->''There is no such thing as "fun for the whole family".''
-->-- '''[[Series/{{Seinfeld}} Jerry Seinfeld]]'''

Also known as "reviewer-speak."

Coming up with original ways to describe multiple works within one same month/week/issue can be hard. That's why critics of all types tend to have an arsenal full of stock terms they can pull out to summarize how they feel about the subject.

Some examples of this are "[[ThisIsYourPremiseOnDrugs X on crack]]" ,"XMeetsY", "best X of the year", "fun for the whole family!" These cliches are often parodied.

ReviewerStandardComparisons is a SubTrope.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* [[http://www.examiner.com/x-562-Book-Examiner~y2009m3d11-The-top-20-most-annoying-book-reviewer-phrases-and-how-to-use-them-all-in-one-meaningless-review The top 20 most annoying book reviewer cliches and how to use them all in one meaningless review]]
* Literary critics in particular tend to use the phrase "tour de force", usually apropos of extremely pretentious or confusing works.
* "Page-turner" comes up often.
* The ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' book ''Discworld/TheTruth'', about the Disc's first newspaper, played with this trope. Albeit about news reporting, not reviews per se. For example, the words ''rumpus'' and ''fracas'' only appear in certain newspapers, the same way ''beverages'' only appear on certain menus.
** ''Discworld/EqualRites'' had a foreword reading "This book is not wacky. Only [[ILoveLucy dumb redheads in Fifties sitcoms]] are wacky. It isn't zany, either."
* If the novel accurately captures a teen's voice, expect the phrase "like [[Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye Holden Caulfield]]" to pop up somewhere.
* Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart's books mock this consistently. Some highlights (paraphrased).
-->"Best book ever. Or maybe I'm dead and Colbert's taking advantage of this fact by signing my name to this review. Either way, you got to admit, he's got guts." -J D Salinger.
-->"A must-read! I laughed, I cried, I lost ten pounds!" -''Stephen Colbert''
* If it's aimed at young adults and has even the slightest element of fantasy, it'll be perfect for ''Literature/HarryPotter'' fans, regardless of any actual similarities.
** Even if it isn't, it's still open to comparison these days. See certain editions of ''Literature/DragonridersOfPern'' books, and how for a while every ''TheDresdenFiles'' book had "...as another wizard named Harry" on the front or back (or both). Not as painful since [[DarkerAndEdgier later books]] came out, but it still leads to [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids misunderstandings]].
** In the same vein, if it has anthropomorphic woodland creatures, especially if they're mice, it'll be "perfect for fans of ''{{Redwall}}''."
* ''TheDresdenFiles'' has also had the same ''Entertainment Weekly'' quote on every book in the series, dating back to the very first:
** "Think ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' starring Literature/PhilipMarlowe."
* If it resembles a better-known work in the same genre, you might see "invites comparison to..." This can [[ComplimentBackfire backfire]]. ("Invites comparison to ''LordOfTheRings''. ''Lord Of The Rings'' was great. This is crap.")
* Some variant of "I couldn't put it down" often turns up in positive reviews, although this at least MEANS something. As literary types, critics are naturally uncomfortable using wacky and zany {{neologism}}s like "unputdownable".
** Almost as common is the tongue-in-cheek review of a {{Doorstopper}} that says "I couldn't pick it up..."
* ''The Cynic's Dictionary'' by Russell Ash had a whole chapter devoted to these. One was "'''Enthralling''': Literally, enslaving. If you want to be a book's slave..."
* If any non-fiction book discusses psychopaths or "evil people" in general, expect the adjective "chilling" to be abused ceaselessly, though it is questionable whether any of these books have ever lowered someone's body temperature.
