- Even some of the most likable and talented actors appear in critical flops.
- Critics felt the talents of Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, and Melissa McCarthy were wasted by “The Kitchen” (2019).
- This year, Will Smith played opposite himself in the critically panned “Gemini Man” (2019).
- Ansel Elgort gave his all to the drama “The Goldfinch” (2019), but critics still didn’t love the movie.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
It seems inevitable that at some point in an actor’s career they will end up starring in a film that is slammed by critics.
Here are some popular actors who starred in critical flops in 2019.
Note: All scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change.
Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler failed to keep “Murder Mystery” (2019) afloat.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 45%
Summary: In the comedy “Murder Mystery,” police officer Nick Spitz (Adam Sandler) whisks his wife Audrey (Jennifer Aniston) away on a romantic European getaway, only for them to find themselves at the centre of a scandalous murder.
Critics were dumbfounded by the Netflix original, saying it was short on laughs and barely watchable.
“‘Murder Mystery’ is neither a comedy nor a mystery,” wrote The Daily Times critic Amanda Greever. “It’s just bad behaviour masquerading as mass entertainment.”
Taraji P. Henson starred in the underwhelming “What Men Want” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 43%
Summary: In the comedy “What Men Want,” high-powered sports agent Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) feels like she is always pushed to the sidelines by her male coworkers – until she gains the uncanny ability to hear the inner thoughts of men.
Many critics scratched their heads at “What Men Want,” calling it an unnecessary follow-up to “What Women Want” (2000), which was also a somewhat underwhelming comedy.
“‘What Men Want’ is pure shrug cinema: not bad so much as wispily superfluous, which may not come as a surprise if you can recall the similarly disposable 2000 original,” wrote Robbie Collin in his review for The Daily Telegraph.
Samuel L. Jackson reprised his role as John Shaft in the lacklustre “Shaft” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 32%
Summary: In the action-comedy sequel “Shaft,” Samuel L. Jackson returned as John Shaft, the estranged father of cybersecurity genius JJ Shaft (Usher). Despite being absent for most of his son’s youth, the two must team up to take down Harlem’s criminal underground.
Critics were dumbfounded by the action instalment, with some going as far as to say that the sequel retroactively ruined the clout of its predecessors.
“They have taken one of the coolest, suavest characters in movie history and cast him in this multigenerational ‘grumpy old dad’ sitcom,” wrote Justin Chang for Film Week.
Dennis Quaid fronted the weak thriller “The Intruder” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 32%
Summary: In the suspense thriller “The Intruder,” charming newlyweds Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie Russell (Meagan Good) are ecstatic when they buy their dream home but are quickly unsettled by the presence of an overbearing neighbour (Dennis Quaid) who harbours dark intentions.
Critics described “The Intruder” as a laughably bad thriller with a predictable by-the-numbers plot.
“‘The Intruder,’ from its hokey title to its predictable denouement, is the very definition of cookie-cutter modern thriller moviemaking, passing the time but you really wouldn’t want it in your house,” wrote Paul Mount for Starburst.
Keira Knightley shined in the directionless drama “The Aftermath” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 27%
Summary: Set in Germany, 1946 “The Aftermath” centres around Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) as she reunites with her veteran husband Lewis (Jason Clarke) following World War II. But Rachael is thrown when her husband mentions that they will be staying in the same house as a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård).
Reception for “The Aftermath” was muddied by the film’s morbid nature and corny dialogue.
“The acting in ‘The Aftermath’ is strong across the board, but the script and editing both fail the performers,” wrote Joe Nolan in his review for Nashville Scene.
Will Smith played opposite himself in the critically panned “Gemini Man” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score:
Summary: The action thriller “Gemini Man” pits Will Smith against himself as he plays Henry Bogan, an experienced assassin who soon realises that he is being pursued by a younger copy of himself.
Critics had a heap of reasons to dislike “Gemini Man,” with the most vocal complaints pointing to a weak script and distracting filmmaking style.
“Obviously, the dire dialogue doesn’t help, but what blunts Smith’s performance and makes the film itself hell to watch is the innovative, ultra-high-frame-rate which renders actors, objects and even the air somehow flimsy and weird and fake,” wrote Charlotte O’Sullivan in her review for the London Evening Standard.
Ansel Elgort gave his all in the dismal drama “The Goldfinch” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 24%
Summary: Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, “The Goldfinch” traces the tragic life of Theodore Decker (Ansel Elgort), whose mother was killed in a museum bombing when h was a child. As his grief follows him into adulthood, so does the mystery of a missing museum painting of a golden bird.
Critics called “The Goldfinch” a beautifully filmed mess that dragged its talented cast down with clumsy direction and a shapeless script.
“Tartt’s book has been put through a grater, then reassembled into a wet prestige patty of a picture, all dainty set dressing and limp psychology,” wrote Tim Robey for The Telegraph.
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson did their best to salvage “Men in Black: International” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 23%
Summary: In the latest “Men in Black” sequel, experienced Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and novice Agent M (Tessa Thompson) join together to combat the growing presence of an invasive alien species that can transform itself into anything.
Critics were unimpressed with this action flick, calling it a lifeless cash grab that was buoyed by Hemsworth and Thompson’s on-screen chemistry.
