Jeffrey Wells put himself in the early lead for next year’s Most Cantanerkous Film Critic Award yesterday, with a post he wrote on Hollywood Elsewhere entitled “A Baahing Noise.” He asserts “plain and straight” that readers looking for guidance on whether or not to see “The Hunger Games” this weekend should “be wary of reviews by certain female critics, or at least those who may be susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise.” If that sounds sexist to you, well that’s probably because it’s incredibly sexist (or possibly because you’re a woman, which apparently makes you a sheep, in which case, I’ve been told to be wary of you.) But hey, at least it’s less sexist than the original version Wells wrote and then revised in which he warned:
“Be wary of reviews by female critics, as they’re probably more susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise than most.”
Instead of indulging the temptation to get on a soapbox, let’s put Wells’ assertion to the test. Are female critics more likely to enjoy “The Hunger Games” than male critics? After all, the film is based on a novel by a female author. It features a female protagonist. Maybe Wells is right. Let’s look at the facts and find out.
As of this writing (around midnight on Thursday), there are 153 reviews of “The Hunger Games” on Rotten Tomatoes. 133 are positive, 20 are negative, which gives you a Tomatometer rating of 87%. Now, according to my calculations — in this case, scrolling through the list and stopping any time I saw a female name = calculations — 29 of those 153 reviews were written by women. And of those 29 reviews, 26 were positive and 3 were negative. Note here that I included Manohla Dargis’ review in The New York Times amongst the negatives even though Rotten Tomatoes lists it as positive because, at least to my eyes, it’s obviously a pan. You tell me if you disagree.
Anyway: 29 female film critics, 26 positive reviews. Which comes out to a positive percentage of…
And just to refresh our memories, “The Hunger Games”‘ overall Rotten Tomatoes rating is…
In other words, the statistics prove there’s almost no difference between the sexes when it comes to “The Hunger Games” reviews. In other other words, Jeff Wells is wrong. Plain and straight.