It's miraculous casting, and the Australian Davis -- for my money the finest actress around, bar none -- is simply uncanny in her command of East Coast gentility combined with razor-sharp timing and comedic expression.
Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times, 2013-12-06
The Ref benefits from having actor's actors like Davis and Spacey in the leads.
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, 2013-12-06
What makes most of this work is the brio of the acting, though the direction by Ted Demme and the script by Richard LaGravenese and Marie Weiss certainly don't hurt.
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader, 2007-11-27
In his first starring role, comedian Leary makes his ranting career criminal strangely sympathetic.
Geoff Andrew, Time Out, 2006-02-09
Staying clear of any mean-spirited attitudes, The Ref is a film to warm the hearts and touch the nerves of dysfunctional families everywhere.
Caryn James, New York Times, 2003-05-20
Demme brings out the comic ease in Leary.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, 2001-05-12
Material like this is only as good as the acting and writing. The Ref is skillful in both areas.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 2000-01-01
It's not a bad idea, but it's not a good movie, either.
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune, 2013-12-06
Whether it's a function of sloppy editing or sloppy writing, few of these supporting players and their accompanying subplots pay off.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2013-12-06
A foulmouthed sitcom of a film.
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, 2011-09-07
The Ref works virtually none of the miracles of [Richard LaGravenese's screenplay for The Fisher King,] his previous mix 'n' match effort.
Variety Staff, Variety, 2009-03-26
The Ref is one of those rare movies that seem to have everything going for it -- a promising director, terrific actors and an original, unapologetically grown-up script -- yet somehow still turns out to be a phenomenal drag.
Hal Hinson, Washington Post, 2000-01-01
This is not a seamlessly constructed movie, but as long as you're not expecting great art, it's unlikely to disappoint.
James Berardinelli, ReelViews, 2000-01-01
This is one holiday party you'll want to miss.
Desson Thomson, Washington Post, 2000-01-01