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Review of the day for the week of December 15, 1997.

Monday:
The Associate

The Associate
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Whoopi Goldberg is, as usual, a hilarious success at making you laugh in The Associate.

Goldberg portrays Lauryl Ayres, a disgruntled businesswoman with a failing business, who decides that her problem is sexism: if she had a male business partner, she might be able to acquire some clients. So... she invents one! That's right, she wears a magnificently done outfit and poses as her own business partner (whose name she stole from a whiskey bottle)!

Naturally, Goldberg disgused as a man, becomes involved in some sticky situations - in one part, a female accountant tries to seduce Ayres. Although she was, of course, unsuccessful, she later appears on a talk show claiming that Ayres' partner got her pregnant! By this time, Ayres and her partner are both smashing successes whom everyone would like to hear gossip about.

Ah, but it's lonely at the top. Ayres soon realizes that she needs to admit the truth - and prepares to do so in what turns out to be a very stunning public appearance.

The plot never slows, is original, and you can't guess the ending until the last second. Goldberg lends the movie her comic genius, and the other actors also give commendable performances.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Tuesday:
So I Married an Axe Murderer

So I Married an Axe Murderer
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Although most people just don't give him enough credit, I find Mike Myers tremendously amusing in So I Married an Axe Murderer.

In this typically dense, yet comical comedy, Myers plays a guy who's searching for the perfect girl. He thinks he's found one too - in a butcher shop, no less. In one hysterical scene, he helps her in the butcher shop, and while cutting up some hamburger meat, he starts "mooing" like a cow. People out front start to look around, alarmed. He loudly pounds the hamburger meat; more "mooing". This is just hilarious.

Then his mother points out a tabloid article about a murderous bride - she marries men, then kills them on their honeymoon. He begins to suspect that perhaps his new girlfriend is one and the same as this unidentified killer - she's a karate expert, she speaks Russian (one of the victims was a Russian karate expert), and she expertly handles her butcher knives...

Although not one of Myers' better known movies, you can find it in any video store, and I'd recommend renting it today - strictly for laughs. His acting is even better than in Wayne's World.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Scream 2

Scream 2
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This is clever. This is very, very clever. Scream 2, the sequel to this summer's smash hit Scream, is based on the premise of a movie within a movie - and that movie is the first movie. Still with me?

In, Scream 2, the second movie, a movie is made based on the events of the first movie. The movie spurs a sequence of copycat murders - committed, once again, by a Halloween costume clad crazed killer. The usual murder-mystery question arises: whodunit? Sydney, one of the few intended victims to survive the first killing spree, is desperate to find out. Is it Gale Weathers (splendidly portrayed by Courtney Cox), the snoopy reporter who also miraculously survived the first killing spree? Or Dwight "Duey", the cop who saved her life (and whose sister died in the last movie as well)? Is it someone entirely different, such as Sydney's new boyfriend?

Scream 2 is not only thrilling, but funny - the whole thing was a delightful combination of scares and laughs.

Another interesting aspect of this movie is the fact that it debates the question of whether or not movies can have such profound effects as to cause people to commit murder. (Personally, I think if someone's already that disturbed, a movie isn't going to have much effect either way, and people should stop blaming Hollywood.)

I wasn't the only person to thoroughly enjoy this movie: the entire audience was clapping and cheering during several scenes, and I can't remember the last time I saw such audience participation at a movie. And yes, there is a surprise ending.

Let me end on this note: Scream 2 is a real scream - even more so than the first movie.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Thursday:
For Richer or Poorer

For Richer or Poorer
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Tim Allen is his usual jocular self in the noteworthy new comedy, For Richer or Poorer which depicts money as the essence of life itself.

