cast to transform written word into a near-perfect cinematic entity.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
The imaginatively cast, gorgeously designed movie has moments of wry wit and oddball charm. But its lumpish plot reinforces the suspicion that solid storytelling is no longer a Hollywood priority.
Philip Wuntch - Dallas Morning News
The movie is crammed with Tim Burton-style desolation, foreboding and technological anachronism.
Michael Booth - Denver Post
I think this one is a tune-up for the series, a trial run in which they figure out what works and what needs to be tweaked.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Exceptionally clever, hilariously gloomy and bitingly subversive.
Robert K. Elder - Chicago Tribune
Episodic but entertaining.
Hank Sartin - Chicago Reader
No praise is too high for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who leeches the color out of Rick Heinrichs' spectacular sets so that the film looks like a lost masterpiece of German expressionism or a cherished nightmare of Tim Burton.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Helping mitigate the fear factor is the movie's smart-alecky attitude.
Jeff Strickler - Minneapolis Star Tribune
[It] may be the best live-action children's film of the year, a woven series of dark fairy tales that are witty and inventive enough for all ages.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Carrey has proven that when he's on, he's more creative than anyone out there. And he's on as Count Olaf, Snicket's principle villain
Bill Muller - Arizona Republic
Dennis Harvey - Variety
As with the first two Harry Potter entries, A Series of Unfortunate Events ultimately feels like the triumph of literal-mindedness over lyricism. It also has a hollow emotional core.
Scott Foundas - Variety
A lavishly mounted blockbuster that has little personality of its own except on a purely visual level.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
There's little, very little, at all unfortunate about it.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
A dark charmer.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
A more apt title might have been: Jim Carrey's Series of Outlandish Impersonations.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
As it ticks by, laboriously, it leaves you feeling that you should be enjoying it more than you are.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
Heinrichs helps take your mind off the slack direction and the letdown of a climax, which ought to make the kiddies hurl Gummi Bears at the screen.
David Edelstein - Slate
Passable Hollywood entertainment.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Demonstrates what happens when you take a clever idea and run it into the ground.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
What the movie lacks, alarmingly, is a shriveled black heart, or a big, red tell-tale one pulsing beneath the floorboards.
Carina Chocano - Los Angeles Times
Book's fans will enjoy, but too creepy for some.
Nell Minow - Common Sense Media
Whilst the direction and script seem off, the rest of the production work is excellent.
Garth Franklin - Dark Horizons
Between Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Lemony Snicket 2004 is a banner year for dark and fun kid's films.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
A dastardly unadulterated delight of a film.
Kit Bowen - Hollywood.com
full review in Greek
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
We can be grateful that the series has given Carrey one of his better vehicles in recent years, and that Carrey has risen to the occasion so well.
Peter T. Chattaway - Christianity Today
It's all a bit superficial, but highly entertaining, wickedly funny, and alluring enough to make you want to start reading the books.
Derek Adams - Time Out
If you sit back, relax and just accept it for what it is -- an enjoyable, escapist Gothic pantomime -- you will go home happy.
Caroline Westbrook - Empire Magazine
...Carrey delivers a broad performance that's more distracting than anything else.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Successful in kicking off a largely amusing and visually engaging franchise.
Pete Vonder Haar - Film Threat
A sick joke of a film that realizes the best children's entertainment doesn't hide from the bleaker side of life, but plunges into the void and respects kids enough to assume they can handle it.
Nathan Rabin - AV Club
...recognizes that it's okay to present scariness, gloominess and sadness, as long as you present strong, pure hearted children whose inherent cleverness cuts through it all.
Uri Lessing - www.kcactive.com
Dean Essner - Bullz-Eye.com
After all, it's not like the filmmakers got everything wrong. They just didn't get the right things right.
David Medsker - Bullz-Eye.com
Not many children's movies center on recently orphaned children delivered to the home of a homicidal thespian. Then again, not many children's movies are as good as this one.
Forrest Hartman - Reno Gazette-Journal
Charming and sly right at the beginning.
Rory L. Aronsky - Film Threat
A phantasmagoric family film with both bite and heart.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
'Inteligente, divertida y arriesgada en su propuesta visual y tematica, es una aventura que no se pueden perder'
Jorge Avila Andrade - Moviola
The main blight on the festivities is that, as always, Hollywood can't resist adding a little uplift.
Robert Hanks - Independent
Lemony Snicket serves anti-authoritarianism with youthful spirit.
