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Top 10 Worst Films of 2011

As good as some films in 2011 were, there were also some stinkers – and thankfully we avoided seeing all of them. But over the course of our film-going there were still some unsavoury movies, and some unnecessarily bad ones.

The Green Lantern, for instance, flopped badly, >The Dilemma was a hideous attempt at comedy and Zookeeper, The Smurfs and Spy Kids 4 provided definitive proof that there are as many bad kids’ movies as there are good ones. Oh, and then there’s horror fare such as I Spit On Your Grave to have to endure… but which – if any – make our top 10 turkeys?

A Little Bit of Heaven

10) A Little Bit of Heaven

What’s the story? Marley (Kate Hudson) is a free spirited woman with commitment issues (ie she prefers sleeping around), who eventually falls in love with the doctor (Gael Garcia Bernal) who diagnoses her with terminal cancer.

Why so bad? It’s funny how a film title that promises A Little Bit of Heaven can seem a lot like hell. But that’s the case with this lame new comedy drama, which attempts to marry romantic comedy elements with a death’s door predicament to predictably terrible effect… What ensues is a seemingly interminable mix of rom-com ‘feel-good’ montages, hankie-inducing ‘farewells’ and surreal interludes where Marley gets to ‘visit’ God (in the form of Whoopi Goldberg) for counselling.

Full review

A Little Bit of Heaven

9) Your Highness

What’s the story? Thadeous (Danny McBride) is the put upon brother of good looking warrior hero Fabious (James Franco) who is continually forced to exist in his sibling’s shadow. When Fabious’s love interest Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) is kidnapped by the evil Leezar (Justin Theroux) Thadeous is reluctantly enlisted on the quest to get her back, thereby unlocking the dormant (or stoned) hero within (slowly).

Why so bad? Danny McBride and long-time cohort David Gordon Green’s Your Highness is the type of film that aims low and somehow hits even lower. But not in a good way. Designed as an homage to the fantastical sword and sorcery epics of the ’70s and ’80s (Krull, Beastmaster, etc) with a touch of Monty Python and The Princess Bride thrown in, the film instead winds up a lame, uninspired rip off.

Full review l Danny McBride interview l Photo gallery

Honey 2

8) Honey 2

What’s the story? Maria Ramirez (Katerina Graham) is fresh out of juvenile detention and looking for a fresh start, which she finds helping to look after the dance studio created by Alba’s character in the original. In no time at all, however, she’s been recruited by an aspiring dance group led by Brandon (Randy Wayne) to lead them to success in a forthcoming TV competition.

Why so bad? For the most part dance movies can be relied upon to deliver two things: stereotypical characters and spectacular choreography. Honey 2 delivers plenty of the first but, incredibly, very few of the second. It’s a mind numbing bum ache of a movie that struggles to justify it’s existence on almost any level.

Full review l Melissa Molinaro interview

I Spit On Your Grave

7) I Spit On Your Grave

What’s the story? Young, beautiful writer Jennifer (Sarah Butler) heads out to a secluded lakeside retreat to pen her next novel, only to be subjected to a night of humiliation and gang rape by locals who then leave her for dead.

Why so bad? Watching this film unfold is a very curious experience, not least because it’s impossible to know where the appeal lies, or the entertainment. If the first half is tense, unsettling and every bit as hard to watch as it should be, the second apparently encourages viewers to whoop and cheer as the rapists get their comeuppance. In doing so, the film lessens it’s impact and becomes something akin to a masochistic pantomime.

Full review l Photo gallery


6) Immortals

What’s the story? Loosely inspired by Greek mythology, the film follows the fortunes of Theseus (Henry Cavill) as he fulfils his destiny to stand up to the might of ruthless Titan King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and prevent him from unleashing the rest of the Titans and waging war against humanity and the Olympians above.

Why so bad? Far from offering anything intelligent or visually enticing, Immortals is an ugly, unrelenting affair that falls prey to the same stylistic overkill that bedevilled Singh’s The Cell. Quite simply put, the director seems to have fallen so in love with his visual style that he neglects the notion of the need for a coherent screenplay or the idea that actors should be allowed to act. To make matters worse, his visuals aren’t that great.

