Get Inside!

A round-up of summer's surefire hits (and definite duds)

Clerks II
(MGM)
Starring:Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson and Rosario Dawson
Written and directed by: Kevin Smith (Clerks)
What it's about: Dante (O'Halloran) and Randal (Anderson) are still slacking away their lives, except their twenties have turned into their thirties, and both work at fast-food joint Mooby's. In other words, this is what Kevin Smith does when his attempt at maturity (Jersey Girl) tanks, and he's left going back to the well. Again. And again.
Why you should see it: Because it's just like Clerks. With a Jason Lee cameo.
Why you should not: It really is just like Clerks.

Lady in the Water
(Warner Bros.)
Starring: Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man), Bryce Dallas Howard (Manderlay) and Freddy Rodriguez
Written and directed by: M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, The Village)
What it's about: A lonely apartment building superintendent (Giamatti) discovers a beautiful woman (Howard) in the building's swimming pool, who turns out to be a mermaid. And there are other supernatural creatures after her...
Why you should see it: Advance word says there's no gratuitous twist ending this time. Shyamalan's a good director when he doesn't paint himself into a corner; even The Village had its moments until that terrible "surprise" finish.
Why you should not: This film's been labeled a "bedtime story." What does that even mean?

Monster House
(Sony)
Starring:Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee and Nick Cannon
Directed by: First-timer Gil Kenan
Written by: Pamela Pettler, Dan Harmon and Ron Schrab
What it's about: Sounds like The 'Burbs meets Poltergeist: Three kids live next door to a creepy house that turns out to be...duh-duh-dunh...a monster.
Why you should see it: Uh...uh...it's animated?
Why you should not: Have you seen the trailer? Was it made in 1992?

Super Ex-Girlfriend
(Fox)
Starring:Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson and Anna Faris
Directed by: Ivan Reitman (Old School)
Written by: Don Payne (The Simpsons)
What it's about: Wilson plays a normal dude who dumps the super-needy superhottie G-Girl (Thurman), who proves hell hath no fury like a superwoman scorned. In other words, what if Lois Lane broke up with Superman, and he didn't take it well? At all.
Why you should see it: Ivan Reitman directed Ghostbusters, Stripes and Meatballs.
Why you should not: Ivan Reitman directed Six Days Seven Nights, Father's Day and Evolution.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon
(Lions Gate)
Starring:John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Written and directed by:David Leaf and John Scheinfeld
What it's about:Focusing on the years when Lennon turned from musical genius to long-haired hippie, this documentary traces the efforts of the American government to silence — or at least keep away — the famous peacenik. Will the film take a few jabs at the current tightasses in charge? Does patchouli stink?
Why you should see it: This is interesting stuff, and there's got to be some laughs to be had at the expense of the super-square feds who wasted time going after a musician.
Why you should not: Three words: Hippie self-righteousness. (Two more? Yoko Ono.)

Barnyard
(Paramount)
Starring:Kevin James, Courteney Cox Arquette and Danny Glover
Written and directed by: Steve Oedekerk (Kung Pow: Enter the Fist)
What it's about: The owner of a farm leaves his animals to go udderly (that's all mine, baby) nuts when he leaves the place under their control.
Why you should not: You have to assume nobody saw this the first time, when it was called Home on the Range.
Why you should not: The only people who haven't tired of talking-animal animated movies haven't been born yet.

I Could Never Be Your Woman
(MGM)
Starring:Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Rudd (The Forty-Year-Old Virgin) and Tracey Ullmann (I Love You to Death)
Written and directed by:Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless)
What it's about:Pfeiffer plays a lady growing long in the tooth (but still looking like Michelle Pfeiffer) who falls for a younger man (Rudd). Romantic Comedy blooms all around, and Ullmann as Mother Nature gets all up in everybody's business.
Why you should see it:When Heckerling is on, she makes movies like Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Plus, Rudd is due for a role that pushes him into the big leagues, where he belongs.
Why you should not:When she's not on, Heckerling makes movies like A Night at the Roxbury, Look Who's Talking Tooand European Vacation.

Flicka
(Fox)
Starring:Alison Lohman (Big Fish), Tim McGraw (Friday Night Lights) and Maria Bello (The Sisters)
Directed by: Michael Mayer (A Home at the End of the World)
Written by: Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence Konner, based on the novel by Mary O'Hara
What it's about: A young girl tames wild horse in a heartbreaking attempt to win her father's love.
Why you should see it: Girls, horses, summer, love, magic.
Why you should not: If Mayer's treatment of Flicka is anything like his Home at the End of the World, we're in for a sapfest of personal triumph set to music.

John Tucker Must Die
(Fox)
Starring:Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives), Brittany Snow (The Pacifier) and Ashanti (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Directed by:Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie)
Written by:Jeff Lowell
What it's about:When a trio of hotties discover they're dating the same cad (Metcalfe), they plot to bring about his ruination (but not, despite the title, his demise).
Why you should see it: By July 28, the effects of global warming will have cooked our brains into pink paste. Perfect time for teen comedy.
Why you should not:As this is the 9,432rd movie to try and convince us that an obvious beauty is a plain Jane for the first 30 minutes, the idea could be losing a spot of freshness.

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