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Freeze Frames

(Page 4 of 5)



** A college grad moves to the big city and meets an artist who helps him find an apartment with low rent but 50,000 talking cockroaches for roommates. With many comic moments and insect show tunes, the first feature film produced by MTV is surprisingly entertaining despite an unoriginal love story, much vulgar language, and a lot of roach-infested garbage. Written and directed by John Payson. P V By Allison Baldasare

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KAZAAM (PG)

*** Caught up in major family problems, a 12-year-old boy meets a 3,000-year-old genie who dispenses good advice - and a wish or two - that helps both of them weather the storm. The plot is hamstrung by trite formulas, and there's too much violence and family tension for very young viewers. Shaquille O'Neal is likable as the title character, though, and the screenplay has somewhat less vulgarity and innuendo than many Hollywood comedies. Directed by Paul M. Glaser. V P

KINGPIN (PG-13)

** A washed-up hustler tempts a gifted bowler to leave his Amish community, which needs money to save its farmland from foreclosure, and get rich by literally gambling on his talent. Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, and Bill Murray give riotous performances, but be warned that the comedy is overloaded with gross-out humor from beginning to end. Directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly, of "Dumb and Dumber" fame. V S P

** Juvenile, screwball, stereotypical characters.

MANNY & LO (R)

* A pregnant teenager and her little sister flee from society, kidnap a nurse to help them when the baby's born, and develop a strangely close relationship with their hostage. The acting is convincing, especially by Mary Kay Place as the nurse, but the rather flimsy drama never picks up much emotional power. Written and directed by Lisa Krueger. S V P

MATILDA (PG)

*** She's astonishingly smart, and on top of this she develops psychic powers, using them to defeat bad grown-ups including an evil principal who literally tortures the children in her school. Danny DeVito's film has energetic acting by himself and Rhea Perlman as Matilda's parents, Mara Wilson as Matilda, Embeth Davidtz as a loving teacher, and Paul Reubens as a bumbling cop. But parents should be strongly warned that the picture is packed with weird and violent details that could be extremely upsetting for youngsters. Based on Roald Dahl's book. V P

** Positive images of kids, cliched, occasionally scary.

MULTIPLICITY (PG-13)

** Caught in a job that allows him too little time with his family, a busy man allows a scientist to clone him - which seems like a great idea until more clones start arriving, each of lower quality than the last. Michael Keaton gives a game performance, but the comedy isn't very inventive and the second half is taken over by a string of smarmy bedroom jokes. Andie MacDowell co-stars. Directed by Harold Ramis. S V P

*** Zany, light; versatile acting by Michael Keaton.

THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (PG-13)

** An overweight science teacher slims down with a laboratory potion that turns him into a loud and obnoxious woman-chaser, but he realizes in the end that cultivating your own good qualities is the only honest way to win affection from others. Eddie Murphy has impressive energy, but he needs mountains of makeup and special effects to accomplish what Jerry Lewis did with sheer talent in the original 1963 version of the comedy. Parents should be strongly warned that the movie contains an extremely large amount of bathroom humor and other gratuitous vulgarities. P V

*** Sophomoric, amusing, predictable.

PHENOMENON (PG)