ROMANTIC COMEDY BEWITCHED (PG) 101 min 00
This is a high concept reworking of the erstwhile TV show that lacks magic. Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell), an actor whose career is on the wane. takes the role of square husband Darrin in a remake of the classic sitcom — in the hope that it will revive his career. To protect his star status he inSists that an unknown be cast as Samantha. Enter Isobel (Nicole Kidman). who. by a guirk of fate. is a witch deSperate to live life as a mere modal.
The concept may be enchanting. but the execution is not. The characters are such a ridiculous pastiche on the Original show that they're bland and one-dimensional. Whereas Elizabeth Montgomery played Samantha as a Wily Witch. Kidman chooses to make her a naive simpleton with little guile. Ferrell fares little better and while it's clear that he's having fun playing a bad actor. there are times when it's difficult to tell what is real and what is acting. Director Nora Ephron has made her name with romantic comedies such as Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, but here she falls to find any chemistry between the two leads to give this love potion any spice. (Kaleem Aftab)
I General release from Fri 79 Aug.
ACTION-ADVENTURE THE DUKES OF HAZZARD (12A) 106min 00
Asked to describe the plot of Jay Club Dread Chandrasekhar's big screen take on the popular 1980s TV show that dealt With the eprOits of two fast- driving Georgia COllSlflS. star Johnny Knoxwlle said it all: 'What plot? The plot's just an excuse to blow up shit and see JeSSica's legs.‘ Such honesty in Hollywood is a rarity. but it
18 THE LIST 18 '25) Aug 2002')
FAMILY corvltbv BAD NEWS BEARS (12A) 113min «o
Few directors seem to play the Hollywood game with the astuteness of
Richard Linklater. Moving effortlessly from personal projects like Waking Life and the Before Sunrise/Sunset double header to mainstream hits like School of Rock, he’s guaranteed to strike out for the fence when he steps up to the
plate, even when working with a remake of an over-familiar property such as
the 1976 Michael Ritchie/Walter Matthau comedy The Bad News Bears. Linklater comes up with a fresh, light take on the material that makes the genre cliches easy to bear. Billy Bob Thornton steps into Matthau’s shoes as the offbeat individual who moulds a group of misfit kids into a coherent unit, although this time it’s Little League baseball rather than music which provides the setting. Spiking his non-alcoholic beer with whisky, Thornton’s Southern sports-bar charm is perfectly suited to deadbeat Morris Buttermaker, a part time pest exterminator whose passion for baseball is well hidden behind a gruff exterior and a permanent haze of booze. Greg Kinnear plays the tight-ass dugout opposition, and Marcia Gay Harden provides the romantic interest as an over-protective parent.
It’s all pat and obvious stuff, with a few unexpected adult diversions as Buttermaker organises shirt sponsorship from a local lap-dancing club, encouraging the strippers to turn up en masse at every game to cheer the foul-mouthed tykes on. But despite the kiddie certificate, Linklater doesn’t water down the non-PC scatological language that made the original a breakout hit, and there’s enough cuss-words per minute to make any parent choke on their popcorn. And as with School of Rock, Linklater elicits memorable performances from the kids, particularly from the doe-eyed Sammi Kane Kraft as Buttermaker’s estranged daughter. Ultimately however Bad News Bears finds Linklater marking time professionally enough, and while hardly essential viewing, it’s unpretentious, amoral fun. (Eddie Harrison)
I Out now on general release.
characterises this hollow-but-happy film that has no pretensions above its lowbrow station. When the cameras not leering like a pervert over US reality TV star-cum-pop princess Jessica Simpson. who admirably squeezes into the micro-shorts of Daisy Duke. it's revelling in explosions and high-speed car chases. as Bo (Seann William Scott) and Luke (KnoxVille) Duke run amuck. To be fair, there is a semblance of a plot. as local bigWig Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) and his sidekick sheriff Roscoe P Coltrane (MC Gaineyl attempt to turn Ha/xard COunty into a giant coal mining facility. Capturing the spirit of the original show ~ With the exception of Gainey. who comes nowhere near original actor James Best — the film recalls the anarchic tone of Chandrasekhar‘s earlier law enforcement comedy. Super Troopers. If you're Willing to leave your brain in neutral (or even reverse). then The Dukes of Ha/xard should jtlSl about raise a half hearted ‘yeee haaawwf' (James Mottram). I General release from Wed 24 Aug.
ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW (15) 91 min coo.
In a generally lacklustre year for American cinema. one of the freshest and most distinctive films turns out to be this (lire(:torial debut from multimedia artist Miranda Jilly. An enioyably whimsical tribute to love's transformative powers. Me and You . . . interweaves a number of stories in suburban LA. invoIVing characters from across the generations. all struggling to
connect emotionally. Amongst the lonely souls are a kooky \.’l(l0() artist la terrific July‘i. an emot onally confused shoe salesman iJohn Hawkesl. a six- year-old boy (Brandoi‘ Ratcliff‘. engaged in a bizarre cyher romance. a pair of female teenage classmates and a young girl compulsiver hoarding household OblCClS for her future family. Fittineg for a him With such an all» inclusive title. July finds something wondrous in peeples' interactions in everyday life. Bathing her world in bright colours. she creates a heightened reality. Which is marked by a series of rituals and epiphanies and the ability of indiVIduals to articulate With disarming directness their feelings and desires. Me and You . . . challenges the taboos surrounding the depiction of under-age sexuality. not in a spirit of nihilistic provocation. but With humour and an honest recognition of kids' libidinal impulses. And it's clear that the director truly cares about her creations. regardless of their foibles and eccentricities. iTom Data/sent I GFT Glasgow and Cameo. Edinburgh from Fri 75) Aug. See prevrew. page I 7.
MARTIAL ARTS UNLEASHED (18) 102min on
This is a real mongrel mowe: a martial arts actioner starring Jet Li. Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins. written and produced by Luc Besson and With a soundtrack scored by Massive Attack and the R7A. But the most odd aspect of Unleashed loriginally titled Danny the Dog) is that it was shot in Glasgow. Without actually being set in the city. There's one passing reference made to the location, but none of the city's recognisable landmarks are used and the whole of the supporting cast is composed of Londoners. Maybe Besson wanted to hit St Andrews for golf?
Anyway. the film's plot is as flimsy as that would-be reason for filming in Scotland: Li is the top enforcer of Hoskins' small-time hood. who goes about town collecting racket money and unleashing (literally) his well-trained kung fu killer when he doesn't get what he wants. But iust as his lllélSlOl' discovers a lucrative market in the underground mortal combat scene. his doggy gets off his leash and is taken in by Freeman's peace-toying blind piano tuner. You can probably guess the rest.
Not really a good film. but there's definite curiosity value in this odd concoction. (Miles Fielder)
I General r‘e/rxise fro/n Fri 75) Aug.