These movies arrive on video store shelves this week.
(PG-13, 1999, 93 minutes, Columbia-TriStar)
Sorry. Adam Sandler's comic mojo just ain't working this time. Dismal. Lame. Not funny. In this comedy, which Sandler produced, co-wrote and stars in, he's 32-year-old slacker supreme Sonny Koufax who adopts a child in a vain attempt to impress an estranged girlfriend. The girlfriend's unimpressed, and Sonny's stuck with a 5-year-old kid called Julian (Cole and Dylan Sprouse) who wets the bed, can't pee unless Sonny does it next to him, and loves listening to an irritating children's video. Even the guilty pleasure comedy is woeful: Sonny and Julian relieving themselves against a wall just doesn't do it. Nor does Sonny teaching Julian how to dangle a long, slimy string of mucus from his mouth almost to the sidewalk then slurp it back. Clearly, it's time to re-rent "The Waterboy." Contains obscenity, suggestive language and some slapstick violence. -- Desson Howe
(R, 1999, 98 minutes, Columbia-TriStar)
Seeking spiritual respite from an unsatisfying life in England, hippie and single-mother Julia (Kate Winslet) takes two young daughters to Marrakesh in the early 1970s. Julia plunges headlong into the culture, starting a relationship with local street tumbler Bilal (Said Taghmaoui). But while daughter Lucy (Carrie Mullan) is happy to follow Mom to the ends of the earth, Bea (Bella Riza) demands to return to England and normalcy. Gillies MacKinnon's adaptation of the novel by Esther Freud has a great premise; and the locales are wonderful. But the spiritual story -- Julia's innermost yearnings -- is hard to fathom between all the elliptical episodes. Contains sexual situations and nudity.
-- Desson Howe
(PG, 1998, 102 minutes, Warner Brothers)
A formulaic and charmless fantasy about a boy (Joseph Cross) whose dead dad (Michael Keaton) comes back as a snowman, "Jack Frost" reveals Hollywood at its movie-by-committee worst. The live snowman, a blend of animatronic puppetry and computer-enhanced movement, is singularly unappealing, with a face like a padded mask and a weird way of gliding around on his bottom that may scare little kids. Inevitably, the frozen parental surrogate begins to approach meltdown, but not as quickly as this room-temperature confection. Contains occasional crude language and very mild sexual innuendo, as well as themes of grief and loss. -- Jane Horwitz