Richard von Busack of Mr. Movietimes and Metroactive.com writes:
Even Brendan Fraserâ€™s good humor seems to be wearing out. Fraser is a seriously gifted physical comedian. The success of three popular but terrible "Mummy" movies is partially due to Fraser being the only living thing in a CGI landscape. In his new film, Fraser does his thing, looking alert, hitting his marks and climbing a tile rooftop. But "Inkheart" has little heart; it squanders Fraser and a fine group of character actors in a very promising fantasy plot.
Fraser plays Mo, an expatriate bookbinder living in Italy. He is a â€œsilvertongue,â€ with the ability to call fictional characters out of a book by reading aloud. Unfortunately, this gift is a curse: some human in our world must take the place of the materialized fictional character. When Mo once read a childrenâ€™s book called Inkheart to his child, his wife (Sienna Guillory) vanished into the book, and he and his daughter were left behind. Unfortunately, the bookâ€™s villain, Capricorn (Andy Sirkis, a.k.a. Gollum), has escaped and is setting up a cryptofascist assault on our world. Moâ€™s most reliable help is the rogue character from the book "Inkheart," Ashfinger (Paul Bettany).
The locations in the Italian alps are a plus, and Jennifer Connelly appears in a couple of highly decorative scenes, made up as a Renaissance princess. In a milieu that could have used some poetry, director Iain Softley tenderizes the material with bumbling silly henchmen and a crazy aunty character (Helen Mirren). The scenes bustle like a Christmas pantomime, with lots of wasted motion.
The most depressing thing about the film is watching the look on Fraserâ€™s face when youâ€™re supposed to be watching the unicorn. The strain of these technical movies is beginning to show on him. Iâ€™m hoping he can get out of this green-screen routine: I think thereâ€™s an Errol Flynn or a Burt Lancaster in him. I think he could be a bastard and make the audience like it.