THE SKELETON KEY (PG-13, 104 minutes)
Illogic and unintentional laughs mar this Southern gothic thriller, and teen audiences will likely be unimpressed and unspooked. Kate Hudson plays a hospice nurse who takes a job at an old plantation house in a remote district south of New Orleans. In treating a speechless stroke victim (John Hurt), she becomes suspicious that his wife (Gena Rowlands) may be dabbling in folk magic, or hoodoo (different, the film tells us, from voodoo, which is a religion). Hudson has long hair in some scenes and shorter hair in others, but that is the least of the movie's jarring inconsistencies, poorly masked by stylized camera moves and little editing effects.
"The Skeleton Key" remains iffy fare for middle schoolers. Brief instances of violence include a flashback to a double lynching, an attempted strangulation and badly broken legs. There are animal skulls, a preserved fetus of indeterminate species and the chopping up of a newly killed bird. Briefly implied toplessness, rare profanity, drinking and smoking also earn the rating. Occult themes may incur religious objections.
DEUCE BIGALOW: EUROPEAN GIGOLO (R, 77 minutes)
This gross, fraternity prank of a movie plays like one endless dirty joke. Its sexualized slapstick makes "There's Something About Mary" seem positively genteel. Though geared to high school and college boys (and containing, one grudgingly admits, the odd belly laugh), "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" is not for those younger than 17. The film contains profane, explicit sexual language, less graphic but equally lewd verbal and visual sexual innuendo, as well as toplessness and rear nudity. There are countless organ jokes, graphic descriptions of sex acts, homophobic slurs, and running gags about deformities, mental illness and a prosthetic leg. Characters smoke pot and discuss giving it to kids. Muted violence is the only low-key element, but there is one brief view of a victim's charred face.
"Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" updates 1999's "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo," with Rob Schneider back as the sweet but clueless Deuce. A fish tank cleaner who worked briefly as a gigolo to pay off a debt in the first film, Deuce is working as a "fish expert" until a mishap involving dolphins and old folks gets him fired. His pimp pal, T.J. (Eddie Griffin, doing the stereotype), urges him to fly to Amsterdam and work as a gigolo again. While trying to figure out who is murdering the gigolos of Europe, Deuce meets a nice girl (Hanna Verboom) who has many phobias.
THE GREAT RAID (R, 132 minutes)
In an earnest, rather plodding way, "The Great Raid" tells a fact-based tale of bravery and comradeship in World War II that harks back to a gentler era of moviemaking. High school history buffs may find it fascinating. The movie reenacts a daring rescue mission in January 1945, when American and Filipino troops freed more than 500 starving American soldiers from a brutal Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines. The too-handsome cast tries hard to embody the era's stoicism -- Benjamin Bratt as the lieutenant colonel who oversaw the raid, James Franco as the brainy young captain who planned it, Joseph Fiennes as an officer in the prison camp, sick, but trying to keep his men bucked up. Actual newsreel footage of emaciated prisoners and piled-up bodies is graphic, but the film's own dramatizations are intense, not gory. One early scene shows Japanese soldiers burning American prisoners alive. There are beatings, point-blank shootings and hangings, in addition to battle footage during the raid. The dialogue includes mild profanity, a crass line of sexual innuendo and use of the wartime slur for Japanese people.