Allen plays rich and materialistic Brad Sexton, and Kirstie Alley, (also a terrific comedian) is well cast as Brad's equally, if not more, materialistic wife. When they finally decide, on their tenth wedding anniversary, to get a divorce, they run into a small problem: their sniveling and dishonest accountant has embezzled money, caused them to be audited, resulting in the IRS shooting at Brad on a busy street corner. Now the FBI is after them, and they are forced to flee New York City - together, nonetheless - until their attorney can straighten things out. While searching for a place to hide out, they stumble upon an old-fashioned Amish community in Pennsylvania, and their problems are solved - or so it seems. Soon they are working hard hours on the farm, rising at an uncivilized hour (four-thirty A.M., can you imagine?), and bickering constantly, while trying to maintain an "Amish" attitude and appearance so their real identities won't be discovered.

Allen and Alley have good chemistry in this movie, and the other actors are also well cast. Perhaps I just like this movie because I'm a big Tim Allen fan, but everyone else in the theatre seemed to enjoy it too, and we were all roaring with laughter for the full two hours.

At the end, outtakes are included for your further enjoyment, and almost everyone stayed to watch these.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Friday:
As Good as it Gets

As Good as it Gets
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Jack Nicholson may not be a sexy hunk like Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio, but he certainly can act! So can Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear, who co -star with him in As Good As it Gets, an unusual but well-plotted film.

Nicholson portrays an obsessive-compulsive author named Melvin (he uses two new bars of soap every time he washes his hands, which is apparently quite frequently, as he has quite a lot of soap stockpiled). Annoyed by his gay neighbor Simon's dog, Verdell, he puts it down a garbage chute, but later, when forced to keep it for a few days, becomes increasingly fond of the dog. In fact, Verdell eventually begins to like Melvin better than Simon!

Meanwhile, Melvin eats lunch each day at a specific restaurant, at a specific time, and is served by a specific waitress (he brings his own plastic silverware because he doesn't trust theirs to be clean). When the waitress considers taking another job somewhere else, he is terribly upset, but manages to convince her to keep working there by sending a good doctor to care for her sick son. (The doctor is his publicist's husband, how convenient.) Melvin, Simon, and the waitress take a car trip to visit Simon's parents, whom he hasn't spoken to in years. After a very long while, a romance slowly starts to develop between Melvin and the waitress, then falls apart quickly because of Melvin's nearly insane lack of sensitivity.

As Good As it Gets was both humorous and touching, and was sincerely acted by Nicholson, Kinnear, and Hunt. Cuba Gooding,Jr, of "Show me da money" fame (Jerry Maguire), also appears as Simon's gay lover, and is extremely amusing in several scenes.

When it comes to movies, As Good as it Gets is, well, as good as it gets.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Saturday:
GoldenEye

GoldenEye
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GoldenEye is about your typical British hero, James Bond (sexy Pierce Brosnan). Who else? Most of this movie takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, where a nuclear bomb blast has completely wiped out a nuclear weapons - computer plant, killing all but two computer experts. Bond has to find a satellite that will outlive the explosion of a second bomb, and, at the same time, he must stop a reckless madwoman named Xenia Onatopp. Xenia crushes men with her thighs (ouch!), while Bond, during an exciting chase, crushes historic buildings with a tank. Countless incessant chases and stunts are included - with one particular flying stunt (Bond flies into a pilotless plane. I spent the next twenty minutes mulling over how he did it. Will James Bond continue to fight evil forces and win? Rent this terrific 90's version of James Bond versus evil forces, and find out.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
Harriet the Spy

Harriet the Spy
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I highly recommend the movie Harriet the Spy for kids of all ages.

Harriet, on her "spy" route watches a Chinese family and what goes on in their grocery store; a man who loves cats and has so many he is constantly evading the Health Department; a rich lady's mansion, and all her unusual friends.

One day, her friends accidentally find her notebook and read some notes that she wrote-about them. The notes about her friends were true - but not exactly complimentary, so they are furious.

Now everyone at school, including her friends, hate her. Harriet's sincere maneuvers to win them back continue till the end of the movie, and hold your attention, most of the time.

Harriet, (Michelle Tratenberg) was a terrific and believeable Harriet the spy.

My Rating = Three Stars

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