The movie has the look and feel of one of those Saturday Night Live miniparodies that's exquisitely clever and close to the bone.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
The movie feels facile and blunt spirited.
Elvis Mitchell - New York Times
As entertainment, such dark material can only stretch so far, and Series 7 comes awfully close to being as numbing as the genre it mocks. But its power can't be denied.
Susan Wloszczyna - USA Today
It's as funny as you could reasonably expect without Christopher Guest being involved in the project.
Desson Thomson - Washington Post
It seduces us until, damn our black hearts, we've come to really care who wins.
Stephen Hunter - Washington Post
A dead-on shot to the heart of reality TV.
Amy Taubin - Village Voice
Series 7 is clever, hip filmmaking, admirable for its tenacious faithfulness to the world it creates.
Louis B. Parks - Houston Chronicle
Peter Rainer - New York Magazine
The movie has one joke and tells it too often, for too long.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Does exactly what independent cinema should -- challenge audiences while it entertains.
Robert K. Elder - Chicago Tribune
Effectively satiric while still developing and sustaining a rooting interest in its invented story over the course of a smart, short running time.
Todd McCarthy - Variety
Smart, witty and assured.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
But the surprise in Series 7 is that through all of Minahan's well-crafted trappings ... a touching character-driven drama emerges in Dawn and Jeff's story.
Sean Means - Film.com
- Globe and Mail
This reality TV spoof is even harder to watch than the sadistic, unwatchable crap it parodies.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
It's only fitting that we emerge from Series 7 feeling both entertained and implicated.
David Edelstein - Slate
This is one of those movies that is considerably more interesting to read about than it is to sit through.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
There is sharp wit in the writing, and the direction is quite good. Series 7 is undeniably effective, but that doesn't mean you feel good when it's over.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
Richard Schickel - TIME Magazine
A cautionary fable whose time has come.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Sounds better than it actually plays.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
- Sight and Sound
Derek Adams - Time Out
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Alexander Walker - This is London
It really is the next logical step in reality TV . . . kill them all, and let the Nielsons sort 'em out.
Brian Mckay - eFilmCritic.com
...takes an intriguing topic but essentially beats it to death over the course of about 90 minutes...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Frazzled and edgy, Smith invests Dawn with the required measure of world-weariness and, crucially, she never succumbs to the temptation to slide into flippant, mocking territory.
Tom Grealis - RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
Absolutely relentless in its bashing of the American public and what we consider entertainment.
John Venable - Supercala.com
David Poland - Hot Button
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
- Film Threat
Kill-or-be-killed reality-TV satire is uneven -- and unforgettable.
James Rocchi - Netflix
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Mark Halverson - Sacramento News & Review
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
Suffers from the same problems that the "reality" television shows it satires suffer from.
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. - Goatdog's Movies
- Boston Phoenix
Will have a short shelf life, and just as reality TV offers instant-gratification entertainment, The Contenders offers instant-gratification satire.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Mark R. Leeper - rec.arts.movies.reviews
Steve Murray - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Amidst the dry humour, the film is chilling, because it rings far too true.
Ian Waldron-Mantgani - UK Critic
Glenn Kenny - Premiere Magazine
Mark Freeman - Critical Eye
Scott Renshaw - Apollo Guide
A satisfyingly nasty piece of work so black and cruel it's often more sick than funny.
Sean Axmaker - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A gritty, disturbing and very funny satire that points the finger as much at its audience as those who make 'reality TV.'
John Zebrowski - Seattle Times
- Irish Times
Ends up straddling an uneasy divide between genuinely edgy artistry and bluntly indulgent bluster, leaving us uncertain whether it's the television show portrayed or the film itself that's the real turn-off.
Mark Kermode - Sight and Sound
It's unclear exactly what Minahan's trying to say. If it's just 'TV is crap,' then it's hardly a revelation and this uncertainty, combined with no back-story or framing device, conspires to give the movie a sketchy, ill-conceived feel.
Adam Smith - Empire Magazine
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
Often funny, sometimes unsettling satire.
Michael Thomson - BBC
Outstripped by the very medium it sought to parody.
