The Ref
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Caroline and Lloyd (Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey) are a married couple constantly at each other's throats, masters at crafting acid-tongued barbs at the other's expense. Indeed, they are so obsessed with belittling each other that they never stop -- not even at gunpoint. Such is the premise of the acerbic comedy The Ref, which shows what happens when this quarrelsome duo is taken hostage. The gunman is Gus (Denis Leary), a thief on the run from the police, who kidnaps the couple as an insurance policy, planning to use their home as a hideout. But their incessant bickering proves more… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's miraculous casting, and the Australian Davis -- for my money the finest actress around, bar none -- is simply uncanny in her command of East Coast gentility combined with razor-sharp timing and comedic expression."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"Whether it's a function of sloppy editing or sloppy writing, few of these supporting players and their accompanying subplots pay off."
‑ Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"A genuinely hysterical anti-holiday comedy."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"The trouble with The Ref is that it keeps running out of steam, so it seems to develop a new plot wrinkle every seven minutes. Typically, it'll run through the new idea until it runs out of steam again, then invents yet another one."
‑ Stephen Hunter, Baltimore Sun
"The Ref is the one Christmas movie that I can relate to."
‑ David Medsker,
"The Ref benefits from having actor's actors like Davis and Spacey in the leads."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"A foulmouthed sitcom of a film."
‑ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"This is a funny idea, but the movie is too thinly written to build any real credibility, and the cast rarely seems in tune with the vapid vulgarities that dominate the dialogue."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"While director Ted Demme seems to be trying to impose a Home Alone tone, he only succeeds in lending an air of desperation, with lame subplots blundering into the picture."
‑ Ralph Novak, People Magazine
"[Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey] play this strident high comedy duet with a self-sustaining brio that easily puts them on the level of the stars of Twentieth Century, The Awful Truth, The Philadelphia Story, and His Girl Friday."
‑ Alan Dale,
"It's not a bad idea, but it's not a good movie, either."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"The Ref works virtually none of the miracles of [Richard LaGravenese's screenplay for The Fisher King,] his previous mix 'n' match effort."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The Ref is a powerfully funny adult comedy. It skewers marriage, suburban values and the trendy belief that everyone is a victim of something."
‑ Candice Russell, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"It's cynical, mean-spirited and, at least at first, viciously funny."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Dennis Leary's shining hour. His stand-up persona's greatest moment and it was all down hill from there."
‑ Eric Lurio, Greenwich Village Gazette
More reviews for The Ref on Rotten Tomatoes

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