Arts & Life

Summary Judgment: New Movies

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In this week's roundup of what critics are saying about the latest movies, from the online magazine Slate, we hear about Mr. Bean's Holiday, Resurrecting the Champ, and The Nanny Diaries.


Back now with DAY TO DAY.

Maybe you're thinking of taking a movie in this weekend - what a smorgasbord. There's everything from Mr. Bean to boxers to nannies.

And here with the digest of what the film critics think of the newest releases is Mark Jordan Legan with Slate's Summary Judgment.

MARK JORDAN LEGAN: British comic actor Rowan Atkinson has had many successes, but his biggest seems to be Mr. Bean - a hit TV series, successful feature film back in '97, and now a sequel of sorts. The strange, clumsy, mumbling Bean is back, only this time wreaking havoc across France as he attempts to vacation in "Mr. Bean's Holiday."

(Soundbite of movie, "Mr. Bean's Holiday")

Unidentified Woman #1 (Actress): (As character) (French spoken)

Mr. ROWAN ATKINSON (Actor): (As Mr. Bean) Oui.

Unidentified Woman #1: (As character) (French spoken)

Mr. ATKINSON: (As Mr. Bean) Non.

Unidentified Woman #2: (As character) You speak very good French.

Mr. ATKINSON: (As Mr. Bean) Gracias.

LEGAN: Like with real beans, some people like it, others don't care for it. The Washington Post guffaws: delightful and deeply amusing. And the L.A. Weekly gives the faint praise: turns out to be far better than you'd imagine. But those who don't like it will agree with U.S.A. Today, which snarls: annoyingly unfunny.

Samuel L. Jackson stars with Josh Hartnett in the sports drama "Resurrecting the Champ." A young reporter looking for his big break meets a homeless wino who claims to have been a boxing champion back in the day.

(Soundbite of movie, "Resurrecting the Champ")

Mr. JOSH HARTNETT (Actor): (As Erik) You know what would be good for the story? If I could look at some of the stuff in your cart, see what you lug around every day, then I think it'd be really interesting for the article.

Mr. SAMUEL JACKSON (Actor): (As Champ) All right, we can do that - as soon as you take me to your house, let me go through all your personal stuff.

LEGAN: Like boxing judges at a title bout, the nation's critics are split. The Hollywood Reporter finds it compelling, with a knockout performance from Jackson. Packs a wallop, declares the Arizona Daily Star. But Entertainment Weekly says "Resurrecting the Champ" is full of speechy monologues and gooey sanctity. Take it from me, the one thing you don't want gooey is your sanctity.

And for you fans of the novel, "The Nanny Diaries" has finally reached the big screen. A tough, working class jersey girl ends up caring for the child of a rich and elite power couple on the fancy Upper East Side of Manhattan. Scarlett Johansson, Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney star.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Nanny Diaries)

Ms. LAURA LINNEY (Actress): (As Mrs. X) Let me apologize for my feral son.

Ms. SCARLETT JOHANSSON (Actress): (As Annie Braddock) Oh, no need to apologize. I love kids. I'm Annie.

Ms. LINNEY: (As Mrs. X) You're a nanny. Yeah, actually, I just lost my nanny. Oh my God, are you employed?

Ms. JOHANSSON: (As Annie Braddock) No, unfortunately, I...

Ms. LINNEY: (As Mrs. X) Fabulous.

LEGAN: Critics would rather watch endless tape of a nanny cam instead of "The Nanny Diaries." Variety cries: rarely rises above standard sitcom fare. The Chicago Readers scolds: deceptive and formulaic. And the L.A. Times sighs: plodding and generic.

Well, the parks near here are full of nannies and none of them look like Scarlett Johansson. Can you imagine how dull an actual nanny diary entry would be? Monday, went to park, kids threw sand and cried, came home, watched "Teletubbies," ate chicken fingers. Tuesday, went to park, and that's even leaving out the part where she goes through all your stuff, mocking your wardrobe. Yup, right now as I speak, somewhere a nanny is mocking a wardrobe.

BRAND: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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