The Movie Report
Volume 53

#202 - 203
July 30, 1999 - August 6, 1999

all movies are graded out of four stars (****)

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#203 August 6, 1999
by Michael Dequina


The Iron Giant poster The Iron Giant (PG) ****
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When I first saw the trailer for Warner Bros.' latest animated feature The Iron Giant, the thought that immediately came to mind was "E.T. with a robot." Little did I know just how much truth would lie in that statement. Rather than a cheap ripoff of that family classic, The Iron Giant is a newly-minted one in its own right, spinning a yarn that is fun, funny, and, most crucially, poignant and inspiring--much like Steven Spielberg film of 17 years ago.

Any film, whether live action or animated, lives or dies by what's on the page, and the key ingredient in The Iron Giant's success is the script by Tim McCanlies and director Brad Bird, based on the book The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. A basic plot synopsis--youngster Hogarth Hughes (voice of Eli Marienthal) finds a giant alien robot (Vin Diesel)--fails to do justice to what the story entirely encompasses. It is on this simple plot thread that McCanlies and Bird hang a number of well-developed themes: friendship, choosing one's identity, and a staunch anti-violence stance.

The Iron Giant may sound overly preachy and heavyhanded, but that could not be farther from the truth. These themes are subtly and seamlessly integrated into the story, as is the film's witty sense of humor. The film takes place in 1957, and Bird not only captures the look and atmosphere of that bygone era, but also its state of mind--most notably the post-WWII fear of an atomic holocaust, which is mined for some good satiric laughs (a sugarcoated classroom film on what to do in the event of a bombing is especially funny). That sense of paranoia also goes a long way in explaining character motivation, namely that of government Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald), who believes the Iron Giant is a weapon of war that must be destroyed.

Smart touches such as those may fly over the heads of the children in the audience, but the action and humor of The Iron Giant will not fail to delight them and the adults in attendance. Young and old can also share in the enjoyment of the believable characters. The youthful exuberance and curiosity of both Hogarth and the Iron Giant are incredibly endearing, a quality bolstered by the vocal performances of Marienthal and Diesel. McDonald's Kent is an amusingly hissable baddie, and Jennifer Aniston and Harry Connick Jr. disappear nicely into their roles as Hogarth's mother and beatnik friend Dean, respectively.

The animation in The Iron Giant won't soon erase memories of the intricate camera moves featured in Disney's Tarzan, but it is a huge step up from Warner Bros.'s recent animated embarrassments, Quest for Camelot and the awful The King and I. The clean yet simple art style is a better fit for this story than any more technologically advanced approach would be; it lends a nice comic book-like air to the proceedings. (Not coincidentally, the Iron Giant's resemblance to a character in one of Hogarth's comic books is a prominent point.) The simplicity doesn't come at the expense of expressiveness, however, for all the characters' faces--even the Iron Giant's--vividly register on the emotional scale.

The strength of those emotions took me quite by surprise by the close of The Iron Giant, when I realized just how much I grew to care about these characters and their fates. With its wit and adventuresome spirit, The Iron Giant is a superbly entertaining film for the entire family, but what makes it transcendent--much like E.T.--is how deeply it is able to touch its audience.

The Sixth Sense poster The Sixth Sense (PG-13) ** 1/2
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If a movie is only as good as its ending, then The Sixth Sense, with its boffo, perception-altering shock of a conclusion, should be one of the best thrillers in recent years. But that closing stroke of genius cannot add a much-needed layer of interest and urgency to the talky tale that serves as the twist's slow-going lead-in.

That said, that bulk of The Sixth Sense plays better than its individual parts would lead one to believe. Bruce Willis stars as psychologist Malcolm Crowe, and the last time he played someone in the field of psychoanalysis was in that notoriously unerotic thriller Color of Night. Malcolm is also happens to be a child psychologist, meaning Willis plays most of his scenes alongside a boy... not unlike last year's boring flop, Mercury Rising.

The key difference with The Sixth Sense is that writer-director M. Night Shyamalan has given Willis and his cast something to work with. While that "something" isn't always effective, it is certainly sturdier than those other films. A year after getting shot by a former patient (who then shot himself), Malcolm takes up the case of Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a troubled 8-year-old who exhibits some of Malcolm's deceased patient's symptoms. But the root of Cole's trouble goes beyond divorced parents and an unstable home: he has the ability to see ghosts.

