“I'm A Jester. A Jester Doesn't Rule The Kingdom; He Makes Fun Of The King.”
Robin Williams would never stand a chance, either as a presidential candidate or as a TV talk-show comic, a major drawback in a what-if scenario so self-congratulatory and smug.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
In a pre-election season full of drama, contention and surprise, Man of the Year arrives on the scene with the blistering impact of a spoonful of cold mashed potatoes.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Cynicism or stupidity? It's hard to say which has the run of this idiotic satire in which Robin Williams plays a talk-show host who runs for president on a ticket of cleaning up politics.
Cath Clarke - Guardian [UK]
When great premises go wrong, the result is movies like Man of the Year.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Man of the Year is a movie that can be smart-funny and astutely topical.
Jennifer Frey - Washington Post
Man of the Year has to be one of the most frustrating dropped balls in recent multiplex memory.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
In short, it would have been great if it had stopped, oh, 12 minutes in.
Robert Wilonsky - Village Voice
A few moments do not make a new Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Frank Capra can continue to rest in peace.
Jack Mathews - New York Daily News
A few observations about the hollowness of party politics, plus Robin Williams doing lots of funny shtick as a Jon Stewart-like comic running for president, have been thrown together with low regard for logic or consistent tone.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Man of the Year isn't Movie of the Year. It might have been an ironic condemnation of electoral fraud and the malignant sway of corporate profits. But for a while, anyway, it had my vote.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
At a time when politicians are most in question, [director] Levinson feels no qualms about depicting the process as a hilarious and yet dangerous farce.
Mario Tarradell - Dallas Morning News
There's a Preston Sturges lesson in Man of the Year: Entertaining folks is its own civic duty. At times, making citizens laugh (and think) might be the most honorable profession of all.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
Williams' scene as Dobbs debating his presidential opponents alone is worth the price of admission to this film. It is laugh-out-loud hysterical.
Bill Zwecker - Chicago Sun-Times
Levinson has written and directed in many genres. But rarely has he made a film as indecisive and diffident as Man of the Year.
Michael Wilmington - Chicago Tribune
[Barry] Levinson has written and directed in many genres. But rarely has he made a film as indecisive and diffident as Man of the Year.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Mainly it's a shambles, though for once Williams gets to do what he's best at (his stand-up shtick), and the absurd story, no matter how carelessly assembled, keeps moving.
Jonathan Rosenbaum - Chicago Reader
Barry Levinson, director of films as diverse as Diner, Bugsy, and Wag the Dog, is a national treasure. So, it is with deep disappointment that I report Man of the Year is dross.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
In Man of the Year, a thriller without thrills collides with a mirthless comedy.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Man of the Year is a well-intentioned mess, a dated, yuk-it-up sloppy civics lesson with such a lack of conviction that it backs away from the very questions it poses.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Though Williams can still make us laugh, Man of the Year doesn't deserve your vote.
Bill Muller - Arizona Republic
Pic eventually overcomes an awkward start and turns into a satisfying candidate for the disposable movie dollar with a story that stays on your mind.
John Anderson - Variety
Man of the Year is longer than the FDR administration, less funny than Calvin Coolidge and deader than Abe Lincoln.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
It's a nearly tone-deaf satire of American politics and the culture of celebrity, a comedy without enough laughs, a satire without enough bite.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Man of the Year is a moderately funny little movie that isn't pointed enough to successfully skewer its political targets.
Kate Taylor - Globe and Mail
It's a comedy, a political thriller, a love story: Barry Levinson's Man of the Year tries to be all things to all people and fails on every count -- a little like the generic, ineffectual politicians it's pretending to excoriate.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
Man of the Year makes telling points and has a lot to say, but it loses its voice along with its consistency around the mid-way point, and that will likely make it an also-ran in the box office race.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Confusion and mixed messages work against a coherent viewpoint -- and laughs.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
What keeps Man of the Year alive is the homey interplay of its principals.
David Germain - Associated Press
An awkward mix of standard genres that doesn't give us what we desperately need in this increasingly desperate political season -- a black and snarling assault on our imbecile status quo.
Richard Schickel - TIME Magazine
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Lame political comedy misses the mark.
Jane Boursaw - Common Sense Media
Bob Mondello - NPR.org
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
Uneven, but never less than entertaining.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
This being Robin Williams, it's hard to find his routines as vote-winningly hilarious as they're meant to be.
Tim Robey - Daily Telegraph
There are good moments, although it doesn't work properly either as a satirical thriller or a rom-com.
Karl French - Financial Times
One of the least convincing political satires of the millennium so far - no bite, no vision and no laughs.
Jon Fortgang - Film4
Political comedy morphs into attempted thriller in this confused, fitfully entertaining film.
