I think it was generally panned by audiences and critics and that it was seen as slow and confusing/pointless.
I am interested in seeing it though, because my favorite movie critic (Jonathon Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader) had this to say in naming it one of his top ten of 2003:
"Masked and Anonymous -- a curious brainchild of Bob Dylan (the pseudonymous cowriter and star) and sitcom veteran Larry Charles (the pseudonymous cowriter and director) -- was slammed by some critics for relying on Dylan mythology. They ignored its unblinking look at American greed, corruption, and self-absorption -- only slightly disguised as dystopian fantasy -- and I suspect that's what really bothered them. Very few movies today follow the premise of Depression crime pictures like Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, and Scarface that our country is being run by gangsters, and this movie's unrelenting seediness has the uncommon merit of taking this premise for granted rather than making any particular point about it. It also refuses to sugarcoat the pill by making its nongangster characters any less odious: Jeff Bridges as a glib journalist stuck in the 60s is every bit as objectionable as John Goodman's bullnutsting concert organizer." -Jonathon Rosenbaum
every bit as objectionable as John Goodman's bullnutsting concert organizer."
The profanity editor on this board is hilarious! What orignally read as bull s h i t t i n g. Was translated as "bullnutsting." I don't know what that means, but if a bull ever gets stung in nuts, I don't want to be there.