While The Sixth Sense does feature its share of shock sequences where Cole is visited by (often bleeding) phantoms, Shyamalan's main interest isn't necessarily scaring the audience. He seems more concerned with the troubled relationships: that between Malcolm and Cole and the more troubled ones between Cole and his mother (Toni Collette) and Malcolm and his wife (Olivia Williams, sadly underused). The performances, particularly Osment and the versatile Collette's, go a long way in making the drama believable and sometimes affecting; Willis even comes off well in an uncharacteristically subdued turn.

The problem lies with Shyamalan's plodding pacing. The film follows a predictable rhythm of having a long series of patience-testing dialogue-heavy scenes followed by a "shock" scene, momentarily jolting the audience back into alertness before sent back into a haze by the next series of dialogue scenes. Shyamalan would have been wise to do some much-needed tightening to his script, which could have lost a number of these talky scenes to no ill effect whatsoever.

Shyamalan must be given credit, however, for writing and pulling off such a terrific surprise ending. It's a testament to his skill as a director that the important clues he drops are barely noticeable en route to the conclusion, which consequently does not feel like a cheap gimmick; in fact, it nicely ties together the weightier themes the film addresses. Alas, as inspired as it is, the twist is too little, too late, and cannot completely redeem the far less interesting remainder of The Sixth Sense.

The Thomas Crown Affair poster The Thomas Crown Affair (R) ***
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The original version of The Thomas Crown Affair, released in 1968, is an ideal project to be remade. The sleek Norman Jewison-directed, Steve McQueen-Faye Dunaway-starring caper is an entertaining film, but certainly not a great one, leaving a sizable margin for improvement. The 1999 version, directed by John McTiernan and starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, isn't that much better a film than its predecessor, for its inspired updates simply make it an enjoyable romantic romp in its own right.

The most dramatic alteration is the central act of theft pulled off by bored billionaire Thomas Crown (Brosnan) is an art heist, not a bank robbery, and the film is better for it. An art museum proves to be a vastly more interesting setting than a bank, leaving a lot more room for creativity in the caper scene. (Jewison obviously strained to keep things visually interesting in his film, employing a busy split-screen technique that appears terribly dated through contemporary eyes.) After pulling off a clever and oh-so-slick scheme, Thomas comes away from the museum with a Monet valued at $100 million--and with chic insurance investigator Catherine Banning (Russo) hot on his tail.

And when I say "hot," I mean hot: Catherine may indeed be interested in recovering that painting, but she's much more interested in Thomas himself, whose suave, carefree ways arouse--and, in many ways, mirror--her. The dangerous affair they eventually fall into makes for the heart of both this and the 1968 film, and it is in this area that the newer film makes a stronger case. Despite the palpable electricity between McQueen and Dunaway, the original's romance felt rushed and therefore somewhat forced; here, screenwriter Leslie Dixon (who shares screenplay credit with Kurt Wimmer, who, in a unique arrangement, handled only the action scenes) fleshes out the love story, showing how their basic desire develops into real affection.

That said, the updated romance does have more than its share of sizzle--and how could it not when it pairs two of the most attractive and magnetic stars (and both north of 40, no less) in film today? Brosnan's presence may seem cool to the point of freezing for some, but that's the key to his allure--his debonair detachment, which is a strong fit for Thomas. The stunning Russo, however, is all fire. A veteran of adventure films, Russo has finally found a role that enables her to blend her popular brand of vulnerable machisma with a strong dose of natural feminine wiles, and she obviously relishes the chance to vamp it up.

This is no clearer than in the centerpiece seduction scene, where Thomas and Catherine's attraction erupts to a boil during a torrid dance. (In a nice touch, the song they dance to is an uptempo rendition of the original film's Oscar-winning theme song, "The Windmills of Your Mind"--which also recurs as the couple's instrumental love theme.) The scene smolders--and how could it not, especially with Russo shimmying in a slinky see-through dress?--but it doesn't hold a candle to its classic counterpart in the original film, where Thomas and Catherine engage in the steamiest chess game ever committed to film. While the new scene is all about sex--and how--what's missing is the added dimension of intellectual seduction that took place as the two ever-so-erotically matched wits on the chess board.