Anna Smith - BBC
Too compromised to be more than a reasonably pleasurable entertainment, as if it is scared about what it is saying about the American political process.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Man of the Year has some nice ideas and a handful of excellent scenes, but it struggles to find the right tone and is hamstrung by a ridiculous plot point.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Trust me, a sloppily-edited, unmanageable insult to the intelligence with far too many shortcomings to deserve any further analysis.
Kam Williams - EURWeb
Levinson pose les bonnes questions par le biais d'une demarche artistique un peu laborieuse, mais qui n'en demeure pas moins directe et efficace.
Jean-Francois Vandeuren - Panorama
Eschewing personality, it mistakes pandering for insight.
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
- Sydney Morning Herald
If you look the other way and go with it regardless, Man of the Year can be an idealistic pleasure.
Frank Lovece - Film Journal International
It's not a simple genre film, and some will find it complicated to digest for that reason, but if you're up for a bit of intelligent stimulation, this will reward
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
Man of the Year, the weaker brother of the Wag the Dog and Good Morning Vietnam polital satire family, relies heavily on conceptual humour and Robin Williams' shenanigans to carry the boneless plot through.
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
The Robin Williams you love. A very entertaining movie and a showcase for the brilliant Robin Williams.
Clint Morris - Moviehole
The opening narration by Christopher Walken starts sucking the life out of the film before it gets a chance to gain any momentum.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
It didn't know if it wanted to be a satirical comedy or a political thriller.
Kamal 'The Diva' Larsuel - 3BlackChicks Review
Robin Williams turns in his smartest, funniest performance in at least a decade.
Pete Hammond - Maxim
Rarely has Williams ever seemed so rote, so glaringly sleepwalking through a role.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
When the thriller plot collides with the comedy, what's left is mangled, twisted wreckage ...
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
Barry Levinson is a case study in narrative schizophrenia, with no idea what he wants his film to be.
Jonathan R. Perry - Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)
[A] piece of pithy political pap. Sadly, [this] Man has all the biting promise of a crooked two-bit hack accepting a corporate kickback at a Chucky Cheese restaurant.
Frank Ochieng - Movie Eye
The biggest problem with Man of the Year is that, much like American Dreamz, which came out earlier this year, it simply doesn't seem to know what genre it aspires to be.
Kim Voynar - Cinematical
It's a comedy! No, it's a romance! No, it's a thriller!
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Sloppy political satire ... Williams has all the edge of Tom DeLay at a Greenpeace convention.
Thomas Delapa - Boulder Weekly
A failure as satire -- a failure as a political thriller and a failure as an ill-conceived romance. That's three failures in the space of one movie.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
It's the same lazy performance we always get, with Williams groveling for laughs via his patented physical shtick and repertoire of stale jokes that were already passe around the time Roman emperors began chucking Christian standup comics to the lions.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
A surprisingly complex and dark satire that skewers the media as well as the political process.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
Writer-director Barry Levinson had better fortune (and results) with the prescient Wag the Dog than he does with his latest political satire, the uneven and uninvolving Man of the Year.
Stax - IGN Movies
Ellie's the locus for the film's instability and lack of direction, while the guys get to tromp around in its more explicitly comic terrain.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
The film's writer-director and headliner are guilty of committing the very crime they warn against -- entertainers taking themselves too seriously.
John P. McCarthy - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Following poor career choices in "RV" and "The Final Cut," Robin Williams is finally back doing what he does best: intelligent stand-up comedy.
Angela Baldassarre - Sympatico.ca
Robin Williams, surprisingly subdued here, makes his character as believable as a comedian-turned-president can be.
Frank Wilkins - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Jonathan W. Hickman - Entertainment Insiders
While they let Williams go, which is good, they don't give him enough time to do so, which isn't. What remains is a hollow political polemic with great acting.
Eric Lurio - Greenwich Village Gazette
Man of the Year is a total mess.
Gary Brown - Houston Community Newspapers
...remains virtually intolerable throughout its overlong running time due primarily to star Robin Williams' relentless mugging and writer/director Barry Levinson's inordinately mediocre screenplay.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Robin Williams' character can't decide when to be goofy and when to play it straight, and neither can this uneven "what-if" political comedy from writer-director Barry Levinson.
Larry Ratliff - San Antonio Express-News
Man of the Year is often so wildly off the mark in its depiction of how elections are run, it's hard to believe that it was directed by the same guy who helmed Wag the Dog.
Ethan Alter - Premiere Magazine
There are several flaws in the story content and the pacing, but this movie still gets my vote.
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
It wants laughs but isn't willing to do what it takes -- take off the gloves and land some blows to the body politic -- to earn them.
Carol Cling - Las Vegas Review-Journal
No one will mistake Man of the Year for movie of the year, but it says some things worth being said without the usual straight face.
