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Based on 16 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 50
    San Francisco Chronicle

    It's worth seeing the movie just to observe [Grodin's] delicious blend of unctuous manipulation and anti-Communist sanctimoniousness. [15 May 1987] show more

  • 40
    Julie Salamon Wall Street Journal

    Hoffman and Beatty are so tone-deaf they don't even know how to play the songs for deadpan humor. They seem old, white, and without shtick. [14 May 1987, p.26(E)] show more

  • 75
    Dave Kehr Chicago Tribune

    Ishtar is a good movie, but you can't help but wonder if, lurking somewhere in those cans of outtakes, there isn't a great movie, too. [15 May 1987] show more

  • 63
    Jay Scott The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    Is it worth seeing? Yes. The ability to charm in the modern world is rare, and Ishtar does charm. Essentially, it's a teen film for adults, which is to say, it's mindless but not stupid good fun. And there are at least four times when the audience laughs out loud. show more

  • 25
    Christian Science Monitor

    The funny scenes are as far apart as oases in the Sahara. [22 May 1987] show more

  • 12
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    A truly dreadful film, a lifeless, massive, lumbering exercise in failed comedy. Elaine May, the director, has mounted a multimillion-dollar expedition in search of a plot so thin that it hardly could support a five-minute TV sketch. show more

  • 40
    Angel Cohn TV Guide

    For all the bad press Ishtar received, it does have a certain odd charm... The biggest problem is that any attempted subtlety is swamped by May's bid to turn the film into an epic adventure story. show more

  • 40
    Brad Laidman Film Threat

    The guys in Ishtar are the boring wallflowers of the world. They probably shouldn't be mocked, disgraced and beaten, but who really wants to spend close to two hours with them. show more

  • 80
    Sheila Benson Los Angeles Times

    A smart, generous, genuinely funny affair. Sometimes, like the camel who almost ambles away with the picture, it's longish in the tooth, but it is based on an extremely astute vision of life. [15 May 1987] show more

  • 80
    Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader

    The most underestimated commercial movie of 1987 may not be quite as good as Elaine May's three previous features, but it's still a very funny work by one of this country's greatest comic talents. show more

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