Someone out there thought Richard Shepard‘s last film, one-joke pony "The Matador," was good enough to merit another film with bigger stars, and so we have "The Hunting Party," a satire featuring Richard Gere as a burnt-out journalist looking for the number one war criminal in Bosnia and Terrence Howard as his cameraman, a story adapted from a 2000 Esquire article by Scott Anderson. It works for Robert Wilonsky at the Village Voice, who declares that "Shepard…is becoming a master at finding the right tone, balancing the seriousness of his characters’ purpose with the madness of their intentions. He’s also found his styleâ€”and it’s noisy and sentimental and crude and a total goddamned blast." Not so, counters Ed Gonzalez at Slant," who writes that "Shepard only thinks he knows how to fake it so real that he’s beyond fake, bringing the same obnoxious, flashy style and go-nowhere satirical instincts to The Hunting Party that he applied to The Matador and the pilot episode of ABC’s Ugly Betty… this isn’t Wag the Dog, just pure serio-comic Hollywoodese."
"[Shepherd] has a conscience, too, but he couches it in a thick layer of irony. In the process, the film pays proper homage to real-life adventurers who have been exposed to so much human misery that they can only beat it back with dark jokes and oceans of hard liquor," argues Scott Tobias at the Onion AV Club, while Manohla Dargis at the New York Times sighs that "Much like those renegade cops who always work outside the very system that produced them (a system that, natch, finally does bow to the righteousness of the renegade), the only good movie journalist is one who tells off the guys wearing ties cosseted safely back in the newsroom," adding that the film "lurches from maudlin to arch to frantic. Every so often a corpse pops up on screen as a reminder of just how unfunny this whole thing is." And Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly muses that "What isn’t so easy to laugh off is the prospect of a movie that uses ethnic cleansing as a springboard for laughs. I left feeling a bit uncomfortable, but the fact that Shepard gets away with it at all is a testament to his talent."