The cinematic Snow White showdown may turn out to be a one-sided affair. A gothic action version of the classic tale, Snow White and the Huntsman, doesn't arrive until June 1, but the candy-colored family comedy interpretation, Mirror Mirror, hits theaters Friday. If the scathing reviews of the latter are any indication, it's obvious which film will end up being the fairest of them all. Directed by visual wunderkind Tarsem Singh (The Cell) and starring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, Armie Hammer as the prince, and Lily Collins as Snow, Mirror Mirror is easily "the year's worst movie," says Ramin Setoodeh at The Daily Beast. (Watch the trailer below.) The plot centers on the newly-of-age Snow White, who ventures outside the castle for the first time and becomes smitten at first sight with the hunky prince. Unfortunately, her evil stepmother already has her eyes on him, and seethes with jealousy. Hinjinx ensue. Is it really as bad as it looks?
It's dreadful: As the Evil Queen, Roberts goes through a beauty ritual in the film involving "bee stings on her lips, a bite from a scorpion, putting burrs between her toes, and smearing her face with bird poop," says Joe Neumaier at New York's Daily News. That's basically "what it's like to sit through the movie," too. The film is entirely devoid of wit, the sets "seem recycled from some high school theater production," and the queen's mirror resembles a "wooden outhouse adrift in a Dali painting." Mirror Mirror aims to be fun, but it's a charmless bore.
"Julia Roberts doesn't rule as the wicked queen in a dopey Mirror, Mirror"
And a low point for Julia: "If this isn't the single most irritating performance in Roberts' career, I'd be hard-pressed to name what is," says Ty Burr at The Boston Globe. The role couldn't be more poorly-suited for the Oscar-winner, her line-reading is far "too flip [and] too modern" for the fairy tale mood, and she crashes and burns trying to replicate the cartoonishly exaggerated villainy perfected by Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil. Roberts plays one note — sarcasm — in a grating, uneven accent as she relentlessly shrieks about fitting into a corset. "Does the star even know how insulting this role is?"
Oh, come on. It's harmless fun: With "cheeky humor [and] an eccentric sensibility," Mirror Mirror is an "enchanting" re-imagination of the Snow White story, says Claudia Puig at USA Today. Collins is refreshing as Snow White — not the "pushover depicted in the Disney film," but an empowered heroine for youthful audiences to admire. And while a few of the zingers are duds, a scene in which the queen uses a love potion to turn the prince (played gamely by Hammer) into a lovesick puppy is sidesplittingly funny.
"Don't be bashful: Mirror Mirror is happy"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
Subscribe to the Week