The truth has been out for years: Adam Sandler can do whatever Adam Sandler wants. He always seems to make money at it. This animated feature, an unorthodox, politically incorrect holiday movie musical (well, sort of) set around Hanukah and Christmas, has all the essentials for his kind of success: toilet humor, insult one-liners, bawdy irreverence, alcohol abuse and just about everything to make parents roll their eyes but rent the video for their preteen and teen kids anyway. In the rather long-winded story, Davey Stone (Sandler) is a washed-up guy in the small American town of Dukesberry who spends his days drinking away heavy memories of the past. Always in trouble with the law because he hates himself and authority, he's saved from prison by Whitey, a small, bearded coot who runs the local youth basketball program. Whitey, who may have the most annoying high-pitched voice of any character in the human experience (it's Sandler too), lives with his sister (voice of . . . you guessed it), who has the second most annoying voice. Predictably, nasty old Davey will bond with the old fella and yada yada. This movie does have its passing moments of charm and funniness; and the musical numbers are left-field, anarchic and occasionally amusing in a naughty way. "Eight Crazy Nights" isn't appropriate for any innocent child -- assuming such lovely creatures still exist. But boys and girls who enjoy surprise attacks in their entertainment (of the aforementioned toilet variety) are going to have a blast. Sad but true. Contains frequent crude and sexual humor, drinking and brief drug references. Area theaters.

-- Desson Howe

EXTREME OPS (PG-13, 93 minutes)

This action adventure film is about a team of daredevils who are making a movie about snowboarding in the Austrian Alps. When they inadvertently film a Serbian terrorist, they must escape from his henchmen with their boards and skis. It stars Devon Sawa, Rufus Sewell and Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, and is directed by Christian Duguay, who made "Screamers." Because of early holiday deadlines, this movie was not screened in time to be reviewed. Contains violence, obscenity and some nudity.

-- Desson Howe


In writer-director Peter Mattei's intriguingly cyclic feature debut, one character asserts that men think about sex every 20 seconds; women far less often. If the nine central characters -- five men, four women -- in the roughly 90-minute-long "Love in the Time of Money" are any indication, that averages out to about once every 10 minutes. Here's how the lust-fueled round robin works: Existentially Weary Prostitute No. 1 (Vera Farmiga) picks up Lonely John No. 2 (Dominick Lombardozzi), who is later seduced by Sexually Frustrated Society Wife No. 3 (Jill Hennessy), whose Distant Husband No. 4 (Malcolm Gets) runs off to make a pass at a Supposedly Straight Male Painter No. 5 (Steve Buscemi), who then hits on Foxy Art Gallery Receptionist No. 6 (Rosario Dawson) . . . and so on and so forth until Suicidal Bond Salesman No. 9 (Michael Imperioli), takes the whole thing full circle back to E.W.P. No. 1 for the film's guaranteed-to-bum-you-out conclusion. Despite impeccable acting -- the film also stars Adrian Grenier and Carol Kane in a touching May/September encounter -- and a script that takes some rather unexpected (even, at times, preposterous) turns, "Love" is just too, too precious in the end. How else to explain this howler of an exchange between S.F.S.W. No. 3 and D.H. No. 4? She: "I want to go away. I want to taste strange things. I want to sleep with other men." He: "So do I." Contains profanity, strong sexual content and brief violent imagery. At the Cineplex Odeon Dupont Circle 5.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

ON GUARD! (LE BOSSU) (Unrated, 120 minutes)

In this 1997 French-Italian-German co-production, Daniel Auteuil is a charming, cheeky master swordsman named Lagardere in pre-revolutionary France who becomes the protector and companion of a duke (Vincent Perez). The duke needs help against the henchmen of his scheming cousin, the Count of Gonzague (Fabrice Luchini), who's trying to get the duke's estate. It seems the count was all set to inherit the duke's fortune until the duke discovered a more direct heir, an illegitimate daughter. Adapted from Paul Feval's 1857 book "Le Bossu," Philippe de Broca's movie is over-the-top but enjoyable entertainment. And Auteuil makes it even more so. But the story takes an odd little twist when it jumps 16 years to find Lagardere (who seems not to have aged) in quasi-paternal custody of Aurore (Marie Gillain), the duke's now-grown and beautiful daughter. The story devolves into pure silliness at this point. But by then, you'll have had your fun. The sword fighting is well done and Auteuil is a goofy pleasure. In French with subtitles. Contains nothing objectionable. At Visions Cinema/Bistro/Lounge.

-- Desson Howe

SOLARIS (PG-13, 95 minutes)

Steven Soderbergh's remake of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film (of the same name) exudes the impressive authority of a "2001," with similarly slow and meticulous pacing, and credible, futuristic production design. But the movie, starring George Clooney, never rises above its surface texture. And Clooney, who's easy on many an eye, is only moderately effective as Chris Kelvin, the story's central character. Kelvin, a doctor who's grieving his dead wife (Natascha McElhone), has been sent to a space station near the planet Solaris to investigate what has happened to the strangely uncommunicative crew. He finds that Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur), the commander of the expedition, has died. And the two survivors (including Jeremy Davies and Viola Davis) display strange behavior. Little by little, Kelvin becomes affected by the weird atmosphere. It isn't long before he gets a visit from his supposedly dead wife. As Kelvin comes to grips with this being who seems to be his wife, the movie enters the metaphysical zone and leaves all hope of box office success back on Earth. Even by the art film standards it apes, "Solaris" lacks conviction. And although it's meant to be restrained and free of emotional hysteria, the result is a movie that pretty much lies dead on the screen for an hour and a half. Contains nudity, sexual situations and some violence. Area theaters.

-- Desson Howe

WES CRAVEN PRESENTS: 'THEY' (PG-13, 90 minutes)

In this horror movie (which appears to have very little, if anything, to do with Wes Craven), graduate student Julia Lund (Laura Regan) is haunted by traumatic events from the past. But the horror ain't over. Those events return as very real phenomena. Dimension Pictures declined to show this movie to critics for review. Contains terror, violence, sexual content and obscenity. Area theaters.

-- Desson Howe