Review is a series which uses a ‘mockumentary’ format to provide reviews of real-life experiences. It was hosted by Forrest MacNeil, played by Andy Daly, and lasted three seasons on Comedy Central. The idea behind the creation of Review was to emulate a similar TV programme which had aired in Australia with Myles Barlow. The mockumentary format of the programme allows for several things to happen – the main presenter can be a character, and can have his own story while carrying on the main point of it all, which is the reviews themselves. Forrest MacNeil would go around speaking to members of the public and asking them for specific life experience, which he would then recreate later in the studio within the programme, to find out if they were any good or not. Afterwards, he would then rate the experience from one to five.

How can Review teach you to write a critical review of a movie?

The main reason for Review being so good at teaching how to write critical reviews is that that is exactly what it does – it takes an experience, and not only fully experiences it, but also reviews it at the end. It is this progression which can help people to better understand how to format their reviews, as it very clearly goes introduction, body, concluding remarks. Then it uses the entire programme to go beyond the bare bones structure of introduction, body, and conclusion, to delve into the why and the how.

The introduction of what a review should be is something that can be based on the beginning of each episode, where MacNeil talks to members of the public about a certain life experience, and how they felt about it, and why they think that he should experience it. This very effectively shows us both the topic, and how people expect it will turn out. It also very handily gives us the ability to see things from both sides of the equation – we have people who have experienced something giving their opinion, and we also have MacNeil, giving his own thoughts on what he thinks it will be like. Meanwhile, writers at EssayZoo remind that a good review always tries to get an insider\outsider perspective, to give people reading as clear an idea as possible about the topic under discussion.

The body of the episode is the same as the body in a written review – it features the actual review, so that everyone can fully understand what is under discussion and how it is being approached. In Review, this is where MacNeil experiences his life experience himself, so as to fully understand where everyone is coming from when they experience it.

Review is of course slightly different to most written reviews in that MacNeil is going out and experiencing these things for himself in a slightly more involved way than normally comes with watching a movie, but the principle is the same. The body of the review is where the writer talks about his experience of watching the movie, and it is where he makes his commentary about plots, characters, themes, and the overall experience. Experience is the key here: both movie reviewers and MacNeil need experience to truly talk about the subject which they want to, and this is shown in the quality of the writing.

What Review teaches is the importance of actually fully experiencing something if you want to be able to discuss it. In terms of movie reviewing then, the writer is expected to not only watch the movie enough times to be comfortable with it and the themes contained within it, but also to seek out extra information about it through whatever medium he can, be it interviews, promos, or other reviews. This is important, because it fully immerses you in the experience, no matter what it is, and allows you to formulate your own considered opinion.

The conclusion portion of Review consists of MacNeil talking about the experience after the fact; the conclusion of a movie is almost the same, summing up the entire review as MacNeil sums up his experiences and the experiences of the people he spoke to. Conclusions are to draw everything together and give final opinions on the subject under review. They should bring all the information which given in the review proper together, and tie it all off neatly, to give readers a close to what they were reading. The conclusion of Review enables MacNeil to give his final conclusion about the life experience to his audience, as well as connect his work with the ongoing drama of his life, while the conclusion of a written review gives the writer a place to give their own opinions about the movie.


Review is a good way to teach people how to write movie reviews because it has the same format as a written review, and also shows how that format can be broken down into its constituent parts. While the two formats are fundamentally different, Review can still be used; in fact, it can function as a double teaching moment because you can review the episodes while watching them for the review format.