THE DEAL (R, 107 minutes)
In Harvey Khan and Ruth Epstein's movie, which could send the most acute insomniac into deep, snoring oblivion, Christian Slater plays Tom Hanson, a Wall Street investment banker investigating the mysterious death of a corporate buddy, among other things, and trying to jump-start his ailing career. In doing so, he uncovers terrible things: a global conspiracy! Shady dealings in boardrooms! Illegal oil trafficking! Government coverups! But he also learns this: Women just love him! No matter whom he meets, they eye him up and down, and can't wait to sleep with him! The reason for Tom's phenomenal effect on women? Slater's an executive producer! If Slater were a bigger star, this self-serving vehicle would have been a hoot, a surefire DVD attraction for any Camp Night in the living room, not to mention a shoo-in for one of the 10 worst movies of 2005. As it is, this movie, which features Selma Blair, John Heard, Angie Harmon, Colm Feore and Robert Loggia in roles you just don't want to waste time hearing about, should disappear from public view almost immediately. Pretend it didn't happen and maybe it'll go away. Contains violence, obscenity and bad dialogue. Loews Cineplex Dupont Circle.
-- Desson Thomson
DEEP BLUE (G, 90 minutes)
It's almost inevitable that this documentary about the sea follows the post-"Fantasia" tradition of making wild animals seem to perform to classical and other evocative (sometimes comical) music by composer George Fenton. Ah, yes, the balletic, choreographed and wonderfully scored wonders of nature, who swim, waddle, flap and float for our armchaired delectation. Narrator Pierce Brosnan adds to the museum-auditorium sense of wonder, as he issues voice-over poetry about the mysteries of the deep. But despite filmmakers Alastair Fothergill and Andy Byatt's Hallmark-ization, it's still amazing to behold the astounding creatures who lurk in, float on or swoop into the big, old blue ocean. Some of my favorites, as seen here anyway, include the Emperor penguins that fly out of the frigid water to make belly surf landings on polar caps; and the alien-like pods and other things that frequent the way-way deep of the ocean. There are also the cool sharks, the killer whales that flip their adversaries into the air and kill them; the adorable but deadly polar bears swimming through freezing seas; and so many more. This is as good a visual treat as you and your kids can expect. I mean, without having to reach for 3-D glasses. Contains nothing objectionable except the cruelties of nature. At Cineplex Odeon Dupont Circle.
-- Desson Thomson
THE PERFECT MAN (PG, 96 minutes)
Based on the true story of Heather Robinson, who as a teenager invented an imaginary boyfriend for her single mom and conducted a romantic correspondence with her, "The Perfect Man" is creepy as heck. Not as creepy as the original story, to be sure, but creepy lite. Even Robinson, in an interview in Radar magazine, says she doesn't see how the film, starring the ever-insipid Hilary Duff as the 16-year-old daughter and Heather Locklear as her mother, could possibly be as dark as her own experience and subsequent temporary estrangement from her mother was. No, dark it is not. Try boring, however. As written by Gina Wendkos ("The Princess Diaries"), the movie doesn't even seem to know how disturbing, at its heart, its subject matter is, so that it can at least have fun with it. Instead, it turns the events of the plot -- in which meddling high schooler Holly Hamilton (Duff) enlists the assistance of her best friend (Vanessa Lengies), her best friend's hunky uncle (Chris Noth) and her own beau (Ben Feldman) in seducing her mother via gifts, photographs, phone calls, letters and e-mails Holly herself composes -- into a series of cutesy but flat-footed jokes leading up to a foregone romantic conclusion. And if you can't figure out how it's all going to work itself out 15 minutes in, you're just not paying attention. Not that I could blame you. Even Carson Kressley of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," making an inauspicious big-screen acting debut as a vain and flouncy bartender, wasn't enough to wake me from my stupor. Half of it was the result of progressively numbing amazement at this dysfunctional family, and the other half sheer and utter boredom. Contains a joke about flatulence and mildly suggestive humor. Area theaters.
-- Michael O'Sullivan