FIELD OF DREAMS - Prodded by a mysterious voice, an Iowa farmer takes on a series of eccentric tasks: befriending a once-famous author who's lost his love for humanity; visiting a rural town where a kindly physician once lived; and building a baseball field that's soon populated with ghostly athletes from the past. Directed by Phil Alden Robinson, who treats the fantastic story with admirable conviction but allows the action to become so sugary that it's hard to swallow after a while. (Rated PG) HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING - The title of this satire is meant literally: When an advertising man starts to despise the hypocrisy of his profession, he finds a second head growing on his neck, and this new arrival couldn't be more enthusiastic about inventing ridiculous slogans to sell useless products. Both heads are unusually foul-mouthed, and the plot of the film leads to some deliberately disgusting moments. But the movie has serious concerns about consumerism and propaganda, which set it apart from the common run of comedies. (Rated R)

MISS FIRECRACKER - Talented people like Holly Hunter and Mary Steenburgen push their performances too hard in Beth Henley's comedy-drama about a young woman who thinks she can overcome her bad reputation by winning a beauty-and-talent contest in her Mississippi town. The story has potential, but the movie seems overcooked much of the time. Thomas Schlamme directed. (Rated PG)

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