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Capsule reviews of films by CL critics

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SHREK 1/2 (PG) DreamWorks' fractured fairy tale which both soars and suffers from its own subversive humor, as a crude, wisecracking ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) makes a reluctant knight errant in a quest to rescue an enchanted princess (Cameron Diaz). Shrek's computer-animated charms get hexed by too much outhouse comedy, too many pop references and far too much of Eddie Murphy as a talking donkey. Showing the Coca-Cola Film Festival at the Fox Theatre Aug. 12 at 3 p.m. --CH

Continuing
A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (PG-13) Steven Spielberg brings to light a long-developed Stanley Kubrick project about an android boy (Haley Joel Osment) who aspires to be human. Spielberg gives the first act a poetic precision evocative of the late filmmaker's cerebral style, but subsequent sections uncomfortably blend elements of Pinocchio and Blade Runner, losing some of its pristine storytelling control. -- CH

ALL ABOUT ADAM (R) Adam (Stuart Townsend) meets a waitress (Kate Hudson) and then proceeds to seduce her, her two sisters and even her brother. Also starring A.I.'s Frances O'Connor. Directed by Gerard Stembridge, written for the screen by Gerard Stembridge.

AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS 1/2 (PG-13) Instead of leading lady, Julia Roberts is merely one cog in an ensemble that does its best to provide direction to a rambling scenario. John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones portray a movie star couple whose careers have faltered ever since their separation. With one more joint project yet to be released, the studio head (Stanley Tucci) figures that the best publicity would be to get them back together, so he hires a crafty press agent (Billy Crystal) to orchestrate their reconciliation at the press junket. Engaging but not especially involving, America's Sweethearts handily wins this summer's Middlebrow Champion trophy. -- MB

THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY 1/2 (R) Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming wrote, directed and star in this zeitgeisty psychodrama of a hip Hollywood couple and their high-powered friends. Their evening of celebration turns into an ecstasy-fueled meltdown where clothes come off, truths get told and everyone undoubtedly wakes up with an ugly "what did I say?" hangover. Though there is plenty of emoting on display, the film often feels like a keyhole glimpse into the reality of life in a Hollywood fishbowl, as well as the more universal anxieties about faithfulness, aging, children and career. -- FELICIA FEASTER

CRAZY/BEAUTIFUL (PG-13) Blending typical teen fare of Romeo-and-Juliet-style star-crossed lovers with real insight into crumbling family values and an ennui-adrift middle-class, this teen love story of an ambitious Mexican-American kid (Jay Hernandez) and a self-destructive rich girl (Kirsten Dunst) is more thematically complicated and respectful of its players than the usual bubble- headed teen chow.-- FF

DR. DOLITTLE 2 (PG) Eddie Murphy's 1998 smash, Dr. Dolittle, was a tiresome, tepid affair in which the good doctor spent most of the running time dealing with animals with a fondness for toilet humor. This mediocrity of a sequel is less strident, with Dr. Dolittle helping various critters save their forest from unscrupulous land developers (played by Jeffrey Jones and Kevin Pollak). Locating laughs in this film is like finding anything of value while panning at a mountain tourist attraction: There are some modest rewards here and there, but they hardly seem worth the effort. -- MB

EVERYBODY'S FAMOUS! 1/2 (R) Much of this film, set within an economically depressed Flemish community is light, escapist drivel about a sullen teenager whose starry-eyed father thinks she can become Belgium's next pop music sensation. But there is a real sense of desperation and pathos behind this working-class father's effort to help his daughter escape his own dreary fate in director Dominique Deruddere's hash of social commentary and light comedy.-- FF

EVOLUTION 1/2 (PG-13) Alien life forms crash-land in Arizona and begin to take over, and while several of the otherworldly critters are fun to watch, the human players (including David Duchovny and Julianne Moore) are burdened with nondescript roles. This comedy's greatest problem is the that the screenplay simply isn't funny. Everyone tries hard but the end result is like a bad TV sitcom with a lot of bathroom humor added to lure teens. -- MB

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 1/2 (PG-13). This loud, overblown B-movie about illegal street racing goes nowhere but gets there fast. Director Rob Cohen offers a handful of nail-biting set pieces, particularly the opening race and a climactic truck chase a la The Road Warrior. But though Vin Diesel makes a magnetic lead, Furious is bumper-to-bumper with bad dialogue, poor logic and clichéd characters. -- CH

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