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Fox News-Ailes movie 'Bombshell' scores mixed reviews ahead of release

The new movie about the Roger Ailes scandal at Fox News, “Bombshell,” is receiving mixed reviews from critics ahead of its Friday release. 

According to the movie review aggregation site RottenTomatoes.com, the film starring Charlize Theron as former Fox News prime-time host Megyn Kelly and Nicole Kidman as former morning show host Gretchen Carlson has received a 62 percent favorable rating on the Rotten Tomatoes "Tomatometer" critics' score.

That gives the film a “fresh” status, as anything below 60 percent gets the green-splat “rotten” status. More reviews are likely, so the 62 percent figure could change.

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The movie focuses on the scandal that ultimately led to Ailes's departure at Fox News in July 2016, just three weeks after Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes for sexual harassment. 

Ailes passed away almost a year later in May 2017.

Critics lauded the performances by the award-winning cast, especially Theron's uncanny turn as Megyn Kelly that is already generating Oscar buzz. But others felt the movie fell short, calling it “hasty” and “underwhelming.”

“As often occurs with topical tales, which are hellbent on catching a widespread mood (in this instance, anger and disgust), there's something hasty and undigested about Bombshell,” writes Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. 

“Charlize Theron so nails the cadence and rhythms of Megyn Kelly that I sometimes forgot it wasn’t actually Kelly in the film,” says Richard Lawson in Vanity Fair. 

“It's both underwhelming and overworked, inelegantly structured and missing something fundamental at the core,” says Linda Holmes of NPR. 

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“The film isn’t interested in investigating those complicated emotions the audience likely harbors for these people, and for that it suffers. But that doesn’t change how expertly acted it is, nor the inherent value stories about #MeToo heroes have today,” writes Matt Dougherty of The Associated Press in a review that grades the movie as a B. 

The film, which opens in wide release on Friday, fares slightly better in the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, getting a 91 percent.

Kelly, who left Fox News for NBC in January 2017, took to Instagram over the weekend to share that while watching the movie was “incredibly emotional,” she would have "certainly" made some edits to the film.     

“While the movie ‘Bombshell’ is loosely based on my experience during the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, I have nothing to do with this film,” Kelly wrote. “I did not sell the rights to my story or book and only got my first look at the film once it was past the point of any possible edits, though there are certainly some I would have made.

“Watching this picture was an incredibly emotional experience for me, and for those with whom I saw it. Sexual harassment is pervasive in this country; it can leave scars that do not heal. My heart goes out to those who’ve gone through it, who I hope might find some comfort in this story,” she wrote.

The movie comes on the heels of the Showtime series “The Loudest Voice in the Room” starring Russell Crowe as Ailes and Naomi Watts as Carlson. 

“The Loudest Voice in the Room” was a cinematic version of the book of the same title written by Gabriel Sherman that was released in 2014.