Robotic vaudeville and frippery


Director Frank Oz’s update of the 1975 classic Bryan Forbes’ adaptation of Ira Levin’s bestselling novel is an abject lesson in how to dehumanise a classic movie. In this new incarnation of the tale of small town misogyny and domestic goddess perfection, suspenseful horror and the subtle socio- political critique of feminism have been discarded in favour of slapstick comedy and a haughty cleverness.

Oz and screenwriter Paul Rudnick (In and Out, Addams Family Values) manage to throw away a premise that ends with one of modern suburban horror’s great denouements on vaudeville and frippery.

Just as with other visits to the town of Stepford (most notably the TV movie, Revenge of the Stepford Wives) this new version is updated to reflect modern life (the gay middle-class couple of the original film are posited by an African American brood - radical).

Women are shown to hold the upper hand both at home and at work. In the book the family move from New York to Stepford when the father gets a new job; now they move because Joanna Everhart (Nicole Kidman) loses her job as head of a TV network. Her partner Walter (Mathew Broderick) wants to reassert his masculinity and, ironically, it is in the depiction of the modern man that the film really falls down. While this predictable comedy revels in bland Hollywood values, it still manages to avoid the big questions - like who does the washing up? (Kaleem Aftab)

I General release from Fri 30 Jul.

ROM COM ANYTHING ELSE (15) 108min 000

A Manhattan backdrop. a blues soundtrack, neurotic characters, more Jewish jokes than at a Palestinian comedy club. Yep. it's the annual Woody Allen caper. Thankfully, this is a much better effort than those recent affronts to comic sensibilities. Hollywood Ending and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.

As in Celebrity Allen chooses not to play the central protagonist. Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs) is a young, successful writer whose benign foible appears when his career hits the skids for the first time. Allen plays his

Annie Hall Else?

speCIalises in irrationality. and their

sixtysomething sidekick. David Dobel. a has-been writer looking to get one more shot at the big time. There is a sadness in watching the old man give to what to all intents and purposes is a younger version of himself advice on how not to end up in the rut he has. Falk leaves his girlfriend for Amanda (Christina Ricci). 3 bulimic actress who

28 THE LIST 22 Jul—:3 Aug 2004

relationship follows the familiar torrid template Allen set in Annie Hall. Throw into this wacky mix Falk's disastrous agent (Danny Devito) and Amanda's homeless mother (Stockard Channing) and it's another rendition of Play it Again, Woody. Which is no bad thing. (Kaleem Aftab)

I Selected release from Fri 30 Jul.


Kumal and Sangha are a couple of incurably cute tiger cubs who enjoy hanging out in the Thai jungles learning to play and hunt with their devoted parents. Then one day legendary explorer. archaeological rapist and merchant Aidan McRory (Guy Pierce) turns up to seize some Buddhist statues that are situated near their lair. Unsurprisingly, the feline family is scattered as one of the cubs is captured and the other tries to make a run for it, but will Kumal and Sangha's paths cross again? Will the brothers be reunited after their many traumas?

Director Jean-Jacques Annaud returns to the same territOry of his 1988 hit The Bear. A fascinating, unwieldy and ambitious filmmaker Annaud has made some of the oddest and most poignant international productions of the last 20 years (Enemy at the Gates, Seven Years in Tibet. The Lover). Two Brothers


International Rescue is in need of rescue. Not from some terrorist cell with access to the Saudi missile surplus. but from mediocre American producers. Whose idea was it anyway to make a live action version of the greatest puppet adventure series of all time? No wonder old Gerry Anderson has distanced himself from the project. It's too convoluted and camp for kids and too boring for adults. and

Go on join the cubs

exhibits all the man‘s strengths and weaknesses. (noticeably a penchant for memorable. manipulative stories and images couched in a Zeffirellian propensity for the overblown and pompous). Still. it's exotic and thrilling enough to keep kids and adults alike entertained over its excessive length. (Paul Dale)

I General release from Fri 23 Jul.

Rubbish Rescue

director Jonathan Frakes (Clockstoppers) uses the little money that was at his disposal on half arsed SFX. The rest clearly went on trying to wake the Hood (Ben Kingsley) and Jeff Tracy (Bill Paxton) from their stringless slumber.

(Paul Dale) I General release from Fri 23 Jul.


(PG) 81 min 00

In the production notes to Garfield. co- screenwriter Alec Sokolow says: ‘If you stay true to Garfield's basic slovenly

desires. it is hard to go wrong.‘

Well. Sokolow has hit the nail on the head

as to why this movie stinks like cat's piss. Garfield the comic strip was

packed with amusing and acerbic

witticisms on human behaviour. Garfield the movre is so uninspired it

has to nick its plot from Babe 2 of all things.

5 action movies look like the Van Gogh of CGI.

natured dOpiness of canine Odie is way off the mark. Fans of the original strip will find

Worse still. the poor animation makes the putrid efforts of the Scooby 000 live

Even Bill Murray, who provides the

cantankerous cat's voice. can do little with the material at his disposal and when he bursts into

song Lost in Translation seems like nine lifetimes ago.

Everything in the film apart from the good-

the representation of Garfield's owner Jon (Breckin Meyer) and the cute veterinarian (Jennifer Love Hewitt) he attempts to

woo particularly galling. The dumbest

2 I General release from Fri 30 July

of dumb ass comedies. (Kaleem Aftab)

Cat flap crap