McTiernan, of course, has made his name as a crack action director (anyone not remember Die Hard?), so naturally this remake features a more elaborate action climax. What is surprising, though, is that the complexity comes not in the amount of pyrotechnics--there aren't any--but in the imagination and smarts behind it. I won't give anything away, but the clever machinations are more exciting than any big explosion could ever be.

The Thomas Crown Affair may be a bit too laid-back and older-skewing to be a blockbuster hit, but it gives the summer something it has been sorely lacking: a strong sense of class, which is more than welcome in this season of crass.

In Brief

Illuminata poster Illuminata (R) ** 1/2
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Illuminata features some of the most astoundingly beautiful passages of dialogue heard in recent memory--and how fitting, considering that John Turturro's sophomore directorial outing is about a writer. Turturro himself plays the resident playwright of a struggling theater company in 1905 New York; he is eager to put on one of his own plays, but the theater owners (Beverly D'Angelo and Donal McCann) would rather his company perform more established works. The film is ostensibly about the playwright's struggle to put on his play (titled, of course, Illuminata), which he has written expressly for his love and the company's lead actress (Katherine Borowitz, Turturro's real-life wife), but Turturro loses his through-line in a sea of not-always-interesting subplots for his ensemble cast (which also includes Susan Sarandon, Rufus Sewell, and a hilarious Christopher Walken). With a streamlined script--and a resulting clearer focus--Illuminata could have been a lot more than what it is, which is a well-acted assemblage of often-beautiful dialogue.

Mystery Men poster Mystery Men (PG-13) **
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A group of inept would-be superheroes must save their city from the evil plot of a madman. It is a premise ripe with comic possibility, and it has indeed proven to be a surefire laugh-getter when done right--as in the late, great Fox animated series The Tick, where our slightly disturbed blue hero and his flying accountant sidekick often joined forces with a group of less-than-super crimefighters known as the Civic-Minded Five. Unfortunately, Mystery Men, based on a comic book by Bob Burden and directed by commercial vet Kinka Usher, isn't nearly as funny. Blame scripter Neil Cuthbert, who fails to come up with worthy gags and one-liners for his incredibly able cast (Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, William H. Macy, Paul Reubens, Kel Mitchell, and Wes Studi are the heroes; Geoffrey Rush is the villain); and Usher, who is too distracted by all the nifty gadgets and neat set design to develop a sense of pace or comic timing.


Finding Graceland DVD Finding Graceland (PG-13) ** 1/2
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The Elvis Presley Foundation gave its official endorsement (no less than Priscilla Presley herself serves as executive producer) to this straight-to-cable dramedy, which explains the extensive access director David Winkler and his crew had in filming in and around the King's former estate. Similarly explainable is the Presley seal of approval, for the King comes off quite positively in this slight story of a depressed widower (Johnathon Schaech) who, while en route to Memphis, reluctantly picks up an eccentric drifter (Harvey Keitel) who is convinced that he is Elvis himself. It's every bit as cornball as it sounds, with "Elvis" helping his new friend come to terms with his grief and the rest of his life. But it's also strangely likable, due in no small part to the warmth of stars Keitel and Bridget Fonda, who is on hand as, yes, a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. (Columbia TriStar Home Video; DVD also available)

Killer Tongue DVD Killer Tongue (R) no stars
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Sometimes you can know a stinker from its title, and, indeed, something by the name of Killer Tongue has "crap" written all over it. But nothing prepared me for just how crappy--and I mean shitty--this direct-to-video monstrosity is. OK, maybe I can swallow the set-up, where a piece of meteorite falls into the soup of unsuspecting bank robber Candy (Melinda Clarke) and brings her tongue to murderous life. But that didn't prepare me for what followed: the tongue impregnating (!) Candy; their ensuing love/hate relationship and banter; Candy's flamboyantly effeminate housemates; and all manner of nonsense involving a badly toupéed prison warden (Robert Englund, no less), who holds Candy's boyfriend (Jason Durr) prisoner. One is often grateful that this unwatchable mess is often rendered literally so by the sloppy crop (as opposed to pan-and-scan) job, which simply cuts off the sides of the 2.35:1 widescreen image and preserves the middle--even if all the action takes place on the periphery. (A-Pix Entertainment)

