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September 05, 2011

Is "Seven Days in Utopia" the worst golf movie ever made?

Posted at 11:01 PM by Steve Beslow |

"Seven Days in Utopia" is the story of a young, hotheaded golf pro (Lucas Black) who gets marooned in not-so-subtly-named Utopia, Texas, only to cross paths with an old, wizened former pro played by an old, wizened Robert Duvall. On the surface it sounds like the premise of a charming little film full of mystery, love and wonder (or at least all of the mystery, love and wonder you can have and still get a "G" rating). If you listen to the critics, however, "Utopia" is anything but heaven on Earth. How bad is it? Robert Ebert said of the film, "I would rather eat a golf ball than see this movie again."  

And he's not alone. According to movie rating site Rottentomatoes.com, only 13 percent of all critics gave "Utopia" a positive review, and most of them outright panned it. Here are some of the write-ups that have put "Seven Days in Utopia" in contention for the worst golf movie ever made: 

Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe:

The movie is terrible partly because it’s badly written, directed, and conceived and partly because it lacks the necessarily thematic coherence to accomplish proselytism of any kind. It’s handing out leaflets that don’t say anything.

Stephen Holden of the New York Times:

A stultifying hybrid of athletic instruction film and Christian sermon...

Russ Breimer of Christianity Today:

But despite striving for authenticity—including a role by touring pro KJ Choi—the story fails to deliver genuine characters or plausible storytelling. The sloppy screenplay—by Cook, the director, and two other writers—wants us to be inspired while lazily rehashing clichés seen many times before in far better films.

Andrew Schenker of Time Out New York:

Director Matt Russell shamelessly pitches woo to the already converted with an unholy barrage of heavy-handed flashbacks and phony Christian uplift. If any film ever needed a mulligan….

The good news for "Utopia"? "Caddyshack II" rings in at an astoundingly low rating of 8 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. So no, "Seven Days in Utopia is officially not the worst golf movie ever made. It's just really, really close. 

Have you seen the film? Do you agree with the critics? Sound off in the comments section below. 

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