Full review l Photo gallery


5) Zookeeper

What’s the story? Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) is an amiable zookeeper whose beach-side proposal at the start of the film is callously turned down by Leslie Bibb’s money-grabber. Heartbroken but undeterred, Griffin vows to win her back by proving that he’s better than his surroundings and enlists the help of sweet (and better suited) zoo vet Kate (Rosario Dawson) to do so. Unwittingly, he also encourages the resident zoo animals to break their vow of silence to help him do so too.

Why so bad? Talking animals in non-animated form remain one of the least appealing cinema prospects. Kevin James making a prat of himself perhaps even less so. Frank Coraci’s Zookeeper combines both to wholly depressing effect… unless you’re under 10 and have never seen another movie before!

Full review l Frank Coraci interview

Just Go With It

4) Just Go With It

What’s the story? Danny (Adam Sandler) is a plastic surgeon who keeps a wedding ring on his finger to lure buxom young women into one night stands. When he falls for his latest (Brooklyn Decker’s Palmer), he must ask lowly assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his soon to be ex wife, complete with her kids, so that he can get out of the lie. In doing so, everyone heads to Hawaii where Sandler’s surgeon slowly comes to realise he’s chasing the wrong girl.

Why so bad? Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston have, separately, contributed to some of the worst comedies in recent screen memory. We’re talking Grown Ups, The Bounty Hunter, Chuck and Larry and Rumour Has It. It’s little wonder that their on-screen union should prove every bit as much of a crime against comedy. Even the name could be read as an apology!

Full review l Photo gallery

Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World in 4D

3) Spy Kids 4: All The Time in The World 4D

What’s the story? A retired spy (Jessica Alba) is called back into action, and to bond with her new step-children, she invites them along for the adventure to stop the evil Timekeeper from taking over the world.

Why so bad? You can almost hear the clock ticking as time runs out for Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids franchise by virtue of the desperately poor quality of this latest 4D instalment… Nothing about the film works, whether it’s the tacky opening sequence involving heavily pregnant Jessica Alba’s mother spy chasing down bad guys mid-contractions, or a new set of ultra-pretentious young spies putting paid to plans by a mystery villain known as The Timekeeper to turn back time or stop time in its tracks.

Full review

The Three Musketeers

2) The Three Musketeers in 3D

What’s the story? The hot-headed young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.

Why so bad? There’s a great line in The Shawshank Redemption where an inmate inadvertently picks up a copy of one of Alexandre Dumas’ books and refers to the author as ‘Dumb-ass’. It comes to mind when considering Paul WS Anderson’s revival of The Three Musketeers as this is definitely a film that puts the ‘dumb-ass’ in Dumas… The final insult, meanwhile, comes in the form of an open ending that sees Anderson setting things up for the inevitable sequel – inevitable only because this guy seems to be able to keep creating franchises with no critical backing at all.

Full review l Paul WS Anderson interview l Photo gallery

Sucker Punch

1) Sucker Punch

What’s the story? Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is a plucky teenager who is sent to an asylum by her abusive stepdad following the death of her mother and an accident involving her younger sister. Once there, she is due to be labotomised so that evidence of the former’s misdeeds can never come to light. But Babydoll has other ideas and plans to escape by enlisting the help of some fellow patients (including Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone and Vanessa Hudgens) and entering an alternative reality powered by her imagination. She then must gather five items in order to make good her plan.

Why so bad? Zack Snyder’s first film derived from his own screenplay is, already, one of the worst films of the year. Loud, nonsensical, repetitive and ultimately pointless Sucker Punch also has the dubious distinction of being utterly tasteless. The British censors should take a hit, too, for allowing a film that relies so heavily on the threat of sexual violence and pervy male rape fantasies to be given a 12A certificate.

Full review l Emily Browning interview l Zack Snyder interview l Photo gallery

Top 20 best films of 2011