** This doesn't apply only the non-fiction, of course. Apparently every single mystery novel ever is "chilling" as well.
* When Creator/MontyPython was asked to review ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy1'', Creator/JohnCleese decided to go with stock phrases; naturally, the others [[LampshadeHanging pointed it out]]:
-->''Really entertaining and fun.'' -- '''John Cleese'''\\
''I know for a fact that John Cleese hasn't read it.'' -- '''Graham Chapman'''\\
''Really entertaining and fun.'' -- '''Creator/MichaelPalin'''
* [[http://www.goodreads.com Goodreads.com]]
** As a book aggregate site, plays this trope straight in its user reviews, except it adopts an entirely different and unique set of cliches due to its web-based format and Millennial-dominated userbase. These show up most often in the negative reviews, and/or reviews for YoungAdult (YA) books. The most [[{{egregious}} egre]][[HypocriticalHumor gious]]? ''"I wanted to like this book. '''[[BlatantLies I really did!]]'''"''
** Filling reviews with {{Tumblr}} gifs.
** "I don't normally read (Genre x) but I'm glad I did!"
* If it's fantasy, horror or science fiction, [[SciFiGhetto but the reviewer liked it]], then it "transcends the boundaries of its genre."
* Name-dropping authors or philosophers to establish literary cred. Derrida is a popular one, as is Nabokov. For extra points, turn the name into an adjective (i.e., "a rollicking Nabokovian delight").
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* "Riveting". When was the last time you saw that word used outside of a movie review context? Apart from [[StealthPun metalwork class]] that is?
** [[NeuroticallyYours Foamy The Squirrel]] railed against this during one of his famous rants.
** DaveBarry once claimed to have been [[LampshadeHanging "literally riveted to [his] seat, by literal rivets."]]
* Action movies and books will usually be "Thrilling," "Suspenseful," "Gripping," and "High-Octane," among many others.
** Expect any action-comedy review to feature the word "romp" at least once.
** Every action movie has at some point been referred to as a "roller-coaster ride" or "thrill ride". Directors are typically called "visionary" for reasons which are often unclear.
* Family comedies will usually be "Fun for the whole family" or something to that effect.
* Comedies in general will always be "hilarious" and "laugh-out-loud funny!"
* Documentaries will often be "thought-provoking" or "controversial"
* Film reviews of blockbusters often feature "This Year's X": "''Film/StarTrek'' is this year's ''Film/IronMan''", for example. "The Next X" is similiar, also for [[ViewersAreMorons people who can't comprehend that something can stand on its own without being compared to something else.]]
* "Smart, sexy and..." fill-in-the-blank. "Cool," "fun," and "action-packed" work.
* The "It's ''Film/DieHard'' [[DieHardOnAnX On An X]]" line that's popped up in reviews for the past 22 years.
* Bright Lights Film Journal's [[http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/banned.php Banned Words]].
* Peter Travers, the film critic for ''Rolling Stone'', often peppers his reviews with cliche phrases like "crackerjack thrillride," "enjoy the air conditioning," or "check your brain in at the door" to describe action movies that require little attention.
* Few action film set-ups are as overworked and meaningless as the old one-two punch of invoking the "unstoppable chain of events" that will have you "on the edge of your seat."
* The posters for ''DumbAndDumber'' parodied this with fictitious review quotes such as, [[CaptainObvious "It's a movie experience for anyone who goes to see it"]] and [[FridgeLogic "I laughed til I stopped."]]
* Many reviewers have taken after Roger Ebert's 'two thumbs up' signature. Sometimes something else will be substituted depending on the movie, ie two paws for ''Film/CatsAndDogs'', or some such. Thankfully, the "two thumbs up" concept is copyrighted, so the current generation won't have to see terrible local critics use it themselves.
* Expect sometimes-intentionally painful {{pun}}s and metaphors. For example, "''Earth'' is terra-ble" for ''Film/BattlefieldEarth'', "This Cradle rocks!" for ''[[Film/TombRaider Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life]]'', "scales the heights of filmmaking" for ''[[OneHundredAndTwentySevenHours 127 Hours]]'' and "will keep you at the edge of your seat" for ''Film/EdgeOfDarkness''. That last one was used by three separate reviews.
** Gene Shalit absolutely delights in these.
*** "When it comes to oddball titles, ''TheMenWhoStareAtGoats'' is certainly hard to ''bleat''."
*** "It's a spectacle to see, and you need spectacles to see it...and there's pandemonium on Pandora" for "Film/{{Avatar}}''.
