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Sex/Nudity: 5 instances of innuendo. Violence: None. Profanity: 19 expressions, mostly mild. Drugs: 5 scenes of drinking.Skip to next paragraph
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Directors: Vicky Jenson, Rob Letterman, Eric Bergeron. With voices of Will Smith, Renée Zellweger, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie. (90 min.)
Sterritt ** Animated feature about a little fish who poses as a macho underwater dude after a shark's accidental death makes him look like a hero, pleasing the late shark's vegetarian brother but irking his Mafia boss- like dad. The screenplay isn't remotely as funny as it tries to be, and the visual style is equally unexciting.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 8 Profanity: 7 mild expressions. Drugs: 1 scene of drinking, 1 of smoking.
Director: Mike Mitchell. With Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara. (91 min.)
Sterritt ** Deciding not to spend Christmas alone, a spoiled yuppie pays a fortune to a family for pretending to be his own loving relatives during the yuletide season. There are a few amusing moments, but this is no "Bad Santa" despite its obvious ambition to play similar holiday tricks.
Director: Tim Story. With Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Esposito. (79 min.)
Sterritt ** She's a cab driver, he's a cop, and their adversaries are bank robbers. Frivolous but fun, somewhere between a comic "French Connection" and the craziest Nascar race you never saw.
Staff **1/2 Idiotic plot, laughs aplenty, Latifah shines.
Sex/Nudity: 1 innuendo. Violence: 3 scenes. Profanity: 60 expressions. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol.
Director: Trey Parker. With voices of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Miller, Elle Russ. (98 min.)
Sterritt ** A team of bumbling military heroes do battle with North Korea's dictator, who's enlisted a gaggle of Hollywood peaceniks as his dupes. With all the characters played by marionettes, this is an equal-opportunity satire, making fun of everyone from Michael Moore to flag-waving militarists. The only stand it appears to take is that all grownups are equally stupid.
Staff **1/2 Technical wonder, irreverent, brilliant satire.
Sex/Nudity: 11 instances. Violence: 21 instances. Profanity: 177 expressions, mostly strong. Drugs: at least 13 instances of smoking and drinking.
Director: Xan Cassavetes. With Robert Altman, James Woods, F.X. Feeney, Kevin Thomas. (122 min.)
Sterritt **** Riveting documentary about the early California cable outlet and its ingenious programmer, Jerry Harvey, whose unsettled life and tragic death provide a dramatic framework for the account.
Director: Victor Fleming. With Clark Gable, Thomas Mitchell, Vivien Leigh. (238 min.)
Staff **** The touched-up colors sparkle, the images are clear, and the storytelling is poignant. Everything about this very human story played out on history's stage stands the test of time. The performances are passionate and the special effects - including the burning of Atlanta - still take your breath away. The extras are fascinating, and include everything from auditions by the many Scarlett hopefuls to a profile of the film industry in the late 30s. A positively must-have early stocking stuffer.
By Gloria Goodale