A Midsummer Night's Dream DVD A Midsummer Night's Dream (PG-13) ** 1/2
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Arriving on video shelves not too long after the theatrical run of the star-studded William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is this Royal Shakespeare Company production, which has sat on Miramax's shelf since 1996. Of course, this version didn't have the big budget of that recent release, and screenwriter/director Adrian Noble tries to make up for it with an intriguing avant garde minimalist staging: the action in the forest, where four young lovers criss-cross at the hands of some fairy magic, takes place on a virtually bare stage only adorned with hanging lightbulbs and doorways, with the occasional floating umbrella and (sometimes CGI) water effects. Ultimately, though, this Bard-by-way-of-Cirque-du-Soleil approach--complete with feather-heavy costumes and barefoot actors--is more of a distraction than an enhancement, along with the peculiar device of having a young boy silently kulk around the sets, being largely ignored by the actors (who, I must note, do a predictably fine job). (Miramax Home Entertainment)

Tale of the Mummy VHS Russell Mulcahy's Tale of the Mummy (R) * 1/2
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Unless you find the idea of killer mummy wraps particularly frightening, chances are you'll find this direct-to-vid thriller as ridiculous as I did. Jason Scott Lee, whose career has suffered an unfortunate decline since an amazing splash in 1993 (with Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and Map of the Human Heart), plays an American investigator tracking a mysterious string of murders in London. The culprit? You guessed it: the dusty, musty wrappings of an ancient Egyptian mummy called Talos--not the mummy, but its raggedy, fraying gauze. I'm sorry, but should ancient--and, hence, weak and decaying--rags be all that hard to fight? If that isn't enough to sink this film for viewers, then the forced, out-of-nowhere romance (between Lee and newcomer Louise Lombard) and the predictable, gimmicky "twist" finale will. (Dimension Home Video; DVD also available)

Tango poster Tango (PG-13) **
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Run Lola Run. The Celebration. The Dreamlife of Angels. These are but three of the deserving foreign films that got passed over for an Oscar nod for Best Foreign Language Film in favor of this lackluster drama from Argentina. As the title implies, the centerpiece of the film is the tango, and writer-director Carlos Saura's film is virtually wall-to-wall with stunningly shot (award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro did the photography) and beautifully performed dance numbers. Unfortunately, only virtually wall-to-wall, for a most uninteresting and unsatisfying story about an aging film director's (Miguel Angel Sola) forbidden romance with a younger dancer (Mia Maestro) pads the film between dance scenes. Fast forward through these tedious scenes and cut to the seductive dance numbers. (Columbia TriStar Home Video; DVD also available)

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#202 July 30, 1999 by Michael Dequina


Deep Blue Sea poster Lake Placid poster Deep Blue Sea (R) *** 1/2
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Lake Placid (R) * 1/2
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In this most uncommonly eclectic summer of films--which has offered just about everything from record-shattering space epics to potty-mouthed animated kids--it's ironic that the one thing that has been missing is the typical summertime staple: the all-out, full-throttle action extravaganza. Leave it to popcorn director extraordinaire Renny Harlin to fill the void in explosive fashion with his exciting super-shark thriller Deep Blue Sea.

The killer shark theme of Deep Blue Sea will inevitably (and understandably) invite comparison to Jaws. However, Harlin's film is more reminiscent of the Alien films, with a group of people trapped in a confined space as murderous monsters stalk the halls: in this case, three sharks that have large, genetically-altered brains--and a larger appetite for blood to match. If one must describe Deep Blue Sea in terms of other films, the best way to do so would be as "Aliens meets Jaws meets The Abyss," for the sea laboratory setting also means that our human cast must also evade, as in that third film, violent rushes of water.

If I said there weren't much more going on in Deep Blue Sea aside from sharks chasing people, I'd only be half lying. There is a plot behind the mayhem; something about how the enhanced sharks are part of scientist Susan McAlester's (Saffron Burrows) experiments in developing a way to regenerate human brain tissue. But all plot pretty much goes out the window once the first of her three test sharks breaks loose, setting off a chain reaction of events that traps Susan and five others (played by Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J, Thomas Jane, Michael Rapaport, and Jacqueline McKenzie) aboard the lab facility, which floats somewhere in the ocean.

