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FULL FRONTAL


"...perhaps the most naO^vely awful movie I've seen from the hand of a major director...Actors play actors who are making a movie within the movie, and half the time we can't tell whether we're in the inner or the outer movie or why we should care...'Full Frontal' is the sort of arbitrary mess that gives experimentation a bad name...[Soderbergh] may have wanted to throw everyone off his back--the industry that always wants success, the critics who always want art, and the audience that always wants something it can enjoy. I think I can safely say that he achieved his ambition on all three counts." --David Denby, The New Yorker

"Like the digital cinematography, much of the acting has a show-offy roughness as the performers pause, stammer and mumble to show us how hard they are not acting...'Full Frontal' could almost be classified as a movie-industry satire, but it lacks the generous inclusiveness that is the genre's definitive, if disingenuous, feature. A movie like Robert Altman's 'Player' flatters you with the illusion of insiderhood, which Mr. Soderbergh coldly dismisses. If you are not in this movie, there is no place for you in this movie." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"After a few epic-size Hollywood films ('Erin Brockovich,' 'Traffic,' 'Ocean's Eleven'), director Steven Soderbergh has gone small. 'Full Frontal,' his terrific new movie, is intimate and innovative... A tale of articulate people with the gift of hurting the ones they care about, 'Full Frontal' reminds viewers that there's room for stories about grownups--their wayward loves; their career blips; their relation to the media maw; their takes on race, pets, outsize vibrators and Brad Pitt--told with inventive wit in a dozen distinctive voices... imagine the coolest cocktail conversation, then put it in a movie." --Richard Corliss, Time

"...a boring, amateurish, incomprehensible and stupefyingly pretentious pile of swill...the most deluded piece of crap since 'Mulholland Drive,' only it seems twice as long and half as interesting...it falls apart in the first five minutes. Everything after that is a week's vacation in Kabul...a vast number of performers who should've known better prove Hitchcock's theory that actors are nothing more than cows you lead through a fence... Mouthing superficial baloney, none of them has any talent for improvisation, and the incoherent jumble they babble is so annoying it makes you think of pain-management clinics....If this is what Hollywood people are like, no wonder their movies are so lousy." --Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"Art struggles against commerce in this sodden ensemble experiment--but to what end? ...Full Frontal,' which the director shot pseudonymously, mainly on digital video and in single takes, belies the larkiness of Soderbergh's crime films--it's a petulant slap in the face of public taste...'Full Frontal' aspires to Hollywood art film. But unlike 'Magnolia' or 'Mulholland Drive,' it doesn't offer an audience much incentive to tease out its ambiguities...Soderbergh is as conceptually sloppy as his camera is pitiless...The movie is pure inside baseball--so pure it turns inside out and vanishes up its own orifice." --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"... a post-'Ocean's Eleven' lark in which the influential and voraciously gifted filmmaker rewards himself for having changed all the rules of indie-versus-studio movies by messing around with a camera...This is all fun; certainly it keeps us admiring the director's talent for invention and excited by the liberated performances of so many favorite actors jazzed by Soderbergh's trust in their instincts. The movie would be more rewarding, however, and less of a self-contained exercise in style (and performance), were it not so besotted with its own delights and tricks...It's a low-budget, late-night game of strip poker hosted by a really smart guy who still can't quite believe how much the popular kids now want to sit at his table." --Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"The seven major characters in 'Full Frontal' constitute an interconnected cross-section of showbiz types...Try as I may, I cannot add these seven characters up to make any sort of adequate dramatic, sociological or satiric paradigm; I quite simply didn't get it...The parts are very unevenly written, with Mr. Underwood shining in a well-delivered riff on the history, paradoxes and incongruities of black actors in Hollywood... So what was the film really about? I'll have to wait for colleagues wiser than me to explain everything." --Andrew Sarris, The New York Observer