*** "''Film/TheLovelyBones is lovely, and no bones about it!"
*** "Here is Zeus! And by Jupiter, it looks like Creator/LiamNeeson!" for ''ClashOfTheTitans''.
*** "TaylorLautner falls for TaylorSwift (as Lautner's character trips over a hurdle)...haha, it's a ''taylor-made'' romance!" for ''ValentinesDay''.
** Dutch example: if a Franchise/JamesBond movie is coming out, expect to read "James maakt het bond."[[note]]"Het bon'''t''' maken" is a Dutch expression loosely meaning "To raise a ruckus".[[/note]]
* Just about anytime an animated movie becomes critically and/or commercially successful, you'll find critics reminding us that [[AnimationAgeGhetto "animation is a medium that can be enjoyed by both adults and children."]] A statement so tired and overused that Roger Ebert, in his review of ''Ratatouille'', dismissed it as an annoying cliche.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* "For fans of (list three bands, one or two of those whose names are thrown around too much in their genre, and one that seems a bit out of left field)."
* Any band that has singable melodies and happens to be English will be hailed as ''the new Music/TheBeatles''.
* Any critic will at one point paraphrase Jon Landau's epic sentence ''I've seen the future of rock 'n' roll and his name is Music/BruceSpringsteen'', but replace it with a different artist.
* "Sophomoric" has become a cliche phrase within music reviews. As has the infamous "SophomoreSlump" that critics use to describe [[FollowUpFailure disappointing follow-up records]].
* Have you ever heard "whiskey-soaked" to describe anything but a blues or classic rock album?
** "Whiskey-soaked" is the stock phrase to describe Music/TomWaits' voice.
* Bill Anschell's humor piece "[[http://www.billanschell.com/jazzcritic.html How to Be a Jazz Critic]]" is basically a list of these.
* It seems that every rock single that gets released these days is an "anthem" of some kind. "An indie-rock anthem," "an anthem for today's generation," etc.
* Any variant on "Their old stuff was better" will do.
* "pretentious", "self-indulgent" or "dinosaur", especially where 1970's rock not amounting to ThreeChordsAndTheTruth or TotallyRadical is concerned.
* Anything recorded between 1976 and 1982 will have to answer to punk or new wave, Similarly, anything recorded between 1988 and 1997 will have to answer to AlternativeRock or grunge. In short, if there's a subversive musical movement {{caustic critic}}s champion as cutting edge or the future of music, especially if the album or artist is seen as "irrelevant" to that new movement, then expect that subject to be brought up in each review, regardless of the reviewed album's style, demographic or artistic intent. Certainly don't expect that review to take (or to understand) a non-"relevant" artist or style on its own merits.
** Here's a game for you to play: Every time you see a music mag use the word "relevant" as a replacement for "good" - take a shot. ([[DontTryThisAtHome On second thought, don't.]])
* "Raucous."
* A member of Music/SonicYouth once said during an interview that every album they release is invariably called either "A return to focus," "more song-oriented," or both.
* "Virtuosic" is almost always used for jazz, tech metal, and progressive rock artists. Also, "chops" seems to be the standard euphemism for any kind of musical talent.
* Guitar solos are always "blisteringly fast," or played with "lightning speed."
** Alternatively,"searing" or "blazing."
* There's a very nice list of these sorts of phrases on [[http://www.bored.com/findcliches/music.htm this page.]]
* When reading any review for a guitar, amp or effects pedal, expect any of these terms: Crunchy, gritty, bluesy, blistering, searing, fat, chunky, wide, smooth, biting, nasty, squeals, scooped, tinny, rich, warm, hollow, tubey and sings.
** And in a video review, no matter what they're reviewing, if they're playing a guitar they will make their O-face the whole time.
