The Darwin Awards

2006

The Darwin Awards

Critics Consensus

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25%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 12

45%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,515
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Movie Info

When a San Francisco homicide detective with a keen eye for criminal profiling is fired for botching the arrest of a notorious serial killer, his subsequent effort to reinvent himself as an insurance claims case-investigator leads him to study a series of perplexing wrongful deaths in this comedy starring Joseph Fiennes, Winona Ryder, Tim Blake Nelson, and Wilmer Valderrama. Michael Burrows (Fiennes) isn't your typical detective. Though Detective Burrows is a paranoid obsessive-compulsive who faints at the sight of blood, his remarkable insight into the criminal mindset has nevertheless made him a valuable asset to the San Francisco Police Department. When Detective Burrows' idiosyncrasies allow the feared "North Beach Killer" to elude capture, however, he is fired by his superiors. Upon offering his unique skills to a doubting insurance company, Burrows is given 30 days in which to prove he can sort out the legitimate claims from the false ones. Now, as Burrows makes for the Midwest in the company of hard-nosed field agent Siri Tyler (Ryder), the film student (Valderrama) who has been following the former detective for his thesis follows the pair as they investigate a series of forehead-slapping deaths, including that of a powerful executive who attempts to prove that his high-rise window is unbreakable and a pair of English tourists who fatally misinterpret the "cruise control" function on their rented RV.

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News & Interviews for The Darwin Awards

Critic Reviews for The Darwin Awards

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (9)

  • The humor dissipates as we watch one weird death after another.

    Sep 7, 2007 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Taylor and his friends seem to be having a great time but could have let the audience in on the joke.

    Jan 31, 2006
  • Sports too many formulaic weaknesses of mainstream laffers while straining for an indie cred that hitherto came naturally to writer-director Finn Taylor.

    Jan 26, 2006

    Dennis Harvey

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A delightful, winning tribute to those annual kudos given to people who died from sheer stupidity, thereby improving the gene pool.

    Sep 13, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • If writer/director Finn Taylor could have made up his mind about the movie he was making, it would have held together better.

    Sep 9, 2007 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Just a voyeuristic excuse to watch people die in different ways.

    Aug 27, 2007 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Darwin Awards

  • Jul 06, 2012
    Pretty good comedy based on the popular series of books. I loved the books, and I thought this film captured the feel of the series very well. Of course the film is nothing compared to the series, but it still is a very funny film that has plenty of good laughs throughout the film. The film succeeds at adapting the most popular stories from the book, but it is far from perfect. The film has a good cast of actors who deliver fine performances. However the film does fall flat a few times, not many but a few. In any case, this is simply put a mindless film that is a pleasant viewing on a Friday night when there's nothing else better on. This is an enjoyable film, and as a reader of the series, I felt that they had key elements of the stories well in hand, and I thought it was creative how they tied everything together. Even with that said this is a film that is far from perfect, but is also an underrated comedy isn't as bad as the initial reviews. The performances and good comedy make this film good and worth watching and if you're in the mood for something good and enjoyable, this is a good film to watch. Director Finn Taylor has done a great job with bringing the books to the screen, and it works most of the time very well. I really liked the film, and thought it very entertaining but flawed. Still this is a film that is worth checking out.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2012
    The Darwin Awards is a fun screwball comedy, but has trouble with its storytelling. When a former police detective learns about the Darwin Awards, for those who take themselves out of the gene pool, he tries to develop a system to identify individuals prone to becoming Darwin candidates. The cast is led by Joseph Fiennes and Winona Ryder, and features Tim Blake Nelson, David Arquette, Juliette Lewis, and Metallica. Some of the Darwin cases are fun, but a few of them are too drawn out and too ridiculous. Though the humor is a bit spotty, The Darwin Awards is fairly entertaining and good for some laughs.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2011
    A series of vignettes that never really tied together into a movie. I watched the end over a year ago and figured i missed some action in the beginning that tied it all together. 2nd watching it still as uneven as ever. Joseph Fiennes tries to portray an Phobic detective (ala Adrian Monk) and fails and Winona Ryder tries to portray a hardened insurance investigator or something and fails. The movie requires the audience has bought in and attempt to play off this as a base, but without the initial buy-in its a good-concept that turns out as nothing but a mess.
    Bill C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 07, 2009
    Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Winona Ryder, David Arquette, Chris Penn, Max Perlich, Brad Hunt, Tim Blake Nelson, Julianna Margulies, Tom Hollander, Juliette Lewis, Nora Dunn, Lukas Haas, Ty Burrell, Judah Friedlander, Wilmer Valderrama, Alessandro Nivola, D.B. Sweeney, Mickey Breitenstein, Josh Kornbluth Director: Finn Taylor Summary: When his tendency to faint at the sight of blood becomes a liability, detective Michael Burrows (Joseph Fiennes) finds himself out of a job. Fortunately, the perceptive profiler has no trouble peddling his skills to an insurance company. Teaming up with field agent Siri Taylor (Winona Ryder), Michael attempts to identify people who might accidentally kill themselves out of sheer stupidity. My Thoughts: "It''s a very funny quirky film. It's full of odd character's, especially the lead played hilariously by Joseph Fiennes. Winona Ryder is great in this as well. I miss her in films. The movie actually has a very big cast with a variety of actor's. You are shown how doing some pretty dumb thing's can so easily end your life. Though I think the shower scene is the funniest part in the film for me. The film is much better then what the summary describes it to be. It was a great surprise at how much I enjoyed the film and how much I laughed. Great movie for a slow day or night."

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