'11 Minutes,' 'Madea' In Jail, 'Fired Up'

What are critics saysing about three new films? 11 Minutes is a documentary that follows the first winner of the TV show Project Runway. Tyler Perry's latest is Madea Goes To Jail. And Fired Up is a teen sex romp at cheerleading camp.

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ALEX COHEN, host:

While Hollywood gears up for the Academy Awards, the film industry also has a few new releases for you to watch this weekend. Here with what the critics thought of these films is Mark Jordan Legan with Slate's Summary Judgment.

MARK JORDAN LEGAN: The movie studios are a bit distracted because of the Academy Awards, though the films released today are kind of like those kids whose parents don't really supervise them: a little wild, a little strange, kind of ragged around the edges. The hugely successful writer/director/actor Tyler Perry has another comedy opening, with his popular grandma character, Madea, getting in trouble with the law in "Madea Goes to Jail."

(Soundbite of movie "Madea Goes to Jail")

Mr. TYLER PERRY: (As Madea) I guess nobody told you that I'm Madea, Muh, to the damn D-E-A. You understand that? And what I want I get.

LEGAN: Tyler Perry didn't make his film available to critics in advance, but his films are pretty much critic-proof. He has a loyal audience, and I'm sure Madea will make enough money to post bail.

For those of you wondering when the next great cheerleading movie was coming out, well, maybe "Fired Up" is the answer to your prayers. Two high-school jocks drop football and decide to go out for cheerleading for no other reason than to score with all the lovely ladies at cheer camp.

(Soundbite of movie "Fired Up")

Ms. ANNALYNNE MCCORD: (As Gwyneth) I just hope one day, there's a special cheer camp where squads like yours really have a shot.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DANNEEL HARRIS: (As Bianca) Shut up.

Ms. SMITH CHO: (As Beth) Truth hurts, doesn't it?

Ms. HAYLEY MARIE NORMAN: (As Angela) Your face is going to hurt.

Ms. NICOLE TUBIOLA: (As Marcy) Does your face hurt when you stuff it with shepherd's pie?

Ms. NORMAN: (As Angela) You wish you had my body image.

LEGAN: The nation's critics certainly don't feel like cheering. The Chicago Tribune shrugs, "I didn't half-mind 'Fired Up,' but half a mind is more than it deserves," and the Hollywood Reporter says, "It's like being trapped for an hour and a half in a pound full of yapping puppies."

And for you "Project Runway" fans, in limited release is the documentary "11 Minutes," which chronicles the year-long struggle of Jay McCarroll to get his first major runway show ready in time for New York's infamous fashion week. McCarroll was the "Project Runway" winner in its very first season.

(Soundbite of movie "11 Minutes")

Unidentified Woman: Why did it take you so long to be on your first show?

Mr. JAY MCCAROLL (Fashion Designer): You know, I got thrown into this situation. Basically, I was, like, kind of outed on national television, like, you're a designer now; go do it. And that's why you have that attitude of, why did it take so long? And I think people watching "Project Runway" are a bit misled...

LEGAN: "11 Minutes" will get at least 15 minutes of fame. The reviews are good. "Charming and unexpectedly perceptive," cheers the Village Voice; Variety calls it "a skillfully crafted, highly entertaining documentary;" and the Los Angeles Times applauds, "lively and suspenseful." You know, I dabble in fashion design myself, and in fact, here at NPR, I dress all the ladies. In fact, Madeleine and Alex are both wearing my works. Madeleine is in a silk, floral-print ball gown, and Alex has a corseted evening dress dusted with silver and blue beads. Ah, too bad it's radio because they look fabulous.

(Soundbite of laughter)

COHEN: I do. I look absolutely fantastic, thanks to Mark Jordan Legan. He's a stylish writer living in Los Angeles.

(Soundbite of music)

COHEN: Day to Day is a production of NPR News, with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Alex Cohen.

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