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Director: Jared Hess. With Jon Heder, Tina Majorino, Efren Ramirez, Sandy Martin. (86 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt *** Who would have guessed that a wildly refreshing take on the teenage-nerd genre would come from small-town Idaho, where the title character tangles with his weirded-out family and pushes for an equally uncharismatic friend to become president of their high-school student body?
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (PG)
Director: Garry Marshall. With Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, John Rhys-Davies, Hector Elizondo. (120 min.)
Staff ** Princess Mia, the princess of Genovia, discovers that she must marry before she can inherit the throne. This lazily plotted "Bachelorette" ends with the least dramatic wedding ceremony ever. By Stephen Humphries.
Staff ** Fun, naive, unchallenging.
Sex/Nudity: 1 innuendo. Violence: 3 mild scenes. Profanity: none. Drugs: 2 scenes.
Director: Alexander B. Witt. With Jared Harris, Milla Jovovich, Thomas Kretschmann. (94 min.)
Staff ** After surviving a trip into a zombie-infested "hive," in a previous film, Alice wakes up in a hospital to find authorities have sealed off her city because a virus that turns creatures and humans into zombies has escaped a corporate lab. Banding together with several survivors, Alice searches for a way to escape the super zombies. The action is entertaining, but be prepared to be startled repeatedly - if not terrified. This film's true monster, however, is the ruthless Umbrella Corporation. By Tim Rauschenberger
Director: Kerry Conran. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi. (107 min.)
Sterritt * A newspaperwoman and a pilot race across continents to find an evil scientist and stop a robot invasion in 1939. A combination of stilted acting and computer-generated effects, this piece of soulless merchandise is no less mechanical than its own automatons, and no more intelligent.
Staff *** Uneven pace, cold story, stunning effects.
Sex/Nudity: 3 innuendos. Violence: 13 scenes. Profanity: 6 mild expressions. Drugs: None.
Director: Richard Loncraine. With Paul Bettany, Kirsten Dunst, Celia Imrie, Bernard Hill. (100 min.)
Staff ** A British tennis player in the twilight of his mediocre career (Bettany) meets Lizzie (Dunst), one of the best players on the women's circuit. (Dunst may be plucky but can you imagine her taking on Serena?) She becomes his muse on the court, inspiring him to play the best tennis of his career even as the romance distracts her from her game. Bettany is in winning form but Dunst isn't a convincing match - either on or off the court. By Stephen Humphries
Director: George Lucas. With Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones. (387 min.)
Staff **** The original three episodes of the now six-episode long "Star Wars" are finally out on DVD. This package, complete with four extra hours of featurettes, trailers, and a teaser for the last episode due next May, is the ultimate boomer home-theater event. To keep it fun, Lucas has added scenes he didn't have the technology to create the first time around (including shots of whole civilizations in remote parts of that galaxy far, far away). The color has been scrubbed, the sound has been tweaked, and a documentary about the impact of "Star Wars" is a good reminder of what Lucas achieved. By Gloria Goodale