From the critics’ reaction to director Ron Howard’s The DaVinci Code, it looks like Opie forgot a major rule of filmmaking: If you’re going to make a controversial movie, at least make it a good one.

Reports Reuters:

At a screening late on Tuesday in Cannes, members of the audience laughed at the thriller’s pivotal moment, and the end of the $125 million picture was greeted with stony silence.

Trade publication Variety had barely a nice word to say.

"A pulpy page-turner in its original incarnation as a huge international bestseller has become a stodgy, grim thing in the exceedingly literal-minded film version of The Da Vinci Code," wrote Todd McCarthy.

Lee Marshall of Screen International agreed.

"I haven’t read the book, but I just thought there was a ridiculous amount of exposition," he said. "I thought it was plodding and there was a complete lack of chemistry between Audrey Tautou and Tom Hanks."

Critics say the controversy surrounding the film, and the fact more than 40 million people have bought the book, will ensure a strong box office performance, but they believe word-of-mouth is likely to hit sales later on.

We’ll wait for it to come out on cable.