Screwball crime comedy with inspired casting

The Whole Nine Yards

(15) 98 mins ‘k t it

Gangster comedies are arrrvrng mob- handed on big and small screens these days. Hard on the heels of The Sopranos, Analyze This and Mickey Blue Eyes comes The Whole Nine Yards, a screwball crime comedy that teams fidgety Matthew Perry With laid- back Bruce Willis.

Perry is Nicholas Ozeransky, a hen- pecked Montreal dentist whose shrewrsh French-Canadian wife (Rosanna Arguette) has saddled him With her late father's debts. Willis is Jimmy 'The Tulip’ Tudeskr, the affable hit-man who has JUSI moved in next door. Oz’s wife wants him dead for the insurance money; Jimmy’s former gang in Chicago are gunning for him for even bigger stakes.

The film's plot is irritatineg over-

Man On The Moon

(15) 119 mins were it

As comedian-cum-practical joker Andy Kaufman, Carrey gives a career- best performance

Jim Carrey's slapstick antics have seen him overlooked as a serious talent but, doubling as American comedian-cum- practical Joker Andy Kaufman, Carrey gives a career-best performance.

complicated, but the pairing of Willis and Perry works Surprisrngly well. The coolly masculine Willis gives another effortless performance, while the Jittery, vaguely sissy Perry is put through a series of undignified pratfalls. Their co-stars have less to do. Michael Clarke Duncan, the gentle giant from The Green Mile, pops up as a mob enforcer With ambiguous loyalties; Natasha Henstridge, the sexy human-alien hybrid from the Species films, appears as Jimmy’s estranged Wife but fails to make much of an impression. She rs completely overshadowed by Amanda Peet’s gushing, wide—eyed dental assistant, who secretly desires to be a contract killer herself and turns out to have an encyclopaedrc knowledge of Jimmy’s previous hits. She’s easily the best thing in the movre. (Jason Best)

General release from Fri 79 May

There's enough physical resemblance, but more tellineg there's similarity of background: Carrey, like Kaufman, worked his way through the stand-up Circurt and broke big through US televrsron comedy shows.

It’s unlikely UK audiences Will remember Kaufman from these, more likely, he’ll be familiar as Latka, the garage mechanic of uncertain foreign origin in Taxi. This ignorance works in favour of Man On The Moon, which re-unites director Milos Forman With Larry F/ynt screenwriters, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. Kaufman's short-lived career comprised a series of increasingly outrageous practical jOkGS at the expense of other performers (the Taxi cast hated working With him, although co-star Danny DeVito appears as his agent in the film) and audiences (Kaufman regularly tortured stand-up crowds by reading The Great Gatsby, in full, including the copyright information).

From the slightly too uncomfortable opening, Forman plays similar jokes on his film’s audience. So the less you know about what Kaufman did to his unsuspecting, and sometimes never suspecting audiences the better. By approximating the essence of the performer, instead of merely retelling a life story, Man On The Moon provides a far richer understanding of its SUbJGCl, while allowing Kaufman to remain an intriguing enigma.

(Miles Fielder) I Currently on general release.

new releases FILM Claire Dolan (18) 105 mins *** 1: With the exception of perhaps Atom Egoyan there is no one making films like Lodge Kerrigan today. Austere, pensive and highly stylised, this movre like his 1993 debut, Clean Shaven is an edgy, quret study of urban alienation and mental illness.

Claire Dolan (Katrin Cartlidge) is an upmarket call girl in New York who is somehow indebted to an Irish uncle pimp figure, Cain (Colm Meaney). When her mother dies Claire flees the big apple and Cain to find some degree of normality in Newark as a beautician. Here in suburbia, she finds love and redemption from her own self loathing V‘Jllll taxi driver, [Elton (Vincent D'Onofrio). Cain, however, is never far behind,

Kerrigan’s deeply disturbing movre has at its heart the elusive character of the protagonist. Katrin Cartlidge is more than up for the task, by turns distant, confused, weak, strong and very sexual, it is a superb perlcy'rnance The film itself is a more complex affair, dealing With psychological complexities and the gulf between deed and motivation in the cold unhlinkrrig New York light. With its sparse dialogue and stifled plot this is not always an easy frlrri to stay With But it is more adult and intelligent than anything else coming out of the US today. (Paul Dale)

I Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Fri 79 May

Edgy, quiet study of urban alienation

Sullivan's Travels

(U) 91 mins and“:

By naming their new film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, in homage to Sullivan’s Travels, the Coen brothers have bestowed a great honour upon Preston Sturges. But that doesn’t do this 1941 screwball comedy Justice. In edual parts Crazy and clever, the film lurches Wildly from slapstick comedy to tragedy to social comment and back again.

It all starts with John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea), a Hollywood movre mogul who attempts some first hand research of his planned sOCial conscience film within a film, O Brother, Where Art Thou by taking to the road as a hobo. Dogged by his studio, Sullivan doesn't get arij,r\.~.her'e urit.l he meets tough cookie Veronica Lake. Together they get a taste of the underbelly of America, but it’s only when Sullivan hits rock-bottom on a chain—gang that he reaches an epiphany that pr‘Ovrdes him Willi the answer he's been looking for.

The comedy and the drama have travelled well since the early 40s, but what’s startling is how modern Sullivan’s Travels feels. The Player and the Scream trilogy have indulged in plenty of self-referential fun With Hollywood, Sturges does that in spades. At one point Sullivan guips, ’lf ever a plot needed a twrst, this one does’. You get those in spades, too. Genius. (Miles Fielder)

I Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse frOm Fri 12 May, Glasgow GF l‘ fro/7) fix/or; 28 May


Down To You (12) 96 mins

This summer rom-com brings together pretty young things Freddie Prinze Jr (She's All That, / Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel) and Julia Styles (70 Things / Hate About You) as a pair of New York college students who fall in love. Al’s studying to be a chef, lmogen's a determined artist, but when they meet first love begins to take priority over their career plans. Of course, the path of true love is never smooth, and so various obstacles threaten Al and lmogen's lit)\.'.t‘i'!ll(} relationship: a seductive vixen, an anxrety—r‘idden friend, a crazy r‘ottrriati-, an eccentric actor, and a guy who thinks he's Jim Morrison.

Colourful characters and crty locations spice tip the fairinrar ste'iario, which pits love and commitment against temptation. Alftl lit a hroau‘t-e sense, Down To You aims to be representative of relationships in the new millennium lhe young cast are pretty en0ugh, if interchangeable With the pretty tlzings of a uo/en other rorn-coms, but the real casting coup Is Henry "lhe lon." kale: Playing Al's clad, the eccentric gourmet chef, Ray, Wirikler gets the jt.L( rest role in the film and his performance is a joy. (Miles Fielder)

I General release from Fri 79 May

Crazy, clever screwball comedy

u .. ‘~’i‘§i'i"..‘~i,lvi. Happy daze in this summer rom-com

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2;)(10 THE “ST 31