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Reviews for the week of June 21, 1999.

Monday:
The Love Letter

The Love Letter
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The Love Letter is a mediocre romantic comedy about small-town people who get very confused.

Helen (Kate Capshaw) falls for Johnny, a kid half her age (Tom Everett Scott) because she mistakenly believes he sent her a love letter which she found in her bookstore. He sees the letter and thinks she wrote it for him! Their pairing really bothered me. It was horrible to watch young, handsome, Scott in love scenes with a woman who looks old enough to be his mother - I kept thinking, "Get him involved with someone his own age, you fools!" Johnny is chased by a girl his own age, and, Helen is also pursued by a man her age, yet they end up together for most of the movie. What's the deal?

The subplots are certainly not extraordinary. Ellen Degeneres plays Helen's rather slutty friend, who also thinks the letter is for her, while Helen's mother has a secret lover too (hint - it's someone you'd expect Ellen to like). And, in one of the movie's more entertaining scenes, a policeman gives the letter to his girlfriend, letting her think he composed it!

This film would have been more enjoyable if Everett had been hooked up with someone else. I sure hate to see such a sexy hunk with some old hag. More humorous scenes would have helped, too.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Tarzan

Tarzan
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Well, it's not The Lion King. At least not judging by the music. Tarzan is basically your typical Disney movie complete with nauseatingly cute singing animals, predictable base characters, and the good-guy-always-wins theme.

However, there was only one character in this movie that I sympathized with: a poor jaguar that gets killed off early in the film by the mighty ape-man Tarzan. The jaguar was just trying to have lunch and he got slaughtered. I felt sorry for him. Don't the apes know he's an endangered species?

Apparently, nobody in this film knows much of anything. Tarzan, having been raised by apes, thinks he is an ape, albeit a rather unique one. He doesn't always fit in, and is shunned by his "father" figure, the big ape that heads the tribe.

I'm about to tell the end here to explain my criticism, so don't say I didn't warn you.

I've noticed this recurring theme in Disney movies: the main character is a lonely outcast who doesn't fit in. He/she is shunned by family/village/tribe members, then proves them all wrong by doing something heroic and saving the day. He/she is now loved by all - including some special member of the opposite sex who wants to get married and live happily ever after. There's always an evil villain type who ends up getting his/her just desserts.

I know Tarzan is a child's movie, but really, couldn't the Disney producers have some originality? Every movie is just one more variation on the same theme, and quite frankly, it's getting old.

At least Mulan snagged always-capricious Eddie Murphy as one of the voices - Tarzan doesn't have any recognizable comedy. (That is to say it didn't make me laugh - I suppose some people might find it funny.)

I noticed a couple other things. I found Tarzan a bit violent for a G rated movie - there was an awful lot of screaming, crashing, and banging. No wonder I heard so many little kids in the audience crying.

And if you ask me, Tarzan sends the wrong message to kids. The three-year olds who see this movie are likely to be using illegal steroids in ten years, because they have always held to the ideal of being big, strong, and muscular like Tarzan. (Of course, I'm no child psychologist- that's just the impression I got from this movie.)

Still, this probably is a decent movie to take your kids to - if you can stand it. Better yet, pay a babysitter to take them.

I am grateful for one thing. The screaming babies in the movie theatre were kind enough to drown out the annoying music. Thank goodness for small miracles!

My Rating = Two Stars

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