Netflix can’t seem to catch a break from critics these days, with its new buddy comedy film The Man From Toronto only the latest Netflix Original movie to be certified ‘Rotten’ (opens in new tab) on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab).
As per the film’s synopsis, The Man From Toronto sees “The world’s deadliest assassin” and “New York’s biggest screw-up” mistaken for each other when the latter arrives early to an Airbnb rental. In other words, it offers exactly the kind of premise you would expect Netflix’s algorithm to spit out after ingesting some choice keywords.
At present, the Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson-starring actioner holds a ‘Tomatometer’ score of just 24%, placing it in the ignominious company of such ‘Rotten’ Netflix films as Spiderhead (42% (opens in new tab)), Interceptor (44% (opens in new tab)), Red Notice (37% (opens in new tab)) and Senior Year (24% (opens in new tab)).
Nick Schager of The Daily Beast (opens in new tab) describes The Man From Toronto as “dreadfully unfunny”, while Christopher Cross of Tilt Magazine (opens in new tab) calls it, “Another unimaginative piece of content designed to placate instead of thrill.”
Courtney Lanning of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (opens in new tab) laid the boot in even harder, theorizing that, “When people who cancel their Netflix subscriptions complain about a lackluster library, it’s probably movies like The Man From Toronto they point fingers at.”
Well-known critic Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times (opens in new tab) wasn’t much kinder, stating that, “The Man from Toronto wastes the talents of Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart.”
Of course, the film did receive a smattering of ‘Fresh’ reviews amongst all of the ‘Rotten’ ones: Brandon Zachary of Comic Book Resources (opens in new tab) praised its stars’ chemistry and called it “a slight but enjoyable buddy-comedy,” while Anne Brodie of What She Said (opens in new tab) proclaimed The Man From Toronto “A Good Time!”
But what do audiences have to say about The Man From Toronto? Does the film find itself alongside Red Notice as yet another example of the gulf between highbrow critics and audiences who just want a bit of light entertainment?
Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case with The Man From Toronto – while the film is one of the top trending movies on Netflix right now, its paltry 48% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes shows the film has also failed to resonate with average viewers.
Analysis: But can it attract new subscribers?
Regardless of what critics and audiences are saying about The Man From Toronto online, Netflix’s primary concern is likely to be around its effect on subscriber numbers – particularly, its ability to attract new sign-ups… or at least prevent existing users from leaving.
The streaming giant seems to be trying a new tactic in that regard. It was recently revealed in a report by Consequence.net (opens in new tab) that Netflix’s goal moving forward will be to stop greenlighting critically-adored “vanity projects” such as The Irishman in favor of more easily digestible crowd-pleasing fair like The Adam Project and the aforementioned star-vehicle Red Notice.
A film like The Man From Toronto, which is sold off of its star-power alone, is a prime example of this approach – although given the critical and audience savaging its received, we don’t like Netflix’s chances of bolstering subscriber numbers on the back of this or similar ‘blockbuster’ fare.
Despite its wretched word of mouth, however, The Man From Toronto is off to a good start in terms of views, with the film currently trending well across a number of territories.