Before buying tickets to a movie, I’ll always take a gander at what Rotten Tomatoes has to say about it. I know the popular movie rating site won’t always accurately predict which movies I’ll enjoy, but it has the power to sway me — I typically won’t see anything with a considerably low score.
Rotten Tomatoes allows critics and audiences to rate movies separately, and both scores are usually within 10% of each other. But audiences and critics don’t always agree on the movies that deserve a high score.
Simply put, we can’t always trust the harsh opinions of critics.
Here are 10 movies that audiences loved despite poor reviews from critics.
1. ‘National Treasure’ (2004)
Historian Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) is searching for a treasure that dates back to the beginning of the United States and he begins a wild chase to find it — but this adventure movie wasn’t exciting to critics, who panned it as “moronic,” per Empire.
Key critic quote: “This movie couldn’t be more stale if it’d been dug up by archaeologists,” wrote the BBC.
Critic Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 46%.
Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes: 76%.
2. ‘Tommy Boy’ (1995)
In this comedy, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory and his sentimental connection prompts an attempt to keep the business afloat.
Comedic duo Chris Farley and David Spade made audiences laugh, but critics slammed the movie as “cliche” and “stupid.”
Key critic quote: “‘Tommy Boy,’ the latest in a relentless stream of movies cranked out by the ‘Saturday Night Live’ machine, is the very poor cousin of a dopey Jim Carrey movie,” wrote The New York Times.
Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes: 41%.
Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes: 90%.
3. ‘Big Daddy’ (1999)
Sonny (Adam Sandler) has avoided responsibility his entire life. But once his girlfriend dumps him for a more mature man, he adopts a 5-year-old (Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse) to prove he can handle responsibility.
“Big Daddy” just wasn’t as funny as critics expected of a Sandler movie. The Herald Sun called it “so-so Adam Sandler.”
Key critic quote: “It’s a flimsy sentimental comedy with more product plugs and fewer laughs than might have been hoped for,” wrote The New York Times.
Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes: 39%.
Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes: 74%.
4. ‘Black Adam’ (2022)
Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson) becomes “Black Adam” when he is bestowed with almighty powers from ancient gods. The premise sounds interesting — but according to critics, this is just another stale DC superhero movie. The Wrap boldly called the movie “anti-entertaining” and IGN found the plot “repetitive.”
Key critic quote: “Watching an action movie shouldn’t feel like a chore, but Black Adam does,” wrote Mashable.
Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes: 38%.
Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes: 88%.
5. ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ (2002)
New York City fashion designer Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) is engaged to New York’s most eligible bachelor (Patrick Dempsey), but before she can marry him she needs to finalize a divorce with her estranged husband in her Alabama hometown.
One of the only positive things critics could note about “Sweet Home Alabama” was the presence of Witherspoon — “Witherspoon’s charm keeps this movie afloat,” wrote Common Sense Media.
Key critic quote: “Most of the appeal in ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ comes from its star, Reese Witherspoon. ... Unfortunately, that’s virtually its only real merit,” wrote IGN. “So what we’re left with is a predictable set-up and a thoroughly routine execution.”
Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes: 38%.
Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes: 78%.
6. ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ (2022)
Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is abandoned as a young child and becomes her South Carolina town’s outcast. After the death of former star quarterback Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson), Kya is cast by the community as the prime suspect.
The film adaptation of “Where the Crawdads Sing” didn’t live up to the bestselling novel, according to critics. Critics slammed the movie for its “beautifying effects,” which they said were not authentic to the book.
Key critic quote: “A flat, flair-free and uninspiring adaptation,” wrote Empire. “The loose, feeble attempt at courtroom drama is nowhere near gripping enough to make it a setting we’re keen to return to.”
Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes: 34%.
Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes: 96%.
7. ‘Venom’ (2018)
In an attempt to take down Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), the founder of the Life Foundation, journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) merges with the alien Venom — giving Eddie supernatural abilities.
According to critics, the action movie was missing the “bite” expected from a Venom story, which resulted in a “poisonously dull” movie.
Key critic quote: “Tom Hardy and a massively overqualified cast, including Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed, have been reduced to putting on a clown-show for kiddies in a shameless corporate product where the creativity stopped with the balance sheet. This year gave us the best and most imaginative Marvel film in ‘Black Panther.’ Now we have the worst,” said Rolling Stone.
Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes: 30%.
Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes: 80%.
8. ‘Hook’ (1991)
Critics weren’t impressed with how “Hook,” starring Robin Williams, retells the story of Peter Pan. The Chicago Tribune called the plot “woefully uneven” and a “tiresome bore.”
Key critic quote: “Despite the cascade of wondrous special effects, massive battles between the kids and pirates and face-offs between Pan and Hook, the film doesn’t truly take flight,” said Variety.
Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes: 29%.
Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes: 76%.
9. ‘Step Up’ (2006)
Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) is sentenced to 200 hours of community service. While mopping floors at a school for arts, Tyler’s hip-hop talent is discovered by a ballet student who ropes him into her performance.
Fans of the genre enjoyed this teen drama, but according to The Guardian, “Step Up” is a “cliche-ridden movie.”
Key critic quote: “It’s the usual case of great dancing, bad acting and even worse dialogue in this very guilty pleasure for fans of the genre,” according to Empire.
Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes: 21%.
Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes: 83%.
10. ‘Grown Ups’ (2010)
Picking up where they left off, four longtime friends (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade) reunite with their families for a Fourth of July weekend.
Comedic legends Sandler, Maya Rudolph, Rock and Spade couldn’t make critics laugh like audiences, because the “Grown Ups” humor is made up of “cheap jokes and crude gags,” according to Decider.
Key critic quote: “If root canal surgery feels too childish a torment, may we direct your attention to this ghastly celebrity roast in the guise of a boisterous family comedy,” The Guardian reported.
Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes: 11%.
Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes: 62%.