"Divergent" reviews: Critics say film isn't as good as the book

Watch out "Hunger Games."

A new film about a teen girl trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world is coming to the big screen.

Based on the New York Times-bestselling novel from young adult author Veronica Roth, "Divergent" stars Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants") as Tris Prior, a teen living in a futuristic Chicago where society is divided into factions based on personality-types. Tris eventually discovers a sinister plot under way and must try to stop it.

Theo James plays Tobias "Four" Eaton, a love interest for Tris.

Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ashley Judd, Mekhi Phifer, Jai Courtney, Maggie Q and Kate Winslet also star.

The film comes from Lionsgate, the same studio behind the highly successful "Hunger Games" franchise.

"Divergent," however, has not been garnering the same critical acclaim that was bestowed upon the "Games" films when they were first released.

Critics have taken "Divergent" to task for its script written by Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor, and its direction by Neil Burger ("The Prestige"). The movie has only received a 26 percent rating on movie review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes.

If the reviews are to be believed, the performances from Woodley and James are this film's only saving graces:

Andrew Barker, Variety: "'Divergent's' uncertain sense of setting, bloated plot, drab visual style and solid yet underwhelming lead turns from Shailene Woodley and Theo James don't necessarily make the best case for series newcomers."

Lou Leminick, New York Post: "'Divergent' is a clumsy, humorless and shamelessly derivative sci-fi thriller set in a generically dystopian future."

Mike Ryan, TIME: "It's impossible to ignore the overwhelming sense that we've seen all this before, only with better execution."

Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter: "Woodley, a sensitive performer, is hamstrung by the screenplay but lends her role relatability and a convincing athleticism. Burger and [cinematographer Alwin] Kuchler's unfortunate preference for mascara-ad close-ups, however, detracts from the character's grit."

Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times: "Woodley has a scratchy little voice and a way of clamping her eyes on her scene partners as if they might catch fire if she looked away; she also has that rare quality of utter likability, and of making preposterous situations seem believable simply because she's there. Without her, 'Divergent' would be a grim slog indeed."

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: "James is the best thing in 'Divergent.' Imagine the pain and suffering this film might've inflicted with Taylor Lautner of 'Twilight' in the male-lust-object role, and you especially appreciate James' wry, offhanded charisma."

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: "I'm glad to see the launch of a dystopian franchise in which individuality, as embodied by Shailene Woodley, looks like it could mean something beyond hiply propping up the status quo."

Manohla Dargis, The New York Times: "Yea for 'Divergent,' a dumb movie that I hope makes major bank if only as a reminder of the obvious: Women can drive big and little movies, including the pricey franchises that fire up the box office and the culture."

"Divergent" opens in theaters on Friday.

  • Ken Lombardi On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.

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