In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'Long Shot,' 'Uglydolls,' 'El Chicano'

12:43 PM 5/3/2019

by Jasmyne Bell

Read on to see what The Hollywood Reporter's critics said about this weekend's releases.

Long Shot Still 3 - Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Lionsgate

This Friday is filled with new titles for audiences to enjoy.

Comedy fans can head to theaters to enjoy Long Shot, a story that follows the unexpected pairing of a journalist (Seth Rogen) and a presidential candidate (Charlize Theron). Others can have a family night out to go watch UglyDolls, a fun story based off the early-2000s plush toys.

Other movies opening this weekend include El Chicano, a story of a Latinx superhero who must choose between playing by the book or establishing justice for his deceased brother; and The Intruder, a thriller starring Michael Ealy, Meagan Good and Dennis Quaid.

Read below to check out The Hollywood Reporter's critics reviews for this weekend's releases.

  • 'Ask Dr. Ruth'

    Ask Dr. Ruth tells the incredible story of the life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America's most famous sex therapist. As she approaches her 90th birthday, Ruth shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Audiences will be able to see how she revisits her dark past and how she came to be one of the most influential people in the conversation of sexuality.

    "After Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the unexpected sensation of last winter's Sundance Film Festival, there's a temptation to look for the next diminutive Semitic firebrand, a worthy successor as liberal icon and loving bubbe," says THR critic Daniel Feinberg. "Into that fray marches Ryan White's new documentary Ask Dr. Ruth, which ably and reasonably positions Dr. Ruth Westheimer to be something like the Ruth Bader Ginsburg of sex."

  • 'El Chicano'

    In El Chicano, L.A.P.D. Detective David Hernandez (Raul Castillo) is assigned to a potentially career-making case that involves the investigation of a ruthless cartel. While investigating, he finds pieces of the case that link to his brother's death and a turf battle that might swallow his town. When Hernandez finds himself torn between following rules or seeking out justice, he revives the street legend of El Chicano. Determined to thwart his childhood friend turned gangster, he will stop at nothing to save his neighborhood and avenge his brother's death.

    "El Chicano is being referred to as the first Latino superhero movie, but that's a bit of a stretch. Yes, the main character dons a mask and doles out justice. But the film, marking Ben Hernandez Bray's directorial debut, is mainly a violent police procedural and vigilante drama that succeeds well enough on those terms," writes THR critic Frank Scheck. "It's also notable for its almost entirely Latino cast and deep immersion into East Los Angeles culture. The pic certainly looks authentic, despite the fact that it was largely shot in Calgary."

  • 'The Intruder'

    The Intruder is a thriller that follows the story of a young couple (Michael Ealy and Meagan Good) who buy their dream home in Napa Valley. What they think is the perfect next step to starting a family turns out to be their worst nightmare. The bizarre seller (Dennis Quaid) shows a strange attachment to the home and continues to show up, causing them to question their safety. 

    "Silent stalking does eventually give way to action, with a nice twist that would be more satisfying if Taylor hadn't telegraphed it in so many shots. Quaid occasionally resembles Malcolm McDowell as a Z-grade horror villain, but the film isn't ready to launch him into over-the-top trashy glory," writes THR's John DeFore. "Taylor gets a couple of cheap crowd reactions when he has Quaid chop through a door like Jack Nicholson or lick Good's torso while Annie's unconscious. But these lurid moments arrive too late to make The Intruder feel like it belongs in a genre where so many former residents have made themselves at home."

  • 'Long Shot'

    Long Shot follows Fred (Seth Rogen), a free-spirited journalist who reconnects with his childhood crush and former babysitter, Charlotte (Charlize Theron), who is now Secretary of State and running for president. When he begins to gain her friendship through quirky humor and reminiscing about their fun memories together, Charlotte impulsively decides that she wants him to be her speech writer for her presidential campaign. As Fred adapts to life on the road with Charlotte, their chemistry becomes stronger while running into strange and unexpected incidents.

    "Very funny whatever you think of its more old-fashioned notions, the picture will charm many viewers who can set implausibility aside for a while; it's certainly the most commercial film yet by The Wackness director Levine," writes THR's John DeFore.

  • 'Meeting Gorbachev'

    Meeting Gorbachev is a documentary that celebrates the excellence of Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the U.S.S.R. Co-director Werner Herzog is also the onscreen interviewer, and strives to celebrate Gorbachev's three incredible accomplishments: negotiations with the U.S. to reduce nuclear weapons; cessation of Soviet control of Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. Herzog and co-director André Singer remind us about the importance of remembering history and learning to grow from it.

    "Werner Herzog has directed documentaries all over the world. His latest, presented appropriately enough at the Werner Herzog Theatre in Telluride, is not his most visually striking (since it is composed primarily of talking heads), but it is certainly one of his most pertinent and fascinating," writes THR's Stephen Farber.

  • 'Non-Fiction'

    Set in the Parisian publishing world, Non-Fiction follows the mishaps that occur when a writer draws on his real-life love affairs to pen his new novel. Juliette Binoche and Guillame Canet reunite with acclaimed director Olivier Assayas for this witty story of romance, sex and literature.

    The Hollywood Reporter's Jon Frosch comments on the film, "Non-Fiction has neither the sublime wistfulness of Summer Hours nor the luscious mysteriousness of Clouds. Its tone tends toward the farcical, and the pacing is so brisk that one might miss the intricacy of its narrative design, the intelligence with which it unravels its ideas and the sinuous grace of Assayas’ filmmaking."

  • 'Savage'

    In Savage, a policeman finds himself in dangerous weather conditions at the top of a mountain while waiting for help to arrive. When a group of bandits show up at the station in search of shelter, both sides fight to survive.

    "Chinese and international viewers will probably embrace the film simply for its powerful vistas and simple, accessible plot," writes THR critic Clarence Tsui. "The onscreen presence of critical darlings such as Chang Chen (The Grandmaster, The Assassin) and Liao Fan (a Berlin award-winner with Black Coal, Thin Ice and the star of Jia Zhangke's Ash Is the Purest White) should secure Savage some robust business on the festival circuit."

  • 'UglyDolls'

    Inspired by the plush toys created by David Horvath and Sun-min Kim in 2001, UglyDolls is set in the fictional world of Uglyville, where being strange is something worth celebrating. Here, Moxy (voice of Kelly Clarkson) and her friends live joyful lives and celebrate the endless possibilities in a new day. When they embark on a journey outside the comfortable confines of Uglyville, they find what it means to be different, struggle with the desire for acceptance and ultimately discover that perfection doesn't exist.

    THR critic Keith Uhlich comments on the animated film: "Robert Rodriguez, who knows his way around spy kids, sharkboys and lavagirls, was signed to direct. Stuff happened, as it always does, and Rodriguez left the project (he remains a credited producer). Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Smurfs: The Lost Village auteur Kelly Asbury replaced him. Finally, nearly eight years on from the signing of all the brand extension contracts, here is the primarily pop-star-voiced animated musical UglyDolls, an imbecilic eyesore that could lay claim to being one of the worst movies ever made if it was worth such hyperbole."