Special Report

R-rated Movies America Loved, But Critics Hated

In recent years, the gap between audience and critic scores of new movies has been widening, with audiences favoring blockbusters more than reviewers do, according to Bloomberg,. Many films that are commercial successes and beloved by viewers are nevertheless lambasted by critics. (The opposite is also true. Here’s a list of R-rated movies loved by critics, hated by everybody else.)

To compile a list of R-rated movies America loved but critics hated, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience and critical reception from Rotten Tomatoes. R-rated movies were ranked based on the difference between each one’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score and Tomatometer (cumulative critics’) score. Only movies with an audience score of 75% or higher and a Tomatometer score less than 50% as of April 2023 were considered. Movies must also have at least 1,000 Rotten Tomatoes audience reviews, 10 Tomatometer critic reviews, and 10,000 user votes on IMDb. Documentaries were not considered. Cast and director credits are from IMDb.

Action movies, dramas, and thrillers are all represented, but comedies dominate the list. Many of these have developed a cult following, including “Super Troopers,” a slapstick comedy about a Vermont state police force; the teen-comedy parody “Wet Hot American Summer;” and the dark crime comedy “Party Monster,” a tale of depravity, excess, and murder based on the true story of New York club kid Michael Allig. (These are the highest-grossing R-rated comedies of all time.)

Click here for a list of 40 R-rated movies America loved, but critics hated

Also featured are stoner cult classics including “Half Baked” and both “Friday” sequels, “Next Friday” and “Friday After Next,” as well as Paris Barclay’s directorial debut, the 1996 parody of Black culture “Don’t Be a Menace,” starring Shawn and Marlon Wayans. Other notable Black directors whose films were loved more by audiences than by critics, include John Singleton, F. Gary Gray, and George Tillman, Jr.

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