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Film Clips

Capsule reviews of films currently playing in Charlotte

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DEFINITELY, MAYBE When it comes to a worthy romantic comedy, Definitely, Maybe certainly isn't fool's gold (or Fool's Gold) – on the contrary, it's the real deal, a diamond in the rough that could use some polishing but overall sparkles with warmth and wit. Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin (suddenly more overexposed than fellow moppet Dakota Fanning) plays Maya Hayes, a precocious child whose parents are getting divorced. While staying with her father Will (Ryan Reynolds), Maya begs to hear how he and her mother met, so he turns the bedtime story into a mystery, changing all the names and leaving Maya to guess which of the women from his past ended up becoming his wife. As he details his escapades during the early 1990s – as a fledgling political consultant for the Clinton campaign – he presents three possibilities: his college sweetheart Emily (Elizabeth Banks), his campaign co-worker April (Isla Fisher), and his reporter friend Summer (Rachel Weisz). By casting three comparably drop-dead-gorgeous actresses in sympathetic and intelligent roles, writer-director Adam Brooks keeps the mystery going longer than might be expected; still, the focus isn't on the identity of Mom as much as it's on Will's romantic travails as he keeps sorting out his shifting feelings for these women as they repeatedly enter his life over the years. Affable Reynolds manages to keep pace with his gifted leading ladies, while an unbilled Kevin Kline makes a welcome appearance as a literary boozehound with an eye for young college girls. ***

FOOL'S GOLD Lord, what fools these Hollywood mortals be! Here they further denigrate the standing of the romantic comedy by presenting this waterlogged flick about bickering ex-spouses on the prowl for sunken treasure off the Florida Keys. In a reunion that no one was exactly clamoring for, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson play Finn and Tess; he's an irresponsible beach bum who's skilled at running up debts, while she's a level-headed lass who's forced to take a job on the yacht of millionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland). Despite finalizing their divorce mere hours earlier, Finn talks Tess into joining him once again on his never-ending quest for 18th century Spanish booty; they persuade Honeycutt to finance their endeavor, but they're working against the clock since murderous rapper-turned-mobster Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart) also has designs on the riches. Eye candy abounds in Fool's Gold: Many women will enjoy the sight of McConaughey taking off his shirt at regular intervals, some men will gaze at the bronzed Hudson sporting teeny bikinis, and ocean lovers (that would include me) can ignore the lame plot at the forefront in favor of concentrating on the shimmering beauty of the water (a modest saving grace also found in After the Sunset and Into the Blue). But the direction (by Hitch's Andy Tennant) is uninspired, the script is bubbleheaded, and the bland leads continue to disprove the notion that some measure of movie-star charisma is required to make it as a romantic draw. Old pro Sutherland provides some lift, but the real spark comes from Alexis Dziena as Honeycutt's trust-fund daughter; she takes the tired character of the young ditz and miraculously makes her funny. *1/2

JUMPER This fantasy flick may be based on the novel by Steven Gould, but while watching it, I felt like I had jumped back in time to 1986 and was again catching Highlander during its original theatrical run. Jumper is Highlander for a new generation: a cheesy, globetrotting film certain to be savaged by most critics, but also a mindlessly entertaining yarn likely to lead to a string of sequels and/or TV adaptations. Hayden Christensen, still struggling with that wooden aspect of his acting, plays David Rice, a kid who discovers he has the ability to "jump" to any location on the planet in a matter of seconds. In a nice if cynical twist, David doesn't use his powers to benefit mankind; instead, he's too busy robbing banks to finance a lifestyle generally reserved for the rich and famous. But his partying days come to an end once he encounters Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), a member of a secret society ("Paladins") which has spent centuries trying to wipe out all jumpers. David receives some helpful pointers from a more seasoned jumper (Sean Connery's regal Highlander role, here re-imagined as a surly punk played by Jamie Bell), but they may not be enough to prevent Roland from drawing David's innocent girlfriend (Rachel Bilson) into the fray. As a heady piece of sci-fi philosophy, Jumper burrows no deeper than the ends of the eyelashes, as director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and scripters David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg are content to make a movie that offers little more than surface thrills. But on that level, Jumper is a fairly effective action tale, with some nifty effects and enough international locales to power a few Bond installments. **1/2

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