* Music/DavidBowie historians/biographers, and even the man himself, have noticed that starting with 1993's ''Black Tie White Noise'', his first solo album of TheNineties, critics '''love''' to use some variant on the praise "his best album since ''Music/ScaryMonstersAndSuperCreeps''" when reviewing his work. That 1980 [[NewWaveMusic New Wave]] album was followed by the mainstream mega-seller ''Let's Dance'' and then the [[Main/DorkAge dork ages]] of his mid-'80s output and the group Tin Machine, so it was regarded as "his last great album" for many years.
** Additionally, '''every''' article or review about David Bowie '''will''' use the word "chameleon" in one of the very first sentences.
* Similarly, ''every'' Music/TheRollingStones album will be called "their best album since ''Music/TattooYou''" or "their best album since ''Music/SomeGirls''". The next step on the ladder is "their best album since ''Music/ExileOnMainSt.''" but although the phrase has been uttered occasionally, consensus is that only ''Music/SomeGirls'' itself deserves it. The problem is that, your logical and mathematical mind might deduce that Rolling Stones' albums since the one after ''Music/TattooYou'' are better and better each time, but the review usually manages to imply that the album before the one under review was their worst ever. Which when given a careful thought ''makes absolutely no sense''.
* For Music/BobDylan, it's "best since ''Music/BloodOnTheTracks.''" Way to brush over decades worth of great material.
* The word "noodling" tends to follow so-called "[[JamBand jam bands]]" known for lengthy soloing, like Music/{{Phish}} and Music/TheGratefulDead.
* "Sensitive singer-songwriter". The word "bedsit" somehow will be found not in many reviews of "sensitive singer-songwriters".
* According to many music critics, every band and singer has some sort of "audience" in mind. Usually, it has something to do with age: a louder and more upbeat band is for a teenage and "young adult" (meaning [[ManChild immature college kid]]) audience, a light country band is for an "adult" (ie. [[JadedWashout middle-aged stick in the mud]]) audience, etc. If it isn't age, it's gender: The latest pop sensation specifically designs her music to appeal to [[GenkiGirl genki girls]], the latest heavy metal sensation is designed to appeal to [[RatedMForManly manly men]], etc. The possibility that a musician simply writes whatever music he/she likes (without a specific audience in mind) and that most people like a wide variety of musical genres/moods apparently eludes them.
* It was apparently a national law that any review of Music/WarrenZevon must include the word 'mordant' and a reference to ''Werewolves of London''.
* Music/TheyMightBeGiants has long been cursed by music writers who can't resist calling them "quirky".
* "Inoffensive", for music the reviewer doesn't consider edgy enough. In other words (as critic Chuck Eddy once pointed out), they were offended by it.
* "Tasty slab". As in (taken from a random music blog found in a quick Google search) "It’s a tasty slab of bass-heavy, window-shaking pop euphoria."
* [[PsychedelicRock "Psychedelic"]], "trippy", "druggy" or, if you really want to show off your word power, "lysergic". [[note]]The full name of LSD is lysergic acid diethylamide, but "lysergic" by itself just means "derived from dissolved ergot fungus."[[/note]]
* The book ''The Rock Snob's Dictionary'' has entries for "coruscating", "plangent" and "seminal".
* Any band or musician that is somewhat edgy or rebellious is "guaranteed to shock your parents." Even though today's parents grew up with everything from GangstaRap to Music/BritneySpears.
* "Aging rockers" for anyone in rock music older than 35. Oddly enough, the surviving ''pioneers'' of rock and roll, many of them in their ''eighties'', seem to escape this term.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* One episode of ''Series/SpinCity'' had Paul assigned to write a review of the Mayor's book. Paul's review ends up consisting entirely of stock phrases he stole from movie reviews, calling the book "a fast-paced thrill ride" and "a spectacle the whole family can enjoy", as well as the line "Stallone is pure adrenaline".
* On episode of ''Series/ThirtyRock'' has Pete use the stock acting description to say that Tracy Morgan is phoning it in. Then clarifies that this is NotHyperbole, he's doing the scene over the phone from his dressing room.
** In other episodes, Jack provides a quote for the back of Lemon's book: "Lemon numbers among my employees." Liz is also pleased when a magazine describes TGS as "still on."