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Un filme divertido y hermosamente fotografiado, pero un poco "o un mucho" sobreactuado y finalmente, un tanto simplon.
Luis Martinez - Cinenganos
"Lemony Snicket" falls short of the Potter movies. Gone missing is the magic.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Aqui esta um projeto que praticamente implorava para ser comandado por Tim Burton e estrelado por Johnny Depp.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
Though Brad Silberling can't rein in Jim Carrey's annoying mugging, he's redeemed by his film's strong, tenderly handled themes, brilliant look and literary-minded smarts.
Nick Rogers - State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)
A nicely dark family film that finds great pleasure in watching Carrey attempting to kill these children.
Jimmy O - Film Snobs
How come the children are American, yet all their relatives are British?
Luke Y. Thompson - New Times
Nicely cast and technically adept, Lemony Snicket is the first film in a likely franchise I could fortunately tolerate.
David N. Butterworth - Movie Boeuf
his lavish production is full of superb special effects and a lot of strange characters in unusual costumes.
Vince Koehler - Entertainment Spectrum
In its bid for unconditional love, the film softens Handler's work.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Mark Sells - Oregon Herald
...stars Jim Carrey as Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey and Jim Carrey. Silbering pastes together a series of unfortunate scenes, all with Carrey within mugging distance.
Thomas Delapa - Boulder Weekly
Willie Wonka meets Charles Dickens
Jon Niccum - Lawrence Journal-World
That rare adaptation that not only captures the spirit of the books and the author's distinct voice, but also has an identity all its own.
Collin Souter - eFilmCritic.com
If the movie were as wildly creative as it looks, it would be brilliant, instead of merely OK.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Sometimes Carrey's not-so-funny improvisations are his own undoing, as when he sits in a high-backed chair and feigns electrocution. But more often the children...steal the show.
Susan Tavernetti - Palo Alto Weekly
Dickens with a sense of humor, featuring people and situations both horrible and goofy enough to be fun rather than fear-inducing.
Jean Lowerison - San Diego Metropolitan
One of the cleverest adaptations I've ever seen, being at once faithful and surprising.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
A cheeky, memorable, anti-saccharine outing.
Donald Munro - Fresno Bee
The best-looking movie of the year.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Imperfect, but as beautiful as the grays in an overcast day.
Ross Anthony - Hollywood Report Card
Imagination and creativity pop from every single frame. The visual style is so vivid that we can easily become lost in this dark world of mystery and misery.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Manages to evoke the down-to-earth surrealism of the story's world, but it ultimately suffers too much at the hands of a bungled misinterpretation of its central villain.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
This proudly grave kid-lit adaptation seems destined to disappoint at the box office but be remembered as a lifetime favorite by a few million Goths in training.
Steve Schneider - Orlando Weekly
The film feels episodic and overlong, and yet, you want to get lost in its world, exploring everything from the cobwebbed corners of Count Olaf's mansion to the far shores of Lake Lachrymose.
Peter Debruge - Premiere Magazine
More than adequate, a phrase which here means "a delight to existing fans that will not win them new ones after emasculating Count Olaf."
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
It just kind of spins its wheels.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
As in the first two Harry Potter films, the sets and costumes are beautiful to look at, but the direction is static.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International
You can't make entertainment lemonade out of this lemon of a movie.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Less Ace Ventura and more Sideshow Bob, please.
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
Carrey has a field day getting to play not only the cruel uncle, but also donning various disguises...
Daniel M. Kimmel - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Wickedly delightful and humorously sinister, it reinforces the concept of family and that adults don't listen to children as often as they should.
Susan Granger - Modamag.com
Michael Szymanski - Zap2it.com
I suspect it will disappoint the books' older fanbase, who'd been hoping for a screen villain that didn 1/2 1/2t mellow the macabreness of the book version.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events continues 2004's Hollywood Series of Unfortunate Holiday Films.
Alex Sandell - Juicy Cerebellum
What ultimately spoiled the fun was Mr. Carrey's unbridled egotistical performance.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
All in all, superior family entertainment, despite the slight pacing problems.
Michelle Thomas - Future Movies UK
Christy Lemire - Journal News (Westchester, NY)
With cartoonish villainy, this pic is a worthy addition to a category that could be called Gothic humor.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
This is a beautifully designed, impressively directed film with exciting action sequences and terrific comic performances from its cast.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Dean Essner - Boston Phoenix
This overwrought dud shouldn't have left DreamWorks' CGI studio.
