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Review of the day for the week of August 10, 1998.

Monday:
What About Bob?

What About Bob?
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What About Bob Murray plays annoying Bob Wiley, an obsessive-compulsive multi-phobic personality. Basically that means that he's scared of everything - he won't touch anything in public places for fear of germs, so he touches everything with a handkerchief. He's scared to get on a bus. He fakes cardiac arrest because, he reasons, you can't really get something if you fake it.

Bob's new psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), has just written a new book and will be visited by Good Morning America while on vacation. Terrified of not having his shrink around to talk to all the time, Bob follows Dr. Marvin to his summer home, where Leo's entire family loves Bob - perhaps too much, perhaps more than Leo? Then, when Good Morning America shows up, they think it's a great idea for Bob to do the interview with Leo.

Eventually, Leo, the great shrink, goes berserk himself from the stress of having Bob around.

I really loved the idea of a shrink losing it, and Dreyfuss' performance is excellent. Murray is very convincing as a pathetic, lonely, annoying nutcase.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
The Negotiator

The Negotiator
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If you like suspense thrillers, The Negotiator is a terrific movie to see.

Samuel L. Jackson stars as Danny Roman, your typical "good cop": he upholds justice, protects the innocent, and is the best negotiator on the force, even risking his own life to save people. (His wife makes him promise to stop doing such crazy things, and he assures her that "Crazy is getting on the bus and leaving".)

It's not long before he is framed for the murder of his partner and friend, who had confided in him about a top-secret case. Apparently other cops on the force were involved in a money-laundering scheme, and he has been set up to look like the guilty party.

Before he can be arrested, Jackson takes his police chief, whom he suspects is in on the money laundering deal, hostage. The chief's secretary and two other guys are also held hostage, and now Jackson is a negotiator negotiating. The new negotiator, brought in to negotiate with him, is Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey). Still with me?

The concept is very interesting, and the plot is complicated enough that you can't guess the end, but not so twisted as to be confusing. Also, both Jackson and Spacey are great actors and were well cast in their roles. This one definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat.

My Rating = Three Stars

Rent


Wednesday:
BASEketball

BASEketball
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While funny at times, Baseketball is, for the most part, tasteless trash. This movie will offend just about everyone.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park star as a couple of losers - Joseph 'Coop' Cooper and Doug Remer. That is, they're losers until they accidentally invent the game BASEketball, which is apparently a combination of baseball and basketball, with rudeness and crazy rules thrown in - just for fun. Soon, BASEketball becomes a big sport, and this silly, senseless game goes down in history. It's not long before Coop and Doug are fighting over gorgeous Jenna Reed (Yasmine Bleeth) - and control of the team. Dont' ask why Jenna, who heads a children's charity and seems fairly intelligent, would want anything to do with these two idiots - I couldn't figure it.

Several scenes struck me as hilarious, but I didn't like a lot of the other events in this movie. For example, the scene where Coop and Doug French-kiss each other was just plain sickening. And let's not forget that this film is full of excessive swearing, racial slurs, and a general lack of tact.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Thursday:
Mafia

Mafia
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The thing about Mafia That's not to say that I didn't enjoy Mafia - I did, I left the theatre wondering what Mafia was all about.

Mafia is like one of the Naked Gun movies (see: The Naked Gun, Naked Gun 2 1/2, Naked Gun 33 1/3), only those do have some identifiable plot. The only other difference is that Mafia is about the Mafia, while the Naked Gun movies are about the police force.

Anthony Cortino (Jay Mohr) is the son of a soon-to-retire Mafia, Don Vincenzo Cortino. Anthony runs a Vegas casino, lives with a stripper, and still pines away for his old girlfriend Diane (Christina Applegate), who left him because he killed people and she was for world peace. And that's all there is to it.

Suffice it to say that if you liked the Naked Gun movies, you'll probably like this one. You just have to have a good appreciation for movies that aren't really movies.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Ever After

Ever After
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When updating Romeo and Juliet, filmmakers made an enjoyable modern version of this several hundred year old love story. Unfortunately, Hollywood didn't fare quite as well with Ever After, the slightly altered but, unfortunately, still humdrum version of the old Cinderella fairy tale.

The main stars certainly don't measure up to Leonardo DiCaprio or Claire Danes. Instead, Drew Barrymore is an adequate Cinderella, and Dougray Scott - he's no DiCaprio - is the prince. Cinderella is stuck, as usual, slaving around doing chores for her wicked stepmother, until she meets the prince while trying to buy back a servant. She runs into him a few more times, pretending to be a rich countess, and naturally, they fall in love.

Everybody who views Ever After" will know exactly what is going to happen.

A few of the scenes were entertaining, and it was rather amusing to watch the wicked stepmother get her due, but this movie just didn't seem worth my time. I later realized that the only reason the previews seemed appealing was because they featured great popular songs - no doubt a ploy to draw teens to this movie. My advice: skip the movie and just buy the soundtrack.

My Rating = Two Stars

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