* ''Series/TheWire'' was so often praised for its "[[Creator/CharlesDickens dickensian]]" storytelling that by the fifth season, they were lampshading it in dialogue among [[GoingForTheBigScoop clueless]] [[TakeThatCritics journalists]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' mocks this when Dogbert starts a film reviewing business, providing the review the filmmaker wants for a price. One man asks what the price is for "Best movie so far this year" for a film coming out January first.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* This is, perhaps, the oldest stock phrase in the book: "Fans of X will love Y. Everybody else...." It's been a staple of game reviews ever since their inception and, to this day, is frequently seen in reviews (mostly for SoOkayItsAverage [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed games]]). IGN, as far back as 2000, ridiculed this cliche in their review for a horrible Japan-only Nintendo 64 game based on the Ultraman universe: http://www.ign.com/articles/2000/03/28/pd-ultraman-battle-collection-64-import
* The two most common ones for the FirstPersonShooter genre follow.
** If the game has traditional cutscenes and a strong multiplayer element, then expect comparisons to CallOfDuty. This is often an insult.
** If the game is lower octane with a focus on campaign, then expect comparisons to Half-Life 2. This is often a compliment.
*** [[http://www.fimfiction.net/blog/211318/hot-button-beach-day-chapter-4-preview-halflife-2-review-it-blows Interestingly enough, there is a review that doesn't compare other games to Half-Life 2, but compares Half-Life 2 to other games.]]
** Of course, thanks to GIFT, and the remarkable tendency of stupid people on the internet to express their opinions, on sites like Metacritic, EVERY single {{FPS}} will at some point get a ludicrously negative review for no other reason than being "like Call of Duty" simply by the virtue of it having one or more of the following elements: A: first person perspective. B: Shooting. C: Linearity.
* Games Radar has a [[http://www.gamesradar.com/f/the-100-lamest-game-industry-clichs/a-20080722111130434045 database]] of Reviewer stock phrases, with ''100'' entries.
* The [=GamersWithJobs=] Conference Call, a weekly video game podcast, has a self-imposed and largely unsuccessful ban on the words "visceral" and "compelling," among others.
** [[LoadingReadyRun ENN]] had a segment about a robotic game reviewer that judged everything "compelling", which later became a tagline for the show.
* [[TemptingFate "The X Killer"]]. Remember ''{{Killzone}}'', which everyone said would be a "Halo killer"? [[AppealToObscurity No, of course not.]]
* KillerApp: a game so good it's a system seller: ''SuperMarioBros'', ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'', ''VideoGame/{{Tetris}}'', ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', et al.
* [[FollowTheLeader X Clone]]: a game that uses a successful game's style in a good or bad way. Double points if the "X" is extremely old and part of a genre that has changed a lot over time (like ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' for a FirstPersonShooter) or NewerThanTheyThink and not what the game is really inspired by: ''(VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'' was named a ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' clone instead of ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'', [[SignatureStyle with which it shares a director]]). Triple points if it's kind of accurate - see ''VideoGame/SaintsRow'' after ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' or ''VideoGame/UFOAfterBlank'' for ''{{VideoGame/X-COM}}''.
** LeagueOfLegends developers Riot Games invented the term Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) to describe their game because they were sick and tired of everyone referring to the genre as a [=DotA=] Clone.
* [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment "If this is the sort of game you'll like, then this is the sort of game you'll like."]]
* Before the whole push towards being obsessed with RetroGaming, it was common to see any post-1999 2D game being described as having "SNES graphics" in a bad way. Now people are starting to learn what SNES graphics ''really'' were. This stock phrase was replaced by the equally generic sounding "This game has graphics that look like if they were on the N64.
* Now that RetroGaming is more popular, games that pull it off well are "a love letter to [old console \ old PC model \ old gaming genre] fans".
* "Innovative," which gets dragged out whenever a game or peripheral uses an unconventional gimmick. They beat this horse particularly hard when the {{Wii}} and {{DS}} came out, but they learned their lesson when competing {{Waggle}}-devices were released.