Mattias Frey - Boston Phoenix
does a more than respectable job of launching this potential franchise in style ... (and) the joke-filled end credits are well worth sticking around to see.
James Sanford - Kalamazoo Gazette
The child actors hold their own against Carrey, as do wacky family members Billy Connolly and Meryl Streep.
Dean Essner - E! Online
The results are enthralling, a term that here means 'an improvement upon the best-selling books.'
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
If you prefer movie reviews about pleasant films in which children are not placed in excessive peril or disagreeable circumstances, you may wish to read some other review.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Dean Essner - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Ummmmm - Lemony!
Tony Toscano - Talking Pictures (U.S.)
How can a movie with so much going for it (Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, eleven novels of material) be so boring?
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Jim Carrey is delightful as the evil Captain Olaf. It's a dark tale and maybe children will like it. I was disappointed.
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com
A welcome holiday treat.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
The opening does an excellent job of re-creating the tone of the books. It's fun to see all the wild places and odd quirks brought to the big screen with real people.
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
Carrey delivers a disappointing performance, the sort of calculated turn we had come to routinely expect from Robin Williams until his recent dramatic awakening.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
The result can make you yearn for Tim Burton, who can web his spidery signature through these corporate machines.
David Elliott - San Diego Union-Tribune
Although Carrey threatens to chew the scenery whenever he can, the kids hold their own as the stars of the show.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
This spare-no-expense, inventive production provides constant visual stimulation, and it tries to teach a lesson: Life may be grim, but it offers small victories.
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
Carrey finds his perfect role in Count Olaf.
Carla Meyer - San Francisco Chronicle
Darkly imaginative screen realization.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
More sophisticated than that in your average family funfest.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
Sometimes trying a little less hard to be 'funny' can yield greater laughs when you're playing with the lightly macabre.
M.E. Russell - Oregonian
Daniel Handler's books -- even three of them -- just aren't rich enough to sustain a full-length movie, so we end up with a lot of Carrey riffing over the top.
Jeffrey Bruner - Des Moines Register
It has the earmarks of a franchise that might actually get better with age.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
The kids are plucky and fun, and the dark, fantasy production values come fresh from a Burton movie or a Charles Addams or Edward Gorey cartoon.
Jack Garner - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
isn't quite the transporting experience I had hoped for, but it gives every indication that the possibility lies ahead
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
It is in the casting of three achingly callow unknowns as the Baudelaire children that the movie finds its success.
Audrey Rock-Richardson - Tooele Transcript-Bulletin (Utah)
Lemony Snicket sets, costumes and music are exceptional and go a long way to disguising the simplistic material.
Louis B. Hobson - Jam! Movies
If Tim Burton made a Harry Potter movie, it might look something like this gothic wedding cake of a flick, all evil curlicues and black lace...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Provides a pleasant end-of-year surprise.
John Monaghan - Detroit Free Press
A very entertaining 108 minutes, though hardly one as satisfying as might have been hoped for given the source material and its pedigree.
Wade Major - Boxoffice Magazine
A work of wonderfully sinister fantasy.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Carrey, who plays three roles, his over-the-top turn here is actually appropriate for a change. But the young performers manage to hold their own with him.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
The movie's collapse into winking inconsequentiality is exemplified by a pointless joke cameo by Dustin Hoffman that tells viewers: No real danger here.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The movie looks fantastic, Victorian Gothic by way of Edward Gorey, with just the right element of storybook fantasy.
Mary F. Pols - Contra Costa Times
Silberling doesn't trust us to get the main point of these books, so he reinforces it with a ponderous, homily-filled climax in which the orphans and the audience are patted on the head like kindergartners.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
The film feels like what its title describes: a series of events that don't add up to a cohesive story.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
This stylized gothic fairy tale unfolds in a Dickensian once-upon-a-time world, a Victorian England of the mind retrofitted with gee-whiz modern conveniences flawlessly realized by production designer Rick Heinrichs.
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Call the movie a pleasant near-miss, see it with your expectations lowered and by all means read the books again.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
It often feels disjointed... As though we get ten minutes of a dark children's movie, then fifteen of a Jim Carrey solo. Repeat.
Sarah Chauncey - Reel.com
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a wonderfully wacky and deliciously dark masterpiece. Dripping of Gorey-isms and Addams-esque hues...
Emily Blunt - Blunt Review
Let's hope Paramount's deal with AFLAC includes cinematic disaster insurance. Because this one's about as memorable as Carrey's old sitcom The Duck Factory.
