Film Openings

Week of August 14, 2002

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The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Ron Underwood. The year is 2087, and successful player Pluto Nash owns the hottest club on the moon. In this Eddie Murphy-driven comedy, which seems tailor-made for sequel after dreaded sequel, good versus evil manifests itself as a struggle between Nash and the no-good villian, Rex Crater. Which will win, pray tell? Opens August 16 at multiple locations. NR

Blue Crush. John Stockwell. The poster for Blue Crush may look great, but unfortunately it's way better than the actual movie, which plays like Lilo & Stitch minus humor and charm. Once more the setting is Hawaii, and once more we have a girl in her late teens (Kate Bosworth) forced to take a care of a little sister (Mika Boorem) while the parents are away. In place of a tangible alien bugaboo, however, substitute a more nebulous phobia -- Kate wants to be the most successful female surfer ever but can't surf the big waves because last time she tried, her head split open on a rock, as flashbacks relentlessly remind us. She's entered a big surfing contest in spite of this fear, but she washes out every time she tries to prepare and gets distracted even further when a hunky football player comes to town. If supporting actors Michelle Rodriguez and Sanoe Lake were placed front and center, the movie would at least have more personality, but Bosworth feels insubstantial and looks generic. The surfing's fun, but often poorly edited. Opens August 16 at multiple locations. (LYT)

The Good Girl. Miguel Arteta. Opens August 16 at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.

The Kid Stays in the Picture. Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein. Opens August 16 at the Plaza Frotenac. Reviewed this issue.

Read My Lips. Jacques Audiard. A French thriller starring Emmanuelle Devos as Carla, a shy woman in her mid-twenties, and Vincent Cassel as Paul, the handsome bad boy who becomes her passion. The two are on opposite ends of the moral spectrum when they meet, but she's attracted to his dark side, and he's attracted to her lip-reading fluency, and as they grow closer, the situation becomes more difficult. Opens August 16 at the Screening Room at the Ritz-Carlton. NR

Who Is Cletis Tout?. Chris Ver Wiel. As hit man Critical Jim (Tim Allen) holds identity thief Finch (Christian Slater) hostage, he makes his victim pitch his backstory as if it's a Hollywood movie. In a flashback sequence overburdened with insufferable music, we learn that a mime named Micah Tobias (Tim Progosh) robbed a bank in 1977, and buried the diamonds he scored. Flash forward to the present, and Micah is behind bars, having improbably aged into Richard Dreyfuss and befriended Finch. The two escape from jail using the most ridiculous scheme ever and reunite with Tobias' daughter (Portia de Rossi) to regain the diamonds. Finch uses his talents to create false identities culled from bodies found at the morgue, one of whom is the titular Cletis Tout. Too bad this Cletis is a sleazy tabloid journalist in possession of a videotape of damning mobster footage, with a major price on his head. It might almost make a movie if not for the fact that none of the performances save Slater's feels real, but rather like an improv-class exercise in which every action follows from an improbable coincidence. Opens August 16 at the Chase Park Plaza. (LYT)

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