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Review of the day for the week of June 22, 1998.

Monday:
Duck Soup

Duck Soup
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Duck Soup, despite being a popular Marx Brothers classic, is just plain pointless.

Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx, what kind of a name is that?) is appointed the new leader of the imaginary country, Freedonia. A wealthy and powerful woman has lent the government money, on the condition that he be appointed leader - she's his romantic interest, in case you hadn't guessed. Well, Firefly is a complete idiot, and does one dense thing after another. His driver Pinky (Harpo Marx) - who always manages to leave him behind - and his driver's friend Chiccolini (Chico Marx) are just as bad. They annoy a peanut vendor apparently for the fun of it - even destroying his property. If people really did that they could be sent to jail! I know this movie was made in the thirties, but didn't they have laws back then?

There's hardly any plot to speak of, but I did get the impression that this was supposed to be a very early form of a political comedy. All the so-called "actors" simply "act" like imbeciles, which doesn't strike me as a very difficult thing to do. It's no wonder they didn't get paid as much in the thirties as actors today are paid!

My Rating = One Star

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Tuesday:
Can't Hardly Wait

Can't Hardly Wait
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Can't Hardly Wait is one of those movies that is so bad it's good - does that make any sense? It's so unbelievably idiotic that it somehow ends up being funny. The dialogue was so ridiculous that I laughed the whole way through and realized that I actually enjoyed this terribly scripted film.

Jennifer Love Hewitt stars as Amanda, a graduating senior whose boyfriend, Mike (Peter Facinelli) dumps her right before graduation. Seemingly unperturbed, she shows up at the big graduation bash that night, only to be accosted by several well-meaning but dimwitted friends. They make her feel much worse with sympathetic but insincere comments!

Meanwhile, Mike talks all his friends into breaking up with their girlfriends - a plan that they don't exactly carry out once they get to the party and start making out with their girlfriends.

Then there's Preston (Ethan Embry), the almost psychotically lovesick guy who has lusted after Amanda for years. He sees this as his big chance - Mike's out of the picture, so now maybe Amanda will go out with him - if Preston ever gets up the guts to tell her how he feels.

Not to mention several subplots about their friends! This movie is sort of a nineties Grease minus the singing and dancing, and with a more profanity. If you're looking for a mind-numbingly dense movie to lose yourself in, this is definitely it.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Wednesday:
Dirty Work

Dirty Work
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Dirty Work is a borderline, okay-but-not-great, average movie.

Norm MacDonald plays a lazy slacker who can't hold a job - or keep a girlfriend. When his best friend's father has a heart attack, a not so sensitive doctor (Chevy Chase) flatly informs them "If I were a betting man, I'd bet my last dollar he was going to die". The old man is simply too old to be considered for a heart transplant - unless the good doctor pulls some illegal strings. For this favor, he asks only $50,000 (to pay the bookies he owes).

MacDonald and his friend start their own business, Dirty Work, to do people's "dirty work". In other words, they get revenge for people by pulling juvenile practical jokes that would get them into serious trouble with the law in real life.

This material is amusing for a little while, but there really isn't enough plot and substance to constitute making a movie from this weak premise. The acting is serviceable, but without any big Hollywood names, this film is sure to go straight to video. Chevy Chase's crass character is the best part of this movie, if that tells you anything.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Thursday:
Six Days, Seven Nights

Six Days, Seven Nights
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Six Days, Seven Nights has a predictable script, one-dimensional characters, and a ridiculously obvious ending.

It also has Harrison Ford. Need I say more?

Yes, Ford is what makes this film enjoyable, as Quinn, a tropical island pilot who "likes to keep his life simple". With his not-so-faithful but beautiful girlfriend, it is simple - until Robin Monroe (Anne Heche), a vacationing magazine editor, asks him to fly her to a nearby island. Under last minute pressure from her boss requesting that she direct a photo shoot, Robin reluctantly agrees. Her boyfriend (David Schwimmer) has just become her fiance, and doesn't like her leaving, but she assures him she'll be back soon.

Maybe not. Quinn takes off in bad weather, and they crash-land on an island, badly damaging the plane. The radio is fried so they can't call for help, and they have only one flare to shoot if a search plane should fly overhead. So, it's just like the old hypothetical, "If you were trapped on a desert island..."

This provides some good comic relief and a few enthralling action scenes, but not much else.

Well you know what happens next. Despite their differences, Quinn and Robin, being the only two people on the island for an indefinite amount of time, fall for each other. Of course, Robin's fiance and Quinn's girlfriend, safe on another island, sleep with each other the first chance they get.

If you ask me, these people all deserve each other! When - don't read any further in the unlikely event that you haven't already figured out the end- Quinn and Robin end up together, you have to wonder how long this whirlwind romance is really going to last. I'd like to see a sequel, Six Days, Seven Nights 2: Six Months Later.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Adventures in Babysitting

Adventures in Babysitting
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Adventures in Babysitting is a facetious film about a not so ordinary babysitting job.

Chris (Elizabeth Shue) is planning to spend a romantic evening with her boyfriend on their anniversary, but he suddenly cancels, claiming his sister is sick. Yeah, right. Anyway, Chris allows herself to be talked into babysitting, even though she protests that she's too old. One of her charges is a charming little girl; the other is a hormone-influenced teen boy who keeps hitting on Chris. Not to mention that his best friend, who is even more annoying, joins them. Chris' panicky friend runs away from home, changes her mind, and asks Chris to come rescue her from the bus station. Chris isn't supposed to take the kids any farther than Baskin Robbins, but reluctantly agrees to drive into the city and get her friend. Of course, she has to take the lively camaraderie with her.

Well soon enough she gets a flat (the movie is realistic in that respect -things like that always happen when you're doing something sneaky!). Unbelievably, she left her purse at home and can't buy a new tire; apparently there wasn't one in the trunk. A one-armed man with a wrecker offers to help her, so they all naively hop into his cab. Turns out he has to make a detour because his wife is cheating on him; when the shooting starts, Chris and her charges jump out of his truck and into a nearby car - with a car thief. And so it goes. Their night just keeps getting worse and worse!

Adventures in Babysitting was skillfully plotted, if predictable at some parts. This is one of the few PG rated movies that really is "fun for the whole family". You can watch it with your kids - or babysitting charges - and you won't be bored out of your skull.

My Rating = Three Stars

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