Larry Carroll - FilmStew.com
The film struggles to mimic the simple, sublime truths which make Daniel Handler's books so appealingly vibrant.
Glen Oliver - IGN Movies
[It's] not successful, but you can't quite dismiss it. It's full of imagery that stays with you.
Anthony Del Valle - Las Vegas Mercury
It's the children (Emily Browning and Liam Aiken as the confident Violet and the thoughtful Klaus) who really steal this show...
Scott Collura - Now Playing Magazine
A sense of freshness and discovery penetrates the gloom.
Jan Stuart - Newsday
But there's no true spark of inspiration, the humor (especially its gag of subtitling a toddler's babble) is thin and director Brad Silberling ("Moonlight Mile) can never quite hide the fact that his kid actors are dull as dishwater.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The weakest parts of the movie are the cheap humor and crude language in the baby's subtitled speech.
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
I hate to sound per-Snickety, but this lemon of a movie is a sadly unfortunate event.
David Sterritt - Christian Science Monitor
...delightfully dark, like the occasionally welcome sound of laughter in a funeral home -- a sound kids often appreciate more than grown-ups.
Josh Larsen - Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
Jim Carrey makes a four-course meal of the Tim-Burtonesque surreal scenery, completely overshadowing the story.
Rob Blackwelder - SPLICEDWire
A fabulously-outfitted sideshow attraction without much going on under the big top: all circus, precious little bread.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a weird and sometimes wonderful film about three creative kids who have what it takes to overcome adversities.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Arson, snakes, hurricanes, murder, man-eating leeches and a plot development out of Jerry Lee Lewis' scrapbook notwithstanding, this is beyond perfect family entertainment
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Silberling and writer Robert Gordon have made the fatal error of trying to jolly up the novels, which are often funny but never, ever cute.
Ella Taylor - L.A. Weekly
Wickedly entertaining and a fortunate addition to the holiday season.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A visual feast that nonetheless leaves one feeling hungry for some emotional nourishment after the succession of all-too-similar courses has passed.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
This successful take on the darkly humorous children's book series is a fantastically painted beauty, its characters rich with flaws and quirks and tragic circumstances.
Laura Kelly - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
I raced home, fired up the Internet to double check my suspicions and nearly threw up in my mouth-the AFLAC duck is listed in the credits of Lemony Snicket.
Mike Ward - Richmond.com
Carrey, whose crass performance was such a bummer in The Grinch, ties his vast comic gifts to an actual character here.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
It's a world where terrible things happen, but oddly there's a beauty to the film's darkness.
Diana Saenger - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Both fantastic and flawed...
Mark Halverson - Sacramento News & Review
In the end, it's such ripping good fun that it's hard to hold Carrey against it.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Entertaining, but far too cute
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
A work of lavish imagery, instantly lovable characters, rousing adventure and slick, all-ages comedy.
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
Sublime. I loved it. And I'll love it when I see it again.
Victoria Alexander - Movie Reviews in Croatian
rays of sunshine don't make the dark and nightmarish fantasy go away, and it might not be such a fun time for sensitive teens and tots in the theatre
Jules Brenner - Filmcritic.com
Put your Jim Carrey issues aside and take a chance on this amazing, amusing, adventure film.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
Dark, but not scary; whimsical but not saccharine; pessimistic but believing quite firmly in the power of self-reliance.
Rob Vaux - Flipside Movie Emporium
If your kids would be pleased at the thought of your death, maybe this movie will show them the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
It's utterly devoid of suspense.
Stella Papamichael - BBC
Inventive ideas catapult off the screen and characters larger than life reach out to embrace the audience in a story telling hug that lasts throughout the film's running time.
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
Put this film right up there with Harry Potter as one of the best live action family films ever created.
Sean McBride - Sean the Movie Guy
Wonderfully executed, brilliantly cast and almost perfectly Potter-beating. If only it weren't for Jim Carrey...
Joe Utichi - FilmFocus
Imagine this, Jim Carrey at the top of his comedic form being constantly and consistently upstaged by a two-year-old girl.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
The picture is a beautifully foreboding storybook sprung to life, mixing guffaw-inducing comedy, frightful fantasy, and resonating drama without missing a beat.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
This Christmas season, families could do worse than Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
an unfortunate mixed bag, but one worth seeing for what is good in it, because when it's good, it's very, very good, but when it's bad, it's Carrey.
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Makes so many leaps of logic and doltish character choices, they strain an adult's ability to enjoy the tale and appreciate its source.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals