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He's no Zac Efron--little Oscar the chimpanzee is a natural in front of the camera.
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Aside from that limited warning, this is a rare film that shouldn't be missed.
Rated G. 78 min. [PV]
"THINK LIKE A MAN"
MICHAEL EALY, REGINA HALL, KEVIN HART, GABRIELLE UNION
This pretty much unfolds the way most viewers know it will--with women gaining an edge on their significant others, thanks to a book about how men think.
But this movie is better than many might suppose, thanks especially to Kevin Hart's periodic hilarity and a veteran cast that's done enough of these dating comedies to be very good at them.
At times, the film almost feels like an extended commercial for the real-life book by author-comedian Steve Harvey, but it all unfolds at a perfect pace. It succeeds by matching up different couples with the problems Harvey's book addresses, from the mama's boy to the fretful single mom.
In a film like this, where things are heading isn't nearly as important as how much fun the cast has getting there. For all the expected hurdles faced in the race to harmonious love, this cast has enough fun to make it enjoyable for the audience as well.
As the one guy in the group of buddies going through a divorce, Hart is a total stitch, drawing out belly laughs as he keeps underscoring the pitfalls of bad romance while secretly pining to get his sweetie back.
This isn't rocket science, but it has enough interesting characters and a snappy enough pace to make it an enjoyable movie.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some crude humor, and brief drug use. 120 min. [MC, PV, RA]
"THE LUCKY ONE" (PG-13)
ZAC EFRON, TAYLOR SCHILLING, BLYTHE DANNER
It's official: Channing Tatum is no longer the worst male actor to have made a Nicholas Sparks film.
Zac Efron, the former teen heartthrob, has wrestled that title away from him with a performance so leaden that it's not even a contest.
His one-note, downcast look sort of works for the role of a Marine who's still wracked by grief from losing friends in Iraq.
Luckily, there are some decent actors here, from the talented and striking Taylor Schilling as Efron's love interest to Blythe Danner as the wise grandmother who pulls for the pair.
Athough the patented Sparks' formula is maintained, as ever, in this film, I dare say it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be.
Two troubled souls help save each other in a waterfront setting, beset by problems along the way and yearning for true love and happiness. What else would it be?
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence. 101 min. [MC, RA, RF]
HOW WE RATE 'EM
H Don't waste your time.
HH Nothing special
HHHH A must-see