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Short subjectives 

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

Page 3 of 7

DOUBLE TAKE (PG-13) * 1/2 This action comedy wants to keep you guessing who the good guys and bad guys are, but you're more likely to wonder why you wasted your money on this crap. Orlando Jones, a fine comic, is supposed to play straight man to the even wackier Eddie Griffin, but the script is so inconsistent it's as if different scenes had different writers and directors who didn't confer with each other. Double Take won't leave you doubled over with laughter--or even singled over. -- SW

DOWN TO EARTH ** Though he's given strong supporting performances, Chris is not yet the Rock on which to build a movie. In this remake of Heaven Can Wait he plays a would-be comic who's called up to heaven prematurely and sent back in the body of a rich white man. There are a few good lines and moments, but it feels overall like a mediocre sketch comedy. A Chris Rock concert movie would have been far more entertaining. I thought the Warren Beatty version was overrated, so as much as I like Rock, I can't work up much enthusiasm for an inferior remake. -- SW

THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE (G) *** Besides being one of the year's funniest comedies, Disney's latest animated feature is a perfect mating of voice actors with characters: David Spade as the spoiled emperor who's turned into a llama; John Goodman as the kindly peasant who turns the other cheek to help him; Eartha Kitt as a classic Disney villain who lacks only a song; and Patrick Warburton as her dim thug. The drawing style is simpler than in most of Disney's classics, but the picture's packed with fun, action and comedy that appeals to all ages. -- SW

ENEMY AT THE GATES (R) ** 1/2 The 1942-43 Battle for Stalingrad boils down to a duel between two men, Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law) and Major Konig (Ed Harris), the top snipers for the Russians and Germans respectively, in Jean-Jacques Annaud's epic that looks great but isn't always as suspenseful or dramatically effective as it might be. The big battle sequence at the beginning invites comparison to Saving Private Ryan and suffers from that comparison. Mad magazine readers will appreciate a hint of "Spy vs. Spy" in this story of "Sniper vs. Sniper," while historians may consider it an example of reductio ad absurdam. -- SW

EXIT WOUNDS (R) ** 1/2 Steven Seagal, back down to fighting weight, regains action star viability as a maverick Detroit cop who becomes a one-man Internal Affairs Dept. DMX, whose charismatic presence could be exploited by a stronger director, plays a new jack druglord/dotcomillionaire. Car chases, fights and shootouts are mostly quick cuts suggesting fast motion and mucho destruction, but there have been far worse action sequences in far worse movies. Comic relief comes from Tom Arnold and Anthony Anderson, whose final routine suggests the birth of a new comedy team. They deserve an encore, while once is enough for the rest of the movie. -- SW

15 MINUTES ** Larger-than-life characters, largely unmotivated acts of atrocity and a total disregard for dramatic continuity propel this disorganized and densely packed police thriller/would-be media satire about a green arson investigator and a celebrity homicide cop (Robert De Niro) on the trail of a pair of brutal and unusually image-conscious Eastern European thugs. Like a bigger, stiffer Two Days in the Valley(also by writer/director John Herzfeld), but without the neat cat-fight between Teri Hatcher and Charlize Theron. Why bother? -- EDDY VON MUELLER

FINDING FORRESTER (PG-13) ** Gus Van Sant revisits Good Will Hunting territory in a tale of a brilliant but unrecognized student and athlete (newcomer Robert Brown) who bonds with a reclusive, Salingeresque novelist (Sean Connery). The pair has enjoyable moments together, but van Sant is clearly more interested in the basketball games and the Bronx setting than the film's contrived prep-school conflicts and its lip service to great literature. As yet another story of a reluctant young genius, it could be called Good Will Finding. -- CH

GET OVER IT (PG-13) ** Tommy O'Haver follows Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss with a teen comedy that presents a John Hughes-wannabe script in the style of a Beach Party movie. Ben Foster, an unlikely leading man, is no way a match for Kirsten Dunst, his best friend's younger sister who becomes his Ms. Right while helping him get over Melissa Sagemiller. Casting Sisqo and Zoe Saldana as African American friends of the white leads feels calculated, more a matter of demographics than democracy, especially when Sisqo's big number is tacked on at the end to stretch the film to minimal feature length. -- SW

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