Saw it last weekend, with mom and sis. Massively disappointing.
The movie added up to a great pile of nothing. While there were some great performances (Frances McDormand, George Clooney, even Dermot Mulroney in an amusing cameo), the whole picture felt like an arrogant, cruel joke being played on the audience. My sister put it best when she said that "this was a movie that had no reason to be made." I know that a lot of Coen brothers pictures can be described that way. But when they're at their best, the Coens ironically portray humanity at its best even among humans acting at their worst: Frances McDormand in Fargo, Holly Hunter and Nicholas Cage in Raising Arizona, and of course, Tommy Lee Jones in No Country for Old Men. There are no redeeming characters in Burn After Reading, and the slapdash plot fails to reach any satisfactory resolution. The ending reeks of a weak, narrative "happily ever after" copout.
But let me spare one final piece of invective for the Arizona Daily Star's movie critic/idiot-in-residence, Phil Villareal. His review of BAR is a textbook example of shitty newspaper review writing. About 80% of the review is devoted to a plot summary. He drops a key spoiler about midway through the review. He incorrectly lists George Clooney's profession as a "security guard" (uhhh, he's a U.S. Marshal, dumbass). And he refers to John Malkovich as Tilda Swinton's "hubby." What is this, Page 6 of the New York Post?