Of course, Harlin does take a break here and there from the ensuing action in the interest of plot. In theory, this would make this thrill ride a bit more well-rounded, but the dialogue scenes play as excess baggage--and often of the most ludicrous variety. Many of the quieter moments were met with derisive laughter by the audience, and it's no surprise considering how laughable much of writers Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers, and Wayne Powers's dialogue is. The characters (and actors) are pretty much faceless mice placed into an experimental maze, and the heavyhanded "dramatic" moments meant to correct the situation just end up hurting the film.

Despite the hamfisted stabs at dramatic substance, Harlin never loses his wicked sense of fun, best exemplified by how one character's earnestly over-the-top monologue is punctuated by the fatal chomp of a shark. Fun is the intent of pictures such as Deep Blue Sea, and Harlin delivers the goods, as he has many times in the past (most recently in the underrated 1996 machisma-fueled shoot-'em-up The Long Kiss Goodnight). Those breath-catching pauses for talk do not derail the propulsive momentum of the film, which is essentially one long run from the water and sharks. There may be no emotional attachment to any of the characters (though LL Cool J's wisecracking chef proved to be an audience favorite, and indie stalwart Jane ably holds down the action hero role), but the suspense and fright factor are definitely felt as they are hunted down by the trio of sharks.

Deep Blue Sea is indeed a triumph of Harlin's style over a lack of substance, but when the results are as exciting and exhilarating as this fast-paced thrill ride, any such complaint is moot. After all, what more can anyone ask from an unpretentious piece of pure action escapism?

On the other hand, "exciting" and "exhilarating" aren't the words I'd use to describe the season's other "killer creature in the water" movie, Lake Placid. "Bizarre" is more like it. I hesitate to call Steve Miner's film, in which a giant crocodile gobbles up anyone who sets foot in a still Maine lake either a thriller or a comedy, and not because it fairly seamlessly blends both of those genres. It's that it doesn't do either aspect much justice. The "scare" sequences fail to do so, especially due to the less-than-effective croc effects; and the humorous touches thrown in by writer David E. Kelley--yes, the same David E. Kelley responsible for such TV series as Ally McBeal and The Practice--aren't so much smart as they are silly. The cast, which is led by Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, and an amusingly foul-mouthed Betty White, is game enough, but they cannot elevate the weak material beyond the watchable junk level.

Runaway Bride poster Runaway Bride (PG) ***
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Ever since Pretty Woman came out of nowhere to become a box office sensation in 1990--and propelling Julia Roberts's star and salary into the stratosphere--there has been ongoing rumblings about a possible sequel. Thankfully, no such unnecessary revisit with millionaire Edward Lewis and prostitute Vivian Ward has ever made it to the big screen, but some nine years after the release of that much-loved romantic comedy comes something quite close to a sequel: a reunion of stars Roberts and Richard Gere and director Garry Marshall. And while Runaway Bride isn't quite at the magical level of Pretty Woman (then again, what is?), this satisfying charmer has all the makings of (pardon the bad pun) another runaway hit.

Aside from Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride must also face comparison with Roberts's early-summer romantic comedy hit, Notting Hill, and again the newer film falls short; it lacks the running satire of Tinseltown celebrity that gave that fluffy film an unexpected edge. Runaway Bride is simply just fluff, with a typically preposterous set-up to match: New York-based USA Today columnist Ike Graham (Gere) hears about Hale, Maryland resident Maggie Carpenter's (Roberts) penchant for abandoning bridegrooms at the altar--3 and counting--from a stranger at a bar and then proceeds to write an unflattering piece on her. His inaccuracy-filled article prompts a complaint letter from Maggie, costing Ike his job. Seeing a "corrected" piece on Maggie as a way to jumpstart a freelance career--and anxious to see her dump Groom Number 4, whom she is set to wed in a week's time--Ike goes down to Hale to investigate.

Once the knotty exposition is out of the way, it is Marshall and scripters Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott's job to step back and let the Roberts-Gere sparks take over, and the well-matched stars pick up where they left off on that Hollywood fire escape nine years ago; they sizzle together, and it is impossible not to have a rooting interest in their characters' eventual coupledom. Equally as well-matched are each star and their respective role. Maggie is a flighty kook not unlike Pretty Woman's Vivian, except (to crib a line from She's All That) "for the whole hooker thing," and accordingly, Roberts is very convincing in Maggie's skin. On the other hand, Ike is a polar opposite to Pretty Woman's uptight Edward, but Gere obviously has fun--and is quite fun--as a charming, if troublemaking, scamp.

