AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (PG, 125 minutes)
A Disneyfied, action-oriented take on Jules Verne's novel, "Around the World in 80 Days" has moments of fun and visual richness -- a paint-spattering fight at an Impressionists exhibit in 1880s Paris and a scene inside the head of an unassembled Statue of Liberty are standouts. Still, for a film geared to kids (it's okay for 10 and older), this one feels too long, confusing and dumbed-down. Quirky inventor Phileas Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, played by Briton Steve Coogan and action star Jackie Chan, respectively, get from London to Paris to Istanbul and beyond in jarring transitions masked by charmless animation. Violent for a PG, the movie shows Chan in bloodless but pounding kung fu fights against blade-wielding villains. Mild sexual innuendo comes from references to a harem and Fogg's urge to try on women's clothing -- a gratuitous jest in such a film. Passepartout, in this version, is a Chinese traveler on a mission in London. Wanted for robbing the Bank of England, he tumbles into Fogg's garden while eluding police and takes a job as his valet. In a dispute with the idiotic head of the Royal Academy of Science (Jim Broadbent), Fogg wagers he can circle the globe in 80 days, and he and Passepartout set off. As in the far more sophisticated 1956 film (worth renting), there are cameo turns -- Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Turkish prince is a fun one.
NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (PG, limited release, 86 minutes)
This nerdy and inventive independent comedy will appeal to teenagers who get oddball humor and empathize with outsider protagonists like the title character -- a gawky, uncool Idaho teen (Jon Heder) lumbered with a weird name, frizzled hair, dorky eyeglasses and zero charisma. Napoleon lives with his unemployed thirty-something brother (Aaron Ruell) and a macho poseur of an uncle (Jon Gries). He attends a high school where girls sneer and jocks beat him up. Then he befriends a new student, Pedro (Efren Ramirez), and helps him run for class president. Soon a girl (Tina Majorino) who likes Napoleon joins their campaign and the trio get a taste of belonging and success. Despite the PG rating, the movie includes a farmer's off-camera shooting of a cow, witnessed by kids, as well as muted forms of sexual innuendo, crude humor and profanity. Clearly, "Napoleon Dynamite" is better geared to teenagers.
THE TERMINAL (PG-13, 128 minutes)
Director Steven Spielberg creates an entire world inside the international terminal of an airport, where star Tom Hanks paints an immensely likable, slightly sentimental portrait of a man without a country. "The Terminal" is no epic, but it has great charm and good humor.Teenagers who like character-driven stories and have curiosity about world affairs should enjoy the tale of Viktor Navorski, a nice guy from a (fictitious) former Soviet republic who arrives at New York's JFK International Airport and learns his country has had a military coup and his passport is no good. He's stuck at the airport and this maddens the chief bureaucrat (excellent Stanley Tucci). Navorski becomes a folk hero, befriended by a melting pot of workers (Chi McBride in baggage, Diego Luna in catering, Zoe Saldana in immigration) and romanced by an unlucky-in-love flight attendant (Catherine Zeta-Jones in a cliche-laden role). A mild PG-13, "The Terminal" contains profanity, sexual innuendo and an intense arrest scene.