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Movie Guide

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Sterritt *** Kennedy plays a white teen who tries so hard to be black that his politically ambitious father (O'Neal) hires two African-American actors to pose as inner-city hoods and scare him back into white-bread behavior. The comedy is often crass, but it makes points about how much of "race" is more about words and gestures we use than the colors of our skins.

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Staff *** Inspired silliness, lighthearted, fun.

Sex/Nudity: 9 innuendos. Violence: 16 scenes, including shootouts, explosions. Profanity: 105 profanities. Drugs: 6 scenes of drinking.

The Man Without a Past (PG-13)

Director: Aki Kaurismäki. With Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Annikki Tähti, Sakari Kousmanen. (97 min.)

Sterritt **** An ordinary man gets beaten and robbed by thugs, develops a walloping case of amnesia, and spends the rest of the film rebuilding his life through the kindness of strangers and with the love of a good woman. Kaurismaki is Finland's greatest filmmaker, and never has he more artfully balanced his patented blend of deadpan humor, low-key melodrama, and toe-tapping music. In Finnish with English subtitles.

Staff *** 1/2 Tender, moving, riveting.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 scenes, including 2 gory beatings. Profanity: None. Drugs: 27 scenes of smoking; 3 with drinking.

Phone Booth (R)

Director: Joel Schumacher. With Colin Farrell, Katie Holmes, Kiefer Sutherland. (81 min.)

Sterritt *** A self-centered yuppie (Farrell) answers a pay phone in New York, and discovers he's talking with a psychopath (Sutherland) who threatens to shoot him if he dares to hang up. Farrell solidly holds the screen while allowing enough emotional space for other characters, and Schumacher has directed the high-voltage story without a wasted move.

Staff *** Riveting, fast-paced.

Sex/Nudity: Mild innuendo. Violence: 6 scenes; guns drawn throughout. Profanity: 97 profanities. Drugs: 4 smoking scenes.

People I Know (R)

Director: Don Algrant. With Al Pacino, Kim Basinger, Ryan O'Neal, Téa Leoni. (95 min.)

Sterritt *** Imagine mixing "The Sweet Smell of Success" with "Eyes Wide Shut" and a dash of "ivans xtc," and you'll have an idea of this daringly offbeat fable about an aging publicity flack, a client aiming at political stardom, and a conspiracy that's as mystifying as it is menacing. Pacino gives his best performance in years, backed by a superb supporting cast and a screenplay that keeps you guessing and engrossed.

Raising Victor Vargas (R)

Director: Peter Sollett. With Victor Rasuk, Judy Marte, Melonie Diaz. (87 min.)

Sterritt *** This is a likable comedy-drama about a Latino teenager in New York who romances a pretty girl who's both standoffish and insecure, like him, and faces domestic difficulties with a grandma who doesn't understand the modern world. Sympathetic and unsentimental, this is a nice example of low-budget filmmaking on a human scale.

Staff *** Realistic, tender, well-acted, witty.

Sex/Nudity: 3 scenes of innuendo. 1 with implied sex. Violence: None. Profanity: 61 profanities. Drugs: 3 scenes of smoking, drinking.

The Real Cancún (R)

Director: Rick de Oliveira. With 16 American college students. (96 min.)

Staff ** Reality TV comes to the big screen. Concept: Recruit a few van loads of college men and women to spend their spring break in Cancún, roll film, and see what happens. Throughout the movie relationships form, break up, or fail to happen. But much is filler (wet T-shirt contests, nighty parties), and a lot seems contrived. By M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 27 scenes, including nudity, sex, and innuendo. Violence: 1 mild scene. Profanity: 156 profanities. Drugs: Smoking, drinking throughout.

What a Girl Wants (PG)

Director: Dennie Gordon. With Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, Eileen Atkins. (103 min.)

Sterritt * Longing to meet her father, an English aristocrat who sired her in a romantic fling, a New York teen (Bynes) flies to London and barges into his life. Bynes buffs may never have a better chance to bask in her perky presence. Others may draw some entertainment value from the high-profile supporting cast, but that's all this warmed-over comic trifle has to offer.

Staff **1/2 Light, fun, goofy, standard fare.

Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes with innuendo. Violence: 3 scenes. Profanity: 8 profanities. Drugs: 5 drinking scenes.

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