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Are Hugh Jackman's Worst Movies Still Worth Watching?

From the sleight-of-hand mystery of "The Prestige" to the slicing and dicing in the "X-Men" movies, Hugh Jackman's films know how to put smiles on the audience's faces. Well, almost. Much like any other actor in the world, the Australian-born performer possesses his own share of flops in his filmography. After all, who could ever forget the 14 circles of Hell in "Movie 43" or the charmless "RoboCop" rip-off known as "Chappie"? 

While we hope all the cheddar for those Rotten Tomatoes-certified stinkers was worth it in the end, time does heal all wounds. Viewers and critics often look back and yearn for simpler times — or maybe they see the entire "Madea" universe in full force and regret ever being harsh to the likes of "Van Helsing" in the first place. Either way, people have come to the conclusion that some of Jackman's lesser-celebrated movies aren't that bad. Sure, they might not be mentioned in the same breath as cinema classics like "Citizen Kane," "Titanic," and "The Wrong Missy," but they are still entertaining and worth watching — of course, not every single dud, but most of them.

So let's take a look back at Jackman's worst movies, according to the critical scores on Rotten Tomatoes, and see if they're worth the time of day or if everyone needs to stock up on holy water and call Father Merrin to prevent these celluloid demons from entering our homes ever again.

Movie 43 still burns the eyes

On paper, 2013's "Movie 43" sounded like an intriguing premise: A comedy anthology film helmed by filmmakers such as James Gunn, Elizabeth Banks, Bob Odenkirk, and Peter Farrelly. What could go wrong? Absolutely everything, apparently, as it joins the infamous list of terrible movies everyone assumed would be great. Sitting on a 5% critical approval rating score on Rotten Tomatoes, people would be hard-pressed to find anyone who enjoyed what Screen-Space dubbed "a grotesque spectacle."

Hugh Jackman stars in the Farrelly-directed segment, titled "The Catch," as the handsome Davis, who heads out on a date with Kate Winslet's Beth at a restaurant. To Beth's horror, Davis takes off his scarf to show off a pair of testicles hanging from his neck, which becomes the expected topic of conversation — and the punchline of the jokes — for the rest of the evening. Yeah, it's a ballsy story, to put it plainly, but someone forgot to include the actual comedy in the script here.

While it's admirable that Jackman would sign up for such a risky role, this should have been an unequivocal "no" from the start. Alternative Lens' Jenny Heaton agrees with this sentiment, writing: "I am sincerely disappointed with everyone involved in this travesty and they should have all known better."

Deception is predictable but captivating

In Marcel Langenegger's 2008 erotic thriller "Deception," Hugh Jackman plays lawyer Wyatt Bose, who befriends an accountant named Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor). Through a series of events, Wyatt introduces Jonathan to an illustrious club that specializes in the pleasures of the flesh. However, matters take a turn for the worse when Jonathan falls for a mysterious lady known only as S (Michelle Williams).

Although "Deception" plays out exactly how anyone anticipates an erotic thriller to go after studying Shannon Tweed's entire filmography ad nauseum, it more than makes up for the predictability in other areas, as ReelTalk Movie Reviews' Betty Jo Tucker stressed. "'Deception' may be flawed, but brilliant performances by Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams held me spellbound throughout this predictable romantic thriller," Tucker wrote. 

While TV Guide's Maitland McDonagh said that "Deception" lacked in certain areas, McDonagh also found that "Jackman and McGregor are a delight to watch as, respectively, the amoral tempter and the mild-mannered victim forced to stop quavering and find his killer instinct." In retrospect, the 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes might be a tad harsh for this deceptive gem in Jackman's body of work.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan hits right in the emotions

Based on the Lisa See novel of the same name and directed by Wayne Wang, 2011's "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" tells two parallel stories that explore the meaning of friendship between Snow Flower/Sophia (Gianna Jun) and Lily/Nina (Li Bingbing). The film hits right in the feels as it confirms that no matter how no big life's obstacles or demands are, special relationships transcend it all. Hugh Jackman plays a small role as Arthur here, with his most memorable scene featuring him belting out a song. 

Despite the tug-at-the-heart-strings appeal, the drama didn't score too high with critics, receiving only 22% approval on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, it wasn't a universally beloved feature, but "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" still holds merit for those who want a side of tears with their popcorn. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt noted that "[t]he heart of the movie is about female loyalty and love that know[s] no bounds," while The Age's Jim Schembri lavished praise on it, calling the movie "[a] quality arthouse film, beautifully photographed and very well acted." Just don't go into "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" expecting to see too much of Jackman.

