The Week: Deuce Bigolow, All About My Mother and More... |


The Week: Deuce Bigolow, All About My Mother and More...

New Releases

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (Touchstone, 84 mins., R) As Deuce Bigalow, a lowly Los Angeles fish-tank cleaner who stumbles into the occupation of ”man-whore,” Rob Schneider certainly has what it takes to play a doofy, soft-bodied poseur hustler, but this dim farce makes the mistake of setting him up with a series of tricks even lowlier and more pathetic than he is. A face-stuffing fattie, a nervous narcoleptic, a giantess so tall her head won’t fit on screen—they’re all harmless, one-note freaks, and the movie, the first to emerge from Adam Sandler’s new production company (it was cowritten by Schneider), is too juvenile and tame to coax any tasteless fun out of the characters’ sexual peccadilloes. (Only Amy Poehler, as a woman with Tourette’s syndrome who spouts bombs-away obscenities, has a chance to show any personality.) Just when you’re sure that Deuce Bigalow can’t get any less funny, the movie douses the the trailer’s best gag, as that prosthetic leg turns out to be attached to Deuce’s true love. D – OG

Miss Julie (MGM, 100 mins., R) A dangerously capricious, horny, high-born young woman flirts with, manipulates, and torments the hired help, and he rises to the occasion in August Strindberg’s 1889 play, once banned in the playwright’s native Sweden. In this adaptation by Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas), the director lingers delightedly on the class warfare, the sexual warfare, and the emotional warfare. But despite all the robust physical activity, Figgis never frees the play enough from the stage to fill the screen. Saffron Burrows (Deep Blue Sea) plays Miss Julie as a bitch just a tick away from mental breakdown; Peter Mullan (My Name Is Joe), as the ambitious foot servant Jean, plays her pawn and punisher as a bastard just a gesture away from murder. Both work very, very hard—and their exertion shows, magnified rather than complemented by the restless camera work of Benoit Delhomme (The Winslow Boy). C+ – LS

In Theaters

All About My Mother (101 mins., R) Few melodramas with such tragic underpinnings inspire such intense happiness as Pedro Almodovar’s masterwork, a synthesis of the director’s fabulous fetishes — proud women, lovely boys, beautiful drag queens — imbued with new tenderness. A (#514, Nov. 26) – LS

Anywhere But Here (113 mins., PG-13) A vanilla adaptation of Mona Simpson’s novel about an irrepressible single mother (Susan Sarandon) who could stand a little tamping down and her teenage daughter (Natalie Portman), who could stand a little lightening up. C+ (#513, Nov. 19) – LS

Being John Malkovich (112 mins., R) Excitingly original. John Cusack plays a puppeteer who discovers a portal into the mind of John Malkovich. Director Spike Jonze works in a bustling yet deadpan pretzel-logic style. A (#511, Nov. 5) – OG

The Bone Collector (118 mins., R) A skeleton-thin thriller. Denzel Washington breathes actorly passion into an exhausted genre as a paralyzed detective who directs the search for a serial killer from his bed. B- (#512, Nov. 12)