Terry Lawson - Detroit Free Press
For a film that wants to decry business as usual, Man of the Year seems awfully content to play by the rules.
Glenn Whipp - Los Angeles Daily News
The writing is lazy, the movie focuses on all the wrong things and the tone lurches unpleasantly between gum-soft comedy and lukewarm thriller.
M.E. Russell - Oregonian
A genre-less, imaginative riff by an intelligent filmmaker on the state of the country.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
Levinson lines up a flabby and humorless series of mini-homilies on current political evils, from corporate donations to TV ads, like a Nader-ish "plague on both your houses" scold.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
It will draw audiences who want to see topical humor, and it will bog them down in a typical thriller, before capping things off with an earnest yet cautious political statement.
Peter T. Chattaway - Christianity Today
The picture betrays its own underlying philosophy about the importance of comedy in politics when, for the better part of its second hour, it becomes completely humorless.
Wade Major - Boxoffice Magazine
It's certainly no political classic, but it's worth at least a couple of electoral votes.
Donald Munro - Fresno Bee
Barry Levinson's Man of the Year squanders a promising premise; it's ultimately overlong, underwritten and strangely unfunny.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
[Man of the Year] ends up feeling as phony the process it so desperately wants to skewer.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
Hey, it's Robin Williams getting elected president. Why would you turn that movie into some espionage thriller?
Fred Topel - Can Magazine
Compared to Wag The Dog, another Levinson political satire that did its dirty work before 9/11, Man Of The Year is sloppy, disjointed and weak.
Bruce Kirkland - Jam! Movies
It's more Jay Leno than Jon Stewart, and there's no way that's a compliment.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Robin Williams proves to topical comedy what Lawrence Welk is to smoking jazz, and a marketing bait-and-switch leads to a ludicrously dumb paranoid thriller. It lazily hopes its conceit and comedian work. Neither does.
Nick Rogers - State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)
Robin Williams and Barry Levinson evoke memories of their 1987 collaboration Good Morning, Vietnam with this insightful political dramedy. But those expecting a light-hearted farce will be sorely disappointed.
Tyler Hanley - Palo Alto Weekly
Only in filmmaking does one very good idea plus another very good idea sometimes add up to one less-than-great picture.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Not funny, not timely, not thrilling, and no courage of its own convictions. An embarrassment for all concerned.
Luke Y. Thompson - LYTRules.com
Robin Williams doesn't need to prove he can act, not after The Fisher King, The Night Listener, Good Will Hunting and Mrs. Doubtfire. What he does in Man of the Year seems a long way from actual acting.
David Elliott - San Diego Union-Tribune
The second half of Man of the Year bears practically no relation to the irreverent comedy the movie's trailer sells you -- much like a politician who doesn't keep any of the promises that lured you to vote for him.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Its screenplay needs not another run through the typewriter, but a first run through the shredder.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
Man of the Year pretends to reach for a steak knife and draws a plastic spoon instead.
Carla Meyer - Sacramento Bee
Instead of a highly relevant political satire, writer-director Barry Levinson takes the easy way out and churns a paint-by-numbers tale of corporate malfeasance. Guess he had no special interests in creating a smart, savvy comedy.
Dezhda Gaubert - E! Online
Warning! Don't pay any attention to the dismal promotion for this film. Despite what you see, it's an entertaining comedy-thriller.
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com
Prepare for whiplash as Man of the Year veers in an instant from astute comedy to complete disaster.
Pam Grady - Reel.com
It's all right when it's trying to be a comedy or a savvy electoral satire. But it takes a disastrous wrong turn into paranoid political thriller territory and never recovers.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Man of the Year starts out funny -- at least that's the intention -- and then morphs into a kind of paranoid thriller. Neither one of the movie's split personalities is particularly good.
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
dusty jokes about Mama Cass and Karen Carpenter -- how's that for topical humor? ... Unfortunately, most of the funny moments in 'Man' come when the film is playing it straight
James Sanford - Kalamazoo Gazette
Dave White - Movies.com
In 1938, Adolph Hitler was chosen as Time's Man of the Year. Somewhere, there's a witty sequeway about this fact and just how awful Robin Williams' movie sharing the same "accolade" is.
Mike Ward - Richmond.com
Would make a terrific half-baked double bill with American Dreamz.
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
[It's] a mess, but if you're willing to pick through it, there's some gold amongst the dross.
Daniel M. Kimmel - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
The movie is strangely determined to move political commentary to the back row while bringing to the fore a dull, conventional thriller about electronic voting.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
[Laura Linney] shines out of this unappealing murk like a sunflower planted in a coal mine.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Man of the Year jerks unexpectedly from laughs to suspense to drama to satire. More to the point, the film doesn't really seem to have a point; it offers a parade of mixed messages.