Van Helsing should have started a cinematic universe

2004 was a strange year for film, as "Shrek 2" proved to be the highest-grossing movie of the year in the U.S. Yet despite the love for the grumpy ogre and other films like "Spider-Man 2" and "The Incredibles," audiences and critics turned up their noses at Stephen Sommers' magnum opus "Van Helsing." The action-packed riff on a creature feature sees Hugh Jackman play monster hunter Gabriel Van Helsing, who takes on werewolves, vampires, and even the master bloodsucker himself (Dracula, not Morbius). In short, it's like superhero movie mayhem but with monsters as antagonists.

"Van Helsing" splattered to a 24% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, but certain reviewers appreciated it for what it was and didn't expect "Casablanca" from a movie where a guy wears a spiffy hat and chases down sinister beasts for reasons. The esteemed Roger Ebert recognized this, calling it "silly and spectacular, and fun" in his three-star review.

In a retrospective look at the movie, Esquire's Dom Nero suggested that "Van Helsing" should have kicked off a cinematic universe back in 2004 while making valid points about the overall franchise potential of the premise, because who wouldn't want to see more of Jackman's Van Helsing battling a variety of classic Universal Monsters?

Pan shines whenever Hugh Jackman appears

Hollywood loves the story of Peter Pan for some inexplicable reason. From "Hook" to "Finding Neverland," there's an obsession with adapting and re-adapting every aspect of J. M. Barrie's classic tale. In 2015, director Joe Wright took a stab at the mythology with "Pan," which serves as an origin story of how Peter Pan (Levi Miller) found his way to Neverland to assemble his gang of Lost Boys. In this film, though, Peter and James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) aren't foes but friends, as they battle the dastardly pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman).

"Pan" didn't exactly pan out as expected, however, becoming a box office flop that only mustered around $129 million against a $150 million budget, while receiving a 26% critical approval on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, it's far from the worst Peter Pan movie ever made, and Jackman's Blackbeard proves to be one of the unmissable highlights here. The Herald's Alison Rowat wrote that Jackman is "in pure, pantomime baddie mode," while The Straits Times' John Lui called the character "a high point," adding that "[h]e is vain, self-pitying and the best megalomaniac to come along in ages."

Years from now, don't be surprised if "Pan" receives a more prestigious spot when every Hugh Jackman movie is ranked from worst to best.

Swordfish is big dumb fun

After unleashing Wolverine in 2000's "X-Men," Hugh Jackman secured another high-profile gig a year later in Dominic Sena's "Swordfish," starring alongside John Travolta and Halle Berry. In the action thriller, Jackman portrays hacker Stanley Jobson, who gets pulled into a world of crime and terrorism that features a number of twists and turns as he clicks and clacks his way behind cyber walls.

Regardless of all the star power on display, "Swordfish" sank to a 26% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet the film proves to be a perfectly serviceable and bombastic '90s action spectacle — only released in the wrong decade. Of course, the plot is outrageous and the plans are "Pinky and the Brain"-levels of silliness, but how can anyone really hate this buck-wild film?

Empire's Mark Dinning got it, labeling it "[t]echno tosh, but fitfully great fun all the same." Total Film echoed a similar sentiment, writing: "'Swordfish' may not [be] the most satisfying action meal you'll ever be faced with, but it's filling enough to be enjoyable while you're in that multiplex seat ... And it goes perfectly with popcorn." There's simply no arguing that.

The Son is emotionally devastating and better than critics said

According to the actor himself, Hugh Jackman loved "The Son's" script so much that he emailed the director to secure his role. The 2022 Florian Zeller-helmed drama features Jackman in the role of Peter Miller, who has recently had his first child with his second wife, Beth (Vanessa Kirby). When Nicholas (Zen McGrath) — Peter's 17-year-old son from his first marriage — experiences strife in his own life, Peter takes him in while trying to juggle all the other responsibilities happening around him and attempting to be a better father to Nicholas. 

"The Son" doesn't have a happy ending, and neither did the reception toward the film, as it sits with a 29% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is far from a disaster, though its heavy subject matter might have put viewers off. Observer's Rex Reed summed it up eloquently by writing: "'The Son' is a bold, harrowing and unflinchingly sobering film that is admittedly not for every taste, but an unavoidably intelligent piece of filmmaking for mature viewers." The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle expressed similar thoughts, describing the film as "an arresting and unsettling experience." Critical reviews aside, Jackman received a Golden Globe nomination for his scintillating performance here, and it's well deserved.

Chappie lacks soul and personality

"District 9," Neill Blomkamp's dystopian story about an alternate version of South Africa, attracted a lot of admirers, so much was expected of 2015's "Chappie," which also took the action back to Mzansi. And why wouldn't it be great, since it was about a police robot that develops its own sentience and features an all-star cast consisting of Sharlto Copley, Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel, and Hugh Jackman?

