Or maybe movie advertisers intentionally misquoted the reviewer.
According to Mark Cappoletty, freelance film critic for multiple online and radio news services, misquoting or clever editing of reviews is a movie advertiser's favorite trick. "The advertisers never just make up a positive review or pick out bits of an entirely negative piece," the L.A.-based Cappoletty explains. "If a critic really tears a movie apart, advertisers and movie PR people steer clear of it. Why call attention to the abuse? But if a critic blasts 90 percent of a film and likes one aspect of it, that's when advertisers can play around.
"It's happened to me," Cappoletty adds, "and it really upset me. I wondered how many people would be duped into seeing a stinker because of my words - and how many readers would leave the theater thinking I was an idiot." Cappoletty notes, for example, that he might find the next English period piece utterly horrible except for the "beautiful" costumes. That leaves the door open for the advertisers to trumpet: "BEAUTIFUL!"
Michael Orsi, a publicist at Fox, argues, "It's not our job to judge the quality of the films we promote. We have to present a positive image for those pictures." Quite.
Is this minor mendacity widespread? Scott Renshaw, a Salt Lake City film critic, writes reviews for several print and Internet publications. "I've never been misquoted in a film's promotional advertisements or seen a falsified review credited to me," he says. "I have seen selected quotes pulled out for review on archived or indexed Internet sites. Occasionally, I have found the quote less than ideally representative." But he adds that the offense is usually not worth "raising a stink over."
Nonetheless, it can't hurt to take those critical bullet points with a grain of popcorn salt.