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Reviews for the week of March 20, 2000.

Monday:
Next Best Thing

Next Best Thing
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When I recently talked to an over-the-hill fellow movie critic, he pointed out that The Next Best Thing is not receiving favorable reviews. "That's just old people who don't like Madonna", I explained to him.

My mom refused to see Next Best Thing, because, she said, "It looks okay but I don't like Madonna". (She actually walked out of "Evita".) My dad, who kept bugging me to leave Evita early (he actually claimed it was boring), didn't want to see The Next Best Thing either. Surprisingly, he did like this movie.

It's hard not to like The Next Best Thing, with hilarious comic bits and terrific actors (yes, I mean Madonna). Abby (Madonna) and Robert (Rupert Everett) are best friends. Abby gets dumped by her boyfriend and complains to Robert, who happens to be gay. In a hilarious scene, he helps Abby by humiliating her ex. (Robert makes a public spectacle of pretending to be the ex's gay boyfriend.)

Then, in another riotous scene, Robert and Abby get extremely sloshed - together. So sloshed and so together that Robert forgets he is gay and - sleeps with Abby. When she gets pregnant, Abby naturally assumes that Robert is the baby's father.

They move in together, and everything works well until their son Sam is about five years old. Then, at Robert's urging, Abby starts dating, and soon falls in love with a great guy. The only problem is that he wants her and Sam to move to New York with him.

Outraged at the idea of losing Sam, Robert takes Abby to court and a custody battle ensues.

Despite what other critics may say, I enjoyed The Next Best Thing and highly recommend it.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Friday:
The Ninth Gate

The Ninth Gate
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Johnny Depp seems to be focusing on the supernatural is his latest movies. First, he played an astronaut who becomes an alien in The Astronaut's Wife. Then, he was a ghost investigator in Sleepy Hollow. Now, he's starring as a rare book dealer who runs into the devil in The Ninth Gate.

Of course, first he runs into the devil worshippers who summoned Satan in the first place. One wealthy and devoted cult member hires Depp to find out if his copy of The Ninth Gate, an instruction manual for devil worship, is authentic. (The book was originally published several centuries ago, and naturally is a rare, ancient, and expensive piece.)

Soon, attempts are made on Depp's life; several other people are more successfully done in. Depp decides the whole thing was a bad business deal and wants to quit, but his client insists he continue the research.

Although The Ninth Gate is slightly more interesting than End of Days or Stigmata, and Depp certainly is nice to look at (although the geeky glasses and clothes don't exactly lend appeal), The Ninth Gate is not a very appealing film with a supernatural theme.

My Rating = Two Stars

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