Film Openings

Week of April 28, 2004

Bon Voyage Jean-Paul Rappeneau. (PG-13) The upper-crusties of WWII-era Paris flee to the relative safety of Bordeaux in this light, lavishly lensed French melodrama from veteran director and co-writer Jean-Paul Rappeneau (The Horseman on the Roof, Cyrano de Bergerac). Gérard Depardieu plays a kindly government minister intrigued by a shallow screen starlet (Isabelle Adjani) who has inadvertently framed a struggling young writer (Grégori Derangère) over a tidy little homicide -- or was it? Add Virginie Ledoyen as a dedicated physics student guarding a volatile discovery and Peter Coyote playing the polyglot as a tricky turncoat, mix in along the periphery some Nazi invaders (called "Germans" throughout), and stir. The result is beautiful to behold, featuring some fine, understated performances. It's also only moderately compelling -- more of a subdued portrait of the milieu than a passionate treatise. Exquisite period design (from Jacques Rouxel) and tasteful-yet-tasty hints of lust and romance go a long way, but the stately pacing and meandering plot often reduce this potential classic to generous eye candy. Opens Friday, April 30, at the Plaza Frontenac. (Gregory Weinkauf)

Envy Barry Levinson. (PG-13) Funnymen Ben Stiller and Jack Black star in this comedy about best friends who become enemies after a get-rich-quick scheme leaves one (Black) wealthy and the other (Stiller) insanely jealous. The invention at the center of the scheme? A device that vaporizes dog poop and, presumably, other kinds of poop. Yes, poop. Filming for this one wrapped in the fall of 2002. Draw your own conclusions, and don't step in anything. Opens Friday, April 30, at multiple locations. NR

Godsend Nick Hamm. (PG-13) Like The Sixth Sense and The Ring, this is another entry in the "kids-say-the-creepiest-things" subgenre of horror films. After their young son is killed in an accident on his eighth birthday, grieving parents Jessie and Paul (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Greg Kinnear) meet a stem-cell researcher (Robert DeNiro) who convinces them to try a risky and illegal experiment that will produce a clone of their son. Everything is wonderful until the new son's eighth birthday, when he starts having night terrors and acting as if he's possessed by something sinister. Opens Friday, April 30, at multiple locations. NR

Laws of Attraction Peter Howitt. (PG-13) Opens Friday, April 30, at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.

Mean Girls Mark S. Waters. (PG-13) Opens Friday, April 30, at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.

Wilbur Lone Scherfig. (R) The Danish director Lone Scherfig, who had an art-house hit four years ago with Italian for Beginners, goes one better in this examination of brotherly love and its consequences. Here, suicide is made merry and personal tragedy is transformed by malicious humor. Like Bud Cort in Harold & Maude, Wilbur (handsome Jamie Sives) is intent on suicide, and when the baffled shrinks give up on him, his only lifeline to the future is his saintly but delusional brother, Harbour (Adrian Rawlins), who heads off each attempt with patience and a kind word. The fraternal dynamics change, though, when the brothers come to love the same single mother (Shirley Henderson) and when cruel fate imposes a role reversal on them. Not everyone will go for Scherfig's disorienting collisions of farce and darkness, but this nicely acted, boldly directed film is certainly for grown-ups. Opens Friday, April 30, at the Tivoli. (Bill Gallo)