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Friday, February 18, 2005; Page WE42

Kindergarteners on Up

"Pooh's Heffalump Movie" (G). Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Tigger and Eeyore venture into Heffalump Hollow to track the dreaded beast, while Baby Roo befriends a baby Heffalump and realizes their prejudices are silly, in charming Disney animated feature (68 minutes), with storybook visuals, leisurely pace, quiet humor that keep the tone, if not the Britishness, of A.A. Milne's Pooh stories, while inventing a new one; one too many nice songs by Carly Simon could cause fidgets. Tots may get nervous seeing dark Heffalump Hollow or when Roo falls into a hole and must be saved.

10 and Older

"Are We There Yet?" (PG). Ice Cube in crass, unfunny "family comedy" stuffed with fake sentiment and stilted child actors, about bachelor "player" who hates kids but falls for a divorcee (Nia Long) and agrees to drive her obnoxious daughter (Aleisha Allen) and son (Philip Daniel Bolden) from Portland to Vancouver, where she's on a business trip; they expertly sabotage him. Many "comic" scenes put kids in danger: as passengers in scary highway chases, hopping a freight train, briefly trying to operate an SUV and a truck; crotch kicks, flatulence, vomit, toilet jokes; mild profanity; crude language.


"Hitch." Slick, glib, irresistible, perfectly cast romantic comedy with Will Smith as Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, a "date doctor" who teaches shy New Yorkers like Albert the accountant (Kevin James) how to woo women; then Alex meets a smart, gorgeous gossip columnist (Eva Mendes) who makes him forget he vowed never to fall in love himself. A relatively chaste PG-13, but with much verbal sexual innuendo, some of it crude and misogynistic; a man is kicked in the crotch and slammed against an anatomically correct bronze bull; fairly strong profanity; character gets high on antihistamines. Teens.

"Boogeyman." Surprisingly well-acted creepfest -- part horror, part psychological thriller -- with little gore but lots of tension, shadows, sudden shocks and rather lame finale; young man (Barry Watson) can't shake belief that his father was snatched away by a boogeyman -- a monster in the closet he remembers from when he was 8 and believes still stalks him; he goes home to face his fears. Implied violence; glimpses of demons; little boy scared out of his wits in prologue, seeing his father taken; dead mother lying in casket; crow smashes into windshield; zombie-like children; sexual innuendo; implied toplessness; drinking. Iffy for middle schoolers.

"The Wedding Date." Intermittently droll, but largely pallid, imitative romantic romp stars Debra Messing as single New Yorker who hires male escort (Dermot Mulroney) to pose as her boyfriend at her half sister's (Amy Adams) English wedding, because the ex-boyfriend (Jeremy Sheffield) who broke her heart will be there. Example of PG-13 ratings-creep: lots of nudge-nudge sexual humor, at times with surprisingly explicit language; scenes edge close to showing more explicit sexual trysts, nudity; plot hinges on arrangement that amounts to prostitution; profanity, smoking, drinking. High schoolers.


"Rory O'Shea Was Here." Flawed Irish film entertains with flashes of irreverent humor, but oversells its tale with too much sentimentality; two young men in wheelchairs, both with severe physical disabilities, become pals at an institution; mild Michael (Steven Robertson), with cerebral palsy and unintelligible speech, and rebellious Rory O'Shea (James McAvoy), with muscular dystrophy and a very intelligible trash mouth, get an apartment in Dublin and hire a pretty girl (Romola Garai) as a helper; soon love pangs, health concerns and "normal life" test their friendship. Strong profanity and sexual innuendo; drinking. 16 and up.

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