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Friday, March 25, 2005; Page WE34

6 and Older

"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.

8 and Older

"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.

"Millions" (PG). Imaginative, fresh tale with non-dogmatic Christian subtext about childhood, innocence, power of money; a freckle-faced boy (Alexander Nathan Etel) near Liverpool, England, finds a bag crammed with pound notes tossed from a train; a dreamy kid who misses his dead mum, he has real- seeming conversations with saints and decides to give the pounds to the poor; his brother (Lewis Owen McGibbon) wants to spend it, so they do a little of both; their dad (James Nesbitt) and a charity lady (Daisy Donovan) catch on later. Sinister man (Christopher Fulford) who stole the cash is scary; flashback of train robbery; photos of women in sheer bras; lady stays with dad all night.

"The Pacifier" (PG). Vin Diesel flexes his clumsy but willing comedy muscles in contrived but amusing tale of Navy SEAL sent to protect five kids after their dad, a scientist, is murdered; they don't want military rules and he knows no other way; Brad Garrett as nasty vice principal at school, Lauren Graham as nice principal. Poopy diaper humor, "boob" joke; mild profanity; school bullies; Nazi armband whose meaning is never explained at a kid's level; action sequences with bloodless gunplay, martial arts fights, explosions; kids in jeopardy; parents may object to Hollywood's cutesy-fying of military culture.


"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.

"The Ring Two." Meandering sequel rehash of "The Ring" (PG-13, 2002) has Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her young son (David Dorfman) settled in a small town after their Seattle run-in with the lethally haunted video; but the killer cassette reappears and the vengeful spirit of the long-ago murdered Samara (Kelly Stables) tries to take possession of Rachel's son. Disturbing scenes show him haunted, nearly drowned; victims of the killer video have frozen, horrific faces; Samara's ghastly visage, sopping hair, spiderlike movements may scare the fainthearted; subtle suicide, child abuse themes; nightmarish scene down a well; herd of deer attack a car; brief profanity.

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