Of course, Marshall and the writers cannot completely disappear, and they bring a number of entertaining comic situations--including a couple of blatant, but not distracting, mirror scenes to Pretty Woman--and witty dialogue to the affair. They also surround Roberts and Gere with a colorful supporting cast; the standouts are the always-effective Joan Cusack as Maggie's best friend and Christopher Meloni, a hoot as Maggie's athletic-minded fiancé. In addition to Roberts, Gere, and Marshall, Hector Elizondo is also on hand for the reunion, but his involvement in the story is limited at best as Ike's photographer friend. Especially disappointing is Elizondo's lack of onscreen interaction with Roberts, with whom he worked so memorably in the last collaboration.

Runaway Bride is sure to be knocked as ridiculous hokum, which, much like Pretty Woman, it certainly is. And like that previous film, it gives the audience what it wants to see: an irresistible confection that serves up the laughs and a sweet, involving romance, with the proven Roberts-Gere electricity as the not-so-secret ingredient that gives the film its special kick.

In Brief

Drop Dead Gorgeous poster Dick poster Drop Dead Gorgeous (PG-13) **
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Dick (PG-13) *** 1/2
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Drop Dead Gorgeous, writer Lona Williams and director Michael Patrick Jann's dark mock documentary details the events leading up to Mount Rose, Minnesota's American Teen Princess pageant, namely the rivalry between two leading candidates: rich bitch Becky Leeman (Denise Richards), daughter of the pageant coordinator and former Teen Princess (Kirstie Alley); and trailer park good girl Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst), daughter of a former runner-up (Ellen Barkin). Williams and Jann's targets are easy ones--pageants, Minnesotans, small towns--but the film bats a surprisingly low hit-to-miss ratio, with the truly inspired moments (the wheelchair-bound, anorexic reigning Teen Princess's wincingly hilarious musical number) lost in a sea of just plain unfunny ones (Amber's mother gets a beer can permanently fused to her hand after an explosion). Also a big miss is the predictable "mystery" element to the film, which has a number of contestants meeting untimely eliminations from competition. Ultimately, Drop Dead Gorgeous exhibits a lot of attitude but not a whole lot of smarts.

Dunst has much better luck with the other, much more intelligent satire she is also currently starring in, Dick. In what can be described as "teenage Romy and Michele take down the president," teen dim bulbs Betsy (Dunst) and Abigail (Michelle Williams) fall into the good graces of President Nixon (Dan Hedaya) and the positions of "Official White House Dog Walkers" after witnessing the Watergate break-in. Indeed, it is not the most promising of premises, but director Andrew Fleming, along with Sheryl Longin, writing collaborator turn it into gold by deftly weaving fact and fiction into a wholly convincing--and hilarious--tapestry. For instance, we learn the "true" origin of Tricky Dick's famous stance as well as what was on those missing 18 and a half minutes on Nixon's tapes (nothing criminal, but perhaps something more embarrassing). Ironically, it is those clever details that will likely lead Dick to suffer the same weak box office fate that befell another savvy satire, last spring's Election--it is simply too smart (and, in this case, too historical) for its targeted teen audience.


Baby Geniuses poster Baby Geniuses (PG) no stars
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This past spring, Sony Pictures decided to bite the bullet and release this "comedy" after a year-long stint on the shelf. If only they kept it there, for this is one completely unwatchable piece of bottom-feeding dreck. (That it managed to do moderately well at the box office tells me something about the American moviegoing public that I don't want to know.) Kathleen Turner hams it up as a scientist who sees the key to world domination as cracking the code of baby language. The one person who can foil her plot is Sly, a supersmart, superstrong, and generally superhuman baby whom she raised with some "revolutionary" child rearing techniques. If that isn't enough to make you avoid this video like the plague, then this will: in the film's opening (ahem) action scene, a computer-animated Sly--no more true-to-life than Ally McBeal's notorious dancing baby--takes out some security guards with some high-flying martial arts. Need I say more? (Columbia TriStar Home Video; DVD also available)

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