Jack Garner - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Packaged as a rollicking political comedy, writer-director Barry Levinson's much-ballyhooed reunion with Robin Williams wobbles unsteadily between broad humor and paranoid thrills. The result is a bland muddle.
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Nothing in the film works, and here's something upon which people of all political affiliations can agree: Man of the Year is one of the worst of the year.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
This is really two movies in one -- an exemplary political satire and an average thriller, tied together with romantically shopworn president-as-an-average-Joe tropes from Dave and The American President.
John Thomason - Orlando Weekly
Many actors were paid to pretend Williams is still funny in Man of the Year.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Rather than being integrated into something complex, the different tones are at war with each other, leaving the whole unsatisfying. Luckily there are dozens of good lines, which at least keep the movie from being dull.
Andy Klein - Los Angeles CityBeat
Man of the Year is merely a Robin Williams stand-up routine wrapped in a limp script.
Meg Jones - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
...isn't as biting as "Wag the Dog" was, nor as prescient, but it throwsan issue into the ring as it entertains its audience.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The Eleanor stuff makes the comedy move more methodically than Tucson's Downtown renewal efforts.
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
American politics gets off easy; even Chris Rock's Head of State (2003) had more guts.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
What is it about Robin Williams that he often appears in these wild misfires, pictures that are so full of promise yet so disastrous in execution?
Josh Larsen - Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
not at all what you expect in the worst possible way.
Jeffrey Lyles - Gazette (MD)
Lacks humor and bite.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Man of the Year sets its audience up to ponder the unthinkable, loses its resolve and congeals into reassuring kitsch.
Gene Seymour - Newsday
[L]acks all conviction in its would-be insurgent attitudes and lacks any courage in seeing through to a tough conclusion the political realities it pretends to attack.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Even though it's only two-thirds of a solid comedy, it doesn't take a high-priced pollster to figure out that this is a far better ratio than a lot of other recent yukfests.
Brett Buckalew - FilmStew.com
Man has the kind of dizzying tonal changes that makes one wonder if a P.A. should've administered a breathalyzer test on Levinson during production.
Brian Orndorf - FilmJerk.com
The movie's satire is fairly gutless, the bulk of it could be contained in one five-minute Williams monologue and the majority of the running time is taken up with a poorly motivated love story and a ponderous thriller subplot.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Despite Levinson's split purpose, making it into a 'dramedy,' it's timely and thought-provoking.
Susan Granger - www.susangranger.com
Levinson has gone from Wag the Dog to "Screw the Pooch".
Brian Juergens - Freeze Dried Movies
So haphazardly fails to recognize the ironies of its own failings that it unwittingly makes George W. Bush funnier...when he's TRYING to be funny.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
ignore the propaganda this picture is peddling.
Sean O'Connell - Filmcritic.com
In reality Man Of The Year is one half The Robin Williams Show and one half dour thriller involving a rigged election and the evils of electronic voting machines. The second half nearly obliterates the film.
Bill Clark - FromTheBalcony
The new Robin Williams comedy Man of the Year is the sort of thing you almost feel sorry for.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A political comedy with spunk that capitalizes on several bizarre trends in contemporary American politics.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Man of the Year is only Comedy of the Year for about 45 minutes. Then, it becomes Failed Opportunity of the Year.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
The deadly serious corporate malfeasance story doesn't mesh well with Williams' politically humorous antics.
Sean McBride - Sean the Movie Guy
The comedy is drab and predictable. The satirical flourishes are so soft that they are hardly worth mentioning. The thrills are diffused by tonal shifts working against them.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
In fact, there may well have been one or two funny lines in Man of the Year, but by that point they were lost in the staggering repulsiveness.
Phoebe Flowers - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
[Director] Levinson seems to be torn between making a political jest and a suspense thriller. Neither works.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
I think I recall a few of the jokes from the Ford administration. Which makes sense because as irreverent and subversive as it wants to be, it is just bland.
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Is there any other comedian who recycles material as often and for as long as Robin Williams? He's the last man in America who thinks Monica Lewinsky jokes are still funny.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
A hybrid of so many parts that it would be unwieldy even if it were executed very well. But as it happens, it isn't.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
There's nothing about Man of the Year that's quite as fantastic as its depiction of moribund Saturday Night Live as culturally and politically relevant.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
It's a difficult assignment to pull all the genre strings into a tight ball of serio-comedic yarn. My cat Hillary could have done a better job with less effort.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
All the audience can do with this DOA comedy is wait for their next chance to see Robin Williams do another stand-up routine, providing a precious break in an otherwise tedious film.
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
A wishy-washy thriller with political leanings that never quite fit.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com