Reviews of The Smile, Starring Edward James Olmos

By: Ralph Gamelli

“That tiresome Hollywood cliche, the Gypsy curse, has been infused with vigorous new life in this thriller about a curt, somber-faced Head Chef who must suddenly go through life with a broad smile etched on his face. Much of the film’s success is due to the bold casting of Edward James Olmos. Mr. Olmos has played curt, somber-faced police lieutenants, curt, somber-faced teachers, curt, somber-faced fathers, curt, somber-faced spaceship commanders and many other types of curt, somber-faced authority figures in his lengthy, acclaimed career — yet here he displays an amazing new depth of character and range of emotion. He smiles, by God! And viewers will find themselves smiling back.”

— Entertainment Weekly

“A startling combination of low concept and high concept. Low concept — a dour Head Chef prepares an undercooked entree for an old Gypsy woman who then exacts her revenge through a curse. High concept — Edward James Olmos flashes his pearly whites for two solid hours. Both prospects are risky, but what could have been a train wreck instead turns out to be a masterpiece. Miami Vice might still be on the air if Olmos had smiled like this back in the 80s.”

— USA Today

“Had Robin Williams or Jim Carrey starred in The Smile, it would have fizzled, but Edward James Olmos adds a real-world poignancy. I mean, has this guy ever smiled in front of a camera before? Even in real life, he’s hesitant to do more than smirk. It’s just not his thing. And that’s why this film is so transcendent. We feel this character’s pain when he must go around constantly smiling at people, and we also feel Olmos’ pain. I hope he was well-paid.”

— Boston Globe

“Remember the old series Fantasy Island? Every week Ricardo Montalban would survey his employees and say, ‘Smiles, everyone! Smiles!’ Had Edward James Olmos been one of them, he wouldn’t have smiled. He would have just scowled even more fiercely than before, given the man in white a glare that could kill, mumbled something nearly unintelligible, and then walked slowly away. Well, that was the old Edward James Olmos. The new one knows how to loosen up, and because of that he has a hit movie on his hands. Smile, Edward James Olmos! Smile!”

— Rolling Stone

“For the first half hour of The Smile, I was certain that the unnatural-looking expression on infamous sourpuss Edward James Olmos’ face could only be generated through computer special effects. During the next thirty minutes, however, I gradually became a believer in the impossible. And for the last hour of this magnificent achievement in film, I gladly surrendered to the charm of Olmos’ infectious smile. I’d like to see this as merely part one of a trilogy. Next up, The Chuckle followed by The Belly Laugh. I think you’re up to the challenge, Mr. Olmos. And I expect to see you and that smile of yours on Oscar night. Just try not to mumble during your victory speech.”

— New York Times

“Who would have guessed? Edward James Olmos has teeth!”

— The Hollywood Reporter


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