* "Almost as fun to watch as it is to play."
* ''WebOriginal/{{Chrontendo}}'', wary of the phrases chronogamers use all too often, made [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-67BV7mJ5LI this video]], in which [[StylisticSuck he is playing those clichés for laughs]].
* "Game Of The Year" is used so frequently that it practically loses meaning.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* "It's like ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' in/on/with X" was and still is very popular to describe any very "mature" bit of western animation that includes loads of swearing or adult situations. It used to be that any very "mature" show that was VulgarHumor or RefugeInAudacity was compared to ''TheSimpsons'', but this has been phased out with other outrageous cartoon shows from Western Animation. Yet another sign that ''TheSimpsons'' isn't as outrageous as it used to be.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
* Whenever an [[VideoReviewShow internet-based critic]] reviews something bad, expect [[VulgarHumor a lot of]] fecal and/or sexual metaphors and swears.
* "Pedestrian" sees a lot of use among the more pretentious media critics.
* As Creator/GeorgeCarlin hilariously mocked, you can always expect "zesty," "tangy," or some other meaningless but novel word from bad food critics.
** There's also the Creator/FoodNetwork favorite, "nutty"
** "Succulent", beloved by hacky restaurant critics and hacky restaurant ad copywriters alike.
* Also, "fruity," "dry," or "aged to perfection" are guaranteed from any wine review.
** Speaking of those, no one ever '''drinks''' in wine reviews or "bar scene" columns in newspapers - they "tipple," "imbibe," or "libate." Similarly, bars are never just called '''bars''' - they're "watering holes," "dives," or "haunts". Very similar to SaidBookism.
* The term "dark." It's very old, tracing back to the Biblical days or further, and one of the most overused descriptors in the history of media. Any show that's violent, negative, or set in a CrapsackWorld is [[DarkerAndEdgier "dark."]] Any band that makes ominous, [[TrueArtIsAngsty angsty]], or sad music will inevitably be called "dark." Characters always have "[[DarkAndTroubledPast dark pasts]]" and "dark secrets" that will one day lead them to TheDarkSide. (Not to mention that a "[[ItWasADarkAndStormyNight Dark and stormy night"]] is never a good thing.) Thankfully, [[DarkIsNotEvil this often not the case.]]
** The Encyclopedia Metallum lampshaded this one: when listing a band's genre, it is expressly forbidden to describe them as "dark metal", their reasoning being that this description could literally mean absolutely anything.
** ''Fanfic/ThoseLackingSpines'' lampoons the word in literature, in which for about two paragraphs, every incidence of where the word "dark" would be was replaced with outrageous colors, such as "crimson", "sunshine yellow", and "chartreuse".
* Many upcoming artists (in all mediums) are often called "[Place]'s answer to [Similar, but much more famous person or band.]" For example, "Paris, Texas's answer to Music/{{Metallica}}."
* ''{{Freakonomics}}'' suggests that real estate agents do this; for example, describing as house as "fantastic" is strongly correlated with it being overpriced and/or a bit of a lemon, because they only have to resort to the generic adjectives when there's nothing particularly good about it.
* "I laughed. I cried. It was better than ''{{Cats}}''!" Fun fact: This is a MemeticMutation paraphrased from a 1980s ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' skit, in which a hypnotist entranced his audience to recommend his show to others.
* Car magazines, British ones in particular, are fond of praising models with particularly good space utilization by comparing them to the [[Series/DoctorWho TARDIS]], which is quite ironic given that [[CriticalResearchFailure the Doctor’s TARDIS has been established as being an extremely outdated model]].
* The word ''chic'' in fashion, can be applied to anything the reviewer likes, the word having no actual meaning unto itself.
** Ritz, glitz, chic, freak(y), geek, trashy, [[Creator/GeorgeCarlin and in.]] All entirely meaningless nowadays. Can also be applied to gossip rags [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment when applicable]].
* On ThisVeryWiki, it used to be common to find examples that are the "poster child" or "patron saint" of the trope in question.
[[/folder]]


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