Comedy

[5.0] Gwyneth Paltrow stars as the title character in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Emma Woodhouse takes it upon herself to be a matchmaker for all her friends and neighbors. While her interference tends to do more harm than good, Emma fails to notice that her own opportunity for courtship may be just under her nose. Director Douglas McGrath (Nicholas Nickleby) abides by Miramax …

[6.0] Julie Andrews, William Holden, Richard Mulligan, Robert Preston, and Robert Webber star in Blake Edwards’ (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Thoroughly Modern Millie) ensemble comedy about a film producer who goes suicidal after his latest G-rated family film turns out to be a bomb. Desperate to turn things around, he decides to reshoot the film, making it more erotic and promising the public the lead star …

[6.5] Writer/director Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck, Glee) brings Augusten Burroughs’ memoir to the big screen. Joseph Cross plays young Burroughs, a thirteen-year-old whose emotionally unstable mother hands him off to her therapist. Running with Scissors is primarily about Burroughs trying to fit in at the therapist’s bizarre household while learning to accept that his mother will never be what he needs her to be. Annette Bening …

[5.0] Two kinda dorky college boys end up sharing a room with two more savvy guys during spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The guys become friends in their pursuit of beer and women, all while one boy’s politician step-father hunts him down for fear of bad press. As far as ‘horny vacationing student’ movies go, you could do better or worse than Spring Break, …

[4.5] Tim Burton’s big-screen adaptation of Dan Curtis’ cult TV show Dark Shadows wants to be a comedy about a vampire transplanted from centuries past into the 1970s. That movie – one that focused on the vampire’s relationships with his surviving relatives, perhaps gaining their trust by helping them financially — could have been a good one. And thirty minutes into the movie, it looks …

[8.0] Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott) leads an all-star ensemble in this surreal, satiric look at the breakdown of suburban existence. The Chumscrubber is an ambitious conceptual piece, not unlike American Beauty in tone and style. But where American Beauty centered on one character’s shaky morality and lost me, The Chumscrubber stems more confidently from one of my favorite thematic tropes — human beings’ desperate need …

[6.0] Kevin Kline headlines this comedy about a small-town Indiana drama teacher whose life is turned upside down when a student ‘outs’ him in his Academy Awards acceptance speech. At first the funny thing is that Kline’s character isn’t gay. In fact, he’s betrothed to Joan Cusack. But as the big wedding approaches, Kline meets a gay news reporter (Tom Selleck) and begins to realize… …

[5.5] Director Lasse Hallström (The Shipping News, Chocolat) serves up a fluffy, romantic, period piece comedy centered around the antics of legendary lover Casanova in Venice. Heath Ledger plays the promiscuous hero, who early in the film receives a mandate from the ruler of Venice to get married or leave Venice forever. So Casanova goes in search of a wife, beginning a second act rife with mistaken …

[7.0] Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, Killing of a Sacred Deer) brings his off-kilter humor to this dark period-piece comedy about a poor but clever scullery maid (Emma Stone) who ingratiates herself to England’s ailing Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) with intentions of replacing the Queen’s longtime confidante and political proxy (Rachel Weisz). You can think of it as a quirky retelling of All About Eve. The …

[6.5] Paulette Goddard leads an ensemble cast in this telling of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. Goddard plays the conniving Mrs. Cheveley, arriving in London from abroad, with the intent to blackmail a politician into publicly supporting a dubious financial venture for her benefit. The politician’s wife and playboy best friend rally behind him and together they each try to outwit the fiendish Cheveley. There’s …

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