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January 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Broken City, starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, is getting a tongue-lashing (or word processor-lashing) from most critics, but a few are willing to cut it some slack. “I can’t tell you with a straight face Broken City is ‘any good,'” writes Richard Roeper in the Chicago Sun-Times, “but I can make the case you’ll have a good time even when the screenplay is breaking bad.” Ty Burr in the Boston Globe gives it this left-handed compliment: “You could do worse on a slow Saturday night when there’s nothing else on cable.” Mick LaSalle concludes in the San Francisco Chronicle that, by the end, Broken City “shakes down as both intermittently colorful and reasonably amusing, but as an empty exercise.” And Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune writes that for the first hour, director Allen Hughes “maintains a firm handle on the story’s turnabouts. Then the script goes a little nuts with coincidence and improbability.” Only Mark Wahlberg emerges from the reviews relatively unscathed. Steven Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that he brings “muscular conviction to his troubled, tough-guy role. The city may be broken, but the movie star’s formula is working fine.” Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News comments that Wahlberg “keeps the story watchable. But even he can’t fix what’s irreversibly broken.” And Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal observes, “The only reason to see this dreary parade of deception and venality is Mark Wahlberg’s performance.” Crowe, on the other hand, is getting some reviews that are more scathing than those he received for his performance in Les Misérables. Crowe plays the mayor of New York, who is running for a third term, but Lisa Kennedy remarks in the Denver Post: “The way Crowe plays him, it’s hard to imagine him getting elected once.” And Scott Foundas in the Village Voice observes that “the actors look generally unhappy to be here, most of all Crowe, who seems even more miserable than he did in Les Misérables.”