Scott Von Doviak - culturevulture.net
A sure-fire ratings winner.
Andrew Howe - eFilmCritic.com
Series 7 casts us adrift in a contempo world ruled by gladiatorial zeal and bloodless emperors.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Made me laugh and squirm, and most importantly, entertained me throughout.
JoBlo - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Cynical, biting fun.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
The so-called jokes here have a cartoon stridency and drop with a thud. None of them is deep or lasting.
Joe Baltake - Sacramento Bee
Series 7: The Contenders is a bit over the top. But to be honest, there's probably no way this type of material could have been done with subtlety.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Jason Anderson - eye WEEKLY
It's a difficult task to implicate an audience while simultaneously entertaining them.
Nathaniel Rogers - CineScene.com
Series 7 is The Truman Show crossed with Survivor with overtones of Shirley Jackson's classic story "The Lottery."
Ted Murphy - Baseline.Hollywood.com
Smith, as the deadly Dawn, holds the feature-length gag together without giving away the joke.
Bob Thompson - Jam! Movies
Wide-eyed, deadpan and, more often than not, note-perfect.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
A frantic, unpretentious send-up of reality TV programs.
Bryant Frazer - Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
'Reality' notwithstanding, the performances in this film are uniformly good, and Brooke Smith as Dawn is better than that.
Stanley Kauffmann - New Republic
Stanley Kauffmann - The New Republic
This dark satire is the right movie at the right time.
Greg Dean Schmitz - Greg's Previews at Yahoo! Movies
Its prescience is sometimes uncanny.
Bob Graham - San Francisco Chronicle
A diabolically clever sendup of reality shows.
Vera H-C Chan - Contra Costa Times
The film certainly has the familiar reality TV mechanics right.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Ultimately comes off as a clever idea that feels as if it wasn't fully realized.
Jim Judy - Screen It!
The charm of this fanatical spoof relies on heavy doses of nervous humor to support its outrageous action.
Jeanne Aufmuth - Palo Alto Weekly
With a dollop of originality, a pinch of drollness, and a dash of dry wit, it sends up survivor-based reality television with a deadly dose of gladiator humor.
Elias Savada - Nitrate Online
- Ebert & Roeper
This satire couldn't be more cutting edge.
Jeremiah Kipp - Filmcritic.com
Series 7 is wicked fun, the rare pop-culture send- up that gathers steam as it goes along rather than exhausts us with patronizing winks.
Jan Stuart - Newsday
It's show biz, of course. But, at least in the way that Series 7 presents it, it seems unsettlingly close to the truth.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
No, this reality-TV parody isn't ready for prime time, but it is one heck of a funny movie.
- E! Online
Watching regular, inarticulate jerks try to blow each other away has never been so much fun.
Dave White - IFilm
Arnett's unseen embodiment of the show's false sincerity is nothing short of chilling.
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
It'll give you a really good laugh. Go.
Eric Lurio - Greenwich Village Gazette
Tasteless, pointless, irritating and absurd.
Rob Blackwelder - SPLICEDWire
The script unfortunately compounds this fundamental problem with numerous unleavened ideas and characters, resulting in an overwhelmingly mediocre moviegoing experience.
Rod Armstrong - Reel.com
It draws you in as though it were a real reality show.
Luke Y. Thompson - New Times
A cinematic stunt that overstays its welcome, a joke that runs out of gas before the punchline arrives.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
It manages to capture us, the faithful viewers, into its quick-edit, fast food world.
Jason Clark - Matinee Magazine
All the actors are fine and their largely unfamiliar faces immensely help the film/show's premise that we are watching real people in real danger.
Doris Toumarkine - Film Journal International
One of the most devastating satires of American pop culture ever conceived.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
An extremely clever and intelligent autopsy of a world that has long given up on the truth.
Bridget Byrne - Boxoffice Magazine
As with its sleazy, real-life predecessors, you actually come to care about its characters.
Kevin Maynard - Mr. Showbiz
The repetitive nature of the format and the lack of convincing behavior by the actors turn what could have been a fascinating film into a sleep-inducing one.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
Adolescent, literal-minded and virtually humorless.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve