SHREK 221 May 2004 (StudioBriefing)
The leading newspaper critics are divided into three more-or-less equal camps overShrek 2
: those who are delighted with the film; those who believe it fails to generate the charm of the original but who find it entertaining nonetheless; and those who take the position that the latest Shrek is dreck. Among the first group is Claudia Puig of USA Today, who bestows four stars on the film and finds it to be "just as funny, sweet and engaging as the first film."Jami Bernard
in the New York Daily News writes: "Things keep getting better right through an inspiredHollywood musical ending, full of exuberance and creative charm." John Anderson in Newsday comments: "You certainly don't need a child to go see Shrek 2, in other words. You'll be one when you come out." Rick Groen's summation in the Toronto Globe and Mail is almost certain to be pasted into the ads for the movie: "An ogre for the ages ... all ages." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post describes the movie as "so gorgeously animated and so thoroughly entertaining for all ages that only an ogre would complain it's not quite as fresh as the original." But complain they do.
Heading up the group of benign grumblers is A.O. Scott of the New York Times, who writes that the film "tries to compensate for potential lost novelty by taking everything people liked about the original and adding more. ... [It's] a slick and playful entertainment that remains carefully inoffensive ... but I don't really love it." Stephen Hunter in the Washington Post reaches pretty much the same conclusion: "Very pretty to look at, very hard to care for," he writes. Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune, while awarding the film 3 1/2 stars, observes that "the repurposing of fairy-tale characters doesn't feel as fresh the second time around." Eric Harrison in the Houston Chronicle virtually echoes those words, writing: "The continuing adventures of Shrek, Fiona and Donkey build on what worked in the first film, but the lack of fresh material hurts the sequel."Ty Burr
in the Boston Globe acknowledges that there are hints of "the fizzy, shallow, pun-strewn lunacy that eventually lifts Shrek 2 to within sight of the original film."Roger Ebert
in the Chicago Sun-Times allows that "perhaps I would have liked Shrek 2 more if the first film had never existed. But I'll never know." Among the third group of critics -- those who felt less than enchanted about the movie -- is Michael Sragow of theBaltimore Sun who sums up the film as "smarm masquerading as satire. ... The helter-skelter story and throwaway gags emerge from a sensibility that confuses gossipy knowingness and jadedness with wit."