Most reviewers have concluded that Captain Corelli's Mandolin needs to be retuned. Jay Carr's observation in the Boston Globe that "it isn't nearly the film it could have been" is echoed by numerous critics. Many others, while decrying the performances by Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, indicate that they are almost offset by the photography of the Greek isles. "The real star is the cinematographer, John Toll," Joe Morgenstern observes in his review, adding, "There isn't a bad shot in the movie. Or a well-written scene." And Stephen Holden in the New York Times recommends: "If you've been longing to visit the Greek islands but haven't the time or money to make the journey, you could do worse than spend a couple of hours soaking up the scenery in Captain Corelli's Mandolin." Bob Longino in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution also admires the scenery in the movie but concludes, "Ultimately, very little about Mandolin is not in some way disappointing." The film does receive a few okay notices. Michael Wilmington in the Chicago Tribune, for example, writes: "Even though it doesn't measure up to [the original novel], Captain Corelli's Mandolin is still a richer and more worthwhile entertainment than most of this summer's dumbed-down releases."
Positioned as an alternative to the dinosaurs, America's Sweethearts, starring John Cusack, Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Crystal, is receiving few love notes from critics. "There are only human monsters in America's Sweethearts," comments Edward Jay Epstein in the Wall Street Journal, "but they are mostly cuddly, too, although harder to merchandise as dolls." The problem, most reviewers say, is not the star-studded cast -- which also includes Alan Arkin, Seth Green, Christopher Walken and Hank Azaria -- but in the script. "Like a bottle of lukewarm champagne -- an expensive one, judging by the label," A.O. Scott observes in the New York Times, "America's Sweethearts opens with a promising burst of effervescence and quickly goes flat." Later, he remarks that Cusack and Roberts, in their romantic scenes, are forced to "fall back on familiar quirks and twitches in the absence of strong writing." Geoff Pevere in the Toronto Star uses such words as "tryingly bland," "drab," and "slackly timid" to describe the movie. "America's Sweethearts would have been greatly helped by some rat-a-tat banter," writes Francesca Chapman in the Philadelphia Daily News, "but instead you get blather, and plenty of it." But Bob Longino of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is one of several critics who halfheartedly recommend it. "It's still a perfectly pleasant time at the movies," he observes. "America's Sweethearts isn't a flop," says Jay Carr in the Boston Globe. "It's just not as entertaining as one had hoped it would be, given its high-powered cast." Lou Lumenick in the New York Post also aligns himself with the ho-hummers: "As undemanding summer movies go, America's Sweethearts is surprisingly funny and sweet, despite some missed comic opportunities," he comments. And Kenneth Turan concludes in the Los Angeles Times that the film "is entertaining as far as it goes, but it just hasn't figured out how to go far enough."
Judging from critics' comments, Angel Eyes was calculated to appeal to men as a cop thriller (with the sexy Jennifer Lopez as the cop) and to women as a weepy love story. The critics disagree on how well the filmmakers have been able to make such a hybrid viable. Clearly (male) critic Jonathan Foreman in the New York Post wasn't reaching for the Kleenex. "During an endless, maudlin last act, it becomes more and more difficult not to laugh -- or barf -- as the protagonists tearfully come to terms with their issues," he writes. (Female) Rita Kempley begins her review in the Washington Post this way: "When she's not slamming thugs the size of sumo wrestlers upside the hood of her squad car, Jennifer Lopez's butt-busting heroine in Angel Eyes is boo-hoo-hooing in the privacy of her lonely room. J-Lo is Jell-O on the inside. Sniff." On the other hand, Ray Conlogue in the Toronto Globe and Mail describes the film as "a smoothly written romantic film which has the discipline to avoid what its producer Mark Canton calls the 'otherworldly forces' (ghosts, angels) which have infected recent popular romances like City of Angels and Ghost." Jay Carr, also describes the movie positively for the most part. It's "a billowy romance that has date movie written all over it," he writes. "This is a surprisingly effective film," says Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. "For what it is, [it's] not bad," Bob Longino remarks in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Michael Wilmington in the Chicago Tribune, however, has a less benevolent attitude -- perhaps because it is set in Chicago. The movie, he says, "tries to pump real emotions into a never-never Chicago that has been glamorized and thrillerized almost out of recognition. It's not the usual kind of big-studio mediocrity. It's a slicker sellout, full of phony-sounding greeting-card idealism."