FUNNY GAMES - director Michael Haneke's Americanized remake of his German film of the same title - opens in limited engagements today. Naomi Watts and Tim Roth star as a married couple on vacation who are abused and tortured by two grinning psychopaths, apparently in an attempt to deliver some kind of message about on-screen violence.
The film has earned a 52% approval rating in a survey of 48 reviews (25 fresh, 23 rotten) at Rotten Tomatoes. The responses seem to be divided between critics who "liked" the film because they think it is putting down films they don't like (e.g., HOSTEL) and those who see it simply as another example of one of those films they dislike.
"A fascinating meditation on the commercialization of violence in popular culture that will shock even the most jaded moviegoers into contemplating what they look for in mass entertainment." Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
"The only real torture here is the one Haneke inflicts on the audience." - Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
"A chilly and extraordinarily controlled treatise on film violence, Funny Gamespunishes the audience for its casual bloodlust by giving it all the sickening torture and mayhem it could possibly desire. Neat trick, that." - Scott Tobias, Onion AV Club
"The appalling sadism it eagerly employs in the name of, well, decrying sadism, becomes all the more infuriating when Funny Gamesrepeatedly tells us it's for our own good." - Rob Vaux - Flipside Movie Emporium
"Either one subscribes to Haneke's breathless nihilism and sarcasm or you give up immediately and write the whole thing off as another Eurotrash director masturbating with his camera...my personal choice is a nap." - Brian Orndor - BrianOrndor.com