Clint Eastwood‘s J. Edgar currently has a lousy 45% Rotten Tomatoes rating, and my guess is that this number isn’t going to rise very much between now and opening day (i.e., Wednesday). But a portion of the Friends-of-Clint Club (i.e., NY & LA elites who’ve generally stuck by him and have occasionally found ways to give even his lesser films a pass) are giving their approval. These include N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis, The New Yorker‘s David Denby, MSN critic Glenn Kenny, etc. Richard Roeper is actually calling J. Edgar “one of the best films of 2011.”

“It’s not bad for what it is,” I wrote last weekend. “No, better than not bad. ‘Decent’ is a fair term to use. It’s Clint’s version of Brokeback Mountain, in a sense, and is finely performed and professionally assembled, etc. But for all the things it does right and despite that feeling of rock-bottom assurance that an Eastwood film always provides, J. Edgar is a moderately boring film, at times in an almost punishing way. Mostly because it’s a profound drag to spend time with such a sad, clenched and closeted tight-ass.”

Update: In Contention‘s Kris Tapley has just tweeted “kudos to the precious few willing to review just J. Edgar, [and] not Eastwood’s impressive directorial spryness at this stage of his career.”