- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In the middle of the dramatic destruction of Aunt Josephine's house, the tension is immediately cut by the inexplicable appearance of the Aflac duck screaming.
- Broken Base: There have been many fan debates about the quality of the film, not to mention the open-ended conclusion of the books.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Daniel Handler's reaction to the fact that all of The Wide Window was filmed - "You did?! You filmed the entire segment of The Wide Window!? - followed by his reaction - "You said this was not in the film!" (paraphrasing!) - concerning The Marvelous Marriage seems to scream of this.
- Harsher in Hindsight: In the DVD commentary of the film, Lemony Snicket snarks the director for saying that Cedric the Entertainer adds "urban flare" to the film merely because Cedric happens to be the Token Minority and a black guy. In 2014, Daniel Handler (Snicket's real-life alter ego) made a racist joke about winner Jacqueline Woodson being allergic to watermelons while hosting the National Book Awards. Handler had to apologize, which he did via Twitter.
- Ho Yay: In a deleted scene, Constable and a critic played by Dustin Hoffman get to banter as they watch The Marvelous Marriage. The Critic even asks Constable if they want to get Chinese [food] after the show.
- Love to Hate: Count Olaf. Jim Carrey's portrayal gives the character just enough comedy to go with the evil of the original, and actually makes him come off as smarter than his book counterpart.
- Mis-blamed: The plot of the film is attacked for trying to fix the insubstantial nature of the books it was based on; alleged leaks of the author's original screenplays indicate that he'd have deviated even more wildly.
- The Netflix series, produced directly by Handler, pretty much confirms this, as it slowly changed a lot from the books, even more than this film.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- That moment when Count Olaf lets go of Josephine, as the boat sinks. We actually get to see her sink with the boat in a deleted scene.
- The DVD's main menu and the film's credits both look really, really good. Too good. It's jarring to see that the film played up the whimsy of the books, only to get imagery that's dark and eerie and really captures how vicious Olaf is to capture the Baudelaires.
- Retroactive Recognition: Jane Lynch gets a short cameo as a realtor.
- So Okay, It's Average: Perhaps it didn't quite deliver the grim charm of the original books, but it was respectful to them for the most part.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The way that Count Olaf is defeated (in an ending that is lifted from the first book, The Bad Beginning) is completely different. In the book, Violet makes the marriage invalid by signing the wedding vows with her left hand, and the law says the vows must be signed using the hand of the bride, and since Violet is right-handed, it's technically invalid. In the film, it is Not His Sled: Olaf catches on to this deception and forces Violet to sign it with her right hand, meaning it's up to Klaus to save her all for the sake of a more exciting, Hollywood climax.
- Uncanny Valley: The CGI Sunny that appears in a flashback when Klaus tosses her something and she catches it with her teeth.
YMMV / A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)