“In this uninspired ‘MiB’ reboot, the effervescent biplay between Hemsworth and Thompson almost compensates for the vacuum where a live-wire alien invasion comedy should be,” wrote Peter Travers for Rolling Stone. “Almost being the operative word.”
Gina Rodriguez failed to rescue the action thriller “Miss Bala” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 22%
Summary: In the action movie “Miss Bala,” Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) goes to the police after her friend is abducted from a Mexican nightclub, only for the cops to turn her into the same captors. Gloria now has to outmaneuver the cartel without knowing who she can trust.
Critics felt like “Miss Bala” suffered from bombastic Hollywood-style cliches and ultimately had too many moving parts to be a compelling action movie.
“Anyone thinking about plunking down the bucks to check out ‘Miss Bala’ this weekend: you DEFINITELY deserve better than this,” wrote Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper.
The talents of Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, and Melissa McCarthy were perhaps wasted by “The Kitchen” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 22%
Summary: After their husbands are sent to jail for their involvement in the mob, three 1970s housewives (Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, and Melissa McCarthy) are forced to step up and take their husbands’ places in the Irish mafia.
In general, critics were disappointed by “The Kitchen” and felt that Haddish, Moss, and McCarthy were undervalued by a film riddled with pacing issues and a weak script.
“Everyone tries,” wrote Ed Power for The Telegraph. “Unfortunately, the leads appear to believe they’re in three very different films.”
Natalie Portman starred in the ill-conceived film “Lucy in the Sky” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score:
Summary: The partially biographical drama “Lucy in the Sky” centres around Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman), a head-strong woman who places all of her ambitions on becoming an astronaut and launching into outer space. But when she finally returns home from her epic mission, Lucy feels disillusioned by life on Earth.
Critics called “Lucy in the Sky” an unintentionally funny drama that ultimately failed to convey any semblance of a message.
“Filmmaker Noah Hawley delivers a slow-moving and mostly underwhelming character study that persistently holds the viewer at arms length,” wrote David Nusair for Reel Film Reviews.
Hilary Duff played Sharon Tate in the poorly received flick “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 21%
Summary: Loosely based on the real-life murder of Hollywood actress Sharon Tate, the thriller “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” stars Hilary Duff as the titular heroine, who foresees her death before it’s ordered by infamous cult leader Charles Manson.
Critics called this flick a forgettable schlockfest that felt exploitative of its original subject matter.
“‘The Haunting of Sharon Tate’ deserves the instant obscurity for which it is certainly destined,” wrote Frank Scheck for The Hollywood Reporter.
Matthew McConaughey was the lead of the foggy thriller “Serenity” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 20%
Summary: “Serenity” is a dramatic thriller that tells the story of fishing-boat captain Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) whose tranquil lifestyle is interrupted by his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway), when she bursts into his life begging him to kill her abusive new husband.
The thriller was panned by critics who felt that the stars were saddled with an overwhelmingly campy script.
Independent film critic Patrick Smith wrote: “It’s a sweaty collection of neo-noir motifs, with a twist so seismically stupid that you’re not only left with whiplash but months of intense physiotherapy.”
David Harbour took a crack at playing the demonic protagonist of “Hellboy” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 17%
Summary: In the science-fiction-infused action movie “Hellboy,” David Harbour starred as the titular half-demon, half-human protagonist. The film follows Hellboy as he is tasked with stopping Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) from destroying the world.
“Hellboy” was flooded with poor reviews from film critics, who criticised its structureless plot and forced humour.
“Watching Hellboy is my new personal idea of hell,” Chandler Levack of Globe and Mail wrote.
Critics felt that even Henry Cavill’s performance couldn’t elevate “Night Hunter” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score:
Summary: The psychological thriller “Night Hunter” follows Detective Walter Marshall (Henry Cavill) as he tries to piece together an unsolved murder with the help and hindrance of his local police force and a mysterious vigilante.
Critics were puzzled by the over-the-top thriller, which they said wasted a solid assembly of actors on a dated concept.
“A stellar cast, skilled musical score composers, and a solid set of inspirations combine to little beyond an uninspiring drama at best, or a leery piece of pulp deserving of eyerolls at worst,” wrote Jim Ross for Film Inquiry.
Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson played con artists in the messy comedy “The Hustle” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 14%
Summary: “The Hustle” is a comedy about elite con artist Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway), who makes a living stealing from rich and powerful men. When low-level grifter Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson) comes into Josephine’s life, she offers help in teaching her in the ways of high crime.
“The Hustle” fell flat with critics despite Hathaway and Wilson’s best efforts to glean comedic moments from an overall lacklustre flick.
“Who’s conning who here?”Adam Graham asked in his review for Detroit News. “In ‘The Hustle,’ everyone’s a sucker, most of all the audience.”
Keanu Reeves tried to save his family in “Replicas” (2019) but apparently couldn’t save the film itself.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 9%
Summary: After his entire family is killed in a horrific car accident, genius biologist Will Foster (Keanu Reeves) stops at nothing to bring them back from the brink of death in the science-fiction thriller “Replicas.”
This sci-fi film baffled critics with its thoughtless direction and dragging pace.
As Charles Bramesco wrote for The Guardian,“After what may be one hundred hours, the film does not so much end as it stops, the score’s wrapping-up tone an evident substitute for closure or resolution.”