Unquestionably, "Chappie" shoots for the stars in an effort to drive home a message about autonomy and purpose, but it possesses the soul of a robot in its delivery. Slashfilm's review of "Chappie" credited Blomkamp's grand ambitions but added: "He lavishes attention on the visual details of his not-too-distant future world, even if he doesn't seem to have much interest in the characters that live in it." Variety's Justin Chang wasn't convinced about the sci-fi film either, writing: "Intelligence, artificial or otherwise, is one of the major casualties of 'Chappie,' a robot-themed action movie that winds up feeling as clunky and confused as the childlike droid with which it shares its name." 

"Chappie" mustered only 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, with probably a bulk of that score given because of the glorious mullet that Jackman's character Vincent Moore boasts.

Butter churns out little charm

Hollywood often tries to make the idiom "like watching paint dry" a reality through films such as the 2011 comedy "Butter," which is all about a butter-sculpture competition and the race to be the champion. Naturally, there's a fair degree of zaniness and memorable characters, such as Hugh Jackman's used car salesman Boyd Bolton ... But yeah, the film's meager charm spoils faster than dairy in the blistering Texas summer.

Perhaps one of the most backhanded compliments came from the New York Post's Kyle Smith, who wrote: "At times, the Midwestern satire 'Butter' is almost funny, and in its honor I almost laughed." USA Today's Scott Bowles didn't bother to hold back in a review with a clever headline that stated, "'Butter': A recipe for stale laughs."

Fortunately for Jackman, he isn't part of the main cast and serves in more of a supporting role here. That being said, this doesn't stop "Butter" from showing up as one of his lowest-scoring movies on Rotten Tomatoes, with a soggy 34% on the Tomatometer.

Reminiscence burns slowly but is worth sticking with

Written and directed by "Fallout" and "Westworld" executive producer Lisa Joy, 2021's "Reminiscence" possesses all the hallmarks of an instant classic. In a futuristic world, private eye Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and his partner Emily "Watts" Sanders (Thandiwe Newton) run a business that features a machine that allows people to relive their memories. After a client named Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) walks in, Nick falls head over heels for her and they begin a relationship. When Mae suddenly vanishes one day, Nick turns to the machine for answers — or to use it as a crutch.

With such a formidable cast and the sensational creative talent behind the scenes, much more was expected from "Reminiscence" than its pitiful 36% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Yes, it's a slow burner and takes a while to fire up, but it's much smarter than people give it credit for. As the Associated Press' Jake Coyle wrote: "Like its characters, it's drunk on what came before, relying too heavily on noir tropes. But its smart, thought-provoking concept isn't so easy to shake off."

The Atlantic's David Sims agreed, while singling out Jackman for specific praise. "It's a clever tale, anchored by Jackman doing reliable work as an antihero haunted by his sins," the critic wrote, while expanding on why Jackman remains one of the most underrated actors in showbiz. No arguments here.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine just isn't that sharp

Understanding the entire "X-Men" timeline is a lot like eating ice cream with a fork — it's possible but it gets messy after a while. In an effort to demystify the most popular mutant's history, 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" promised to explore Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman) past and provide a definitive origin story for the character who claims to be the best at what he does (and what he does isn't very nice). The Gavin Hood-directed film also manages to shoehorn other notable superheroes such as Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) and Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) into the story, because why not?

Ultimately, the two greatest sins "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" commits are that it's meh and it ruins Wade Wilson's first introduction in a live-action movie (fortunately, the ending of "Deadpool 2" remedied this, while both "Deadpool" movies poked fun at his feature debut). Are there worse comic book movies out there? For sure, since there is a certain madame whose web connects us all. But there's no disputing that someone fumbled the bag on this one.

Hanging on at 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus tends to be that it's a Wolverine movie just for the sake of one. HollywoodChicago.com's Brian Tallerico nailed it in a review, writing: "I was never bored. I was just never that interested either." CNN's Tom Charity expressed that the film focused too much on effects rather than the characters, but didn't label it an almighty disaster either, stating that it's "[s]erviceable but inescapably redundant."

Scoop is all about the viewer's mood

Woody Allen built a career on creating witty films with sharply penned dialogue and unpredictable characters; however, 2006's "Scoop" isn't remembered as one of his best, as The Washington Post's Stephen Hunter dubbed it "the worst movie" in the filmmaker's catalog. Undoubtedly, Allen and company dried their eyes from the stinging criticism with all the money they made, since "Scoop" raked in $32.2 million off a $4 million budget.

The premise of this romantic crime caper is interesting, to say the least. Journalism student Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson) receives a message from a deceased reporter's ghost to investigate English aristocrat Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman), who could be the infamous Tarot Card Killer. Sondra goes undercover to find out more about him, but like clockwork, she falls in love with him and her feelings may end up blinding her from seeing the truth.

While "Scoop" isn't the most original movie ever created, it's the type of film that can go either way with viewers — depending on their mood, which is reflected in the Rotten Tomatoes score of 41%. The New York Times' Manohla Dargis called it for what it is: "In 'Scoop,' his not especially funny yet oddly appealing new comedy, Woody Allen manages to act his age and prove there's life in those old jokes yet."