Friday, March 25, 2005; Page WE34
"Robots" (PG). Witty computer-animated fable set in a robot world with Fiestaware colors, Rube Goldbergesque design; inventor-hero Rodney Copperbottom (voice of Ewan McGregor) leads fellow robots (voices of Robin Williams, Amanda Bynes, Halle Berry, others) in uprising against evil executive (Greg Kinnear) who aims to eliminate spare parts and old robots so he can sell new models, reversing policy of company founder Mr. Bigweld (Mel Brooks). Occasional mild sexual innuendo about making robot babies; flatulence jokes; robot pierced with screws has "Got Screwed" sign; Aunt Fanny 'bot has huge derriere; hellish underworld Chop Shop, where old robots are melted down, could scare younger kids.
"Ice Princess" (G). Sanitized, family-friendly high school fable geared to grade schoolers earns credibility from strong cast; a sweet physics whiz (Michelle Trachtenberg) studies the aerodynamics of figure skating for a physics project and suddenly burns to become a serious competitive skater; her feminist, idealistic mom (Joan Cusack), who wants her to go to Harvard, is crushed; her tough-minded coach (Kim Cattrall) wishes her own flighty daughter (Hayden Panettiere) had the same drive; the coach's son (Trevor Blumas) is cute and drives the Zamboni; understated sexual innuendo, flirting, a kiss; teen skating rivals say destructive things, slam into one another; overambitious parents harangue kids.
"Melinda and Melinda." Woody Allen's latest begins with playwrights arguing about differences between comedy and tragedy, then spins two parallel yarns -- one comic, one tragic -- about the same woman (Radha Mitchell); both involve chic, artistic, romantically stymied Manhattanites, with Will Ferrell as the Allenesque figure in the comic tale; but neither yarn proves very funny or very tragic -- only mildly involving and highly verbose. Suicide theme; rare profanity; discussion of a past murder; sexual situation -- fairly explicit but under sheets; smoking, drinking. Sophisticated high school film buffs.