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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Harrison Ford's new film opens today. It's called "Crossing Over," and it uses the stories of immigrants to weave a complex narrative. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan says that even if they'd kept the story simple, the movie would not have been very good.

KENNETH TURAN: "Crossing Over" will make you weep, but not for the reasons its makers intended. This heavy-handed fake-serious film offers crass manipulation in the place where honesty is supposed to be.

"Crossing Over" is convinced it's got something to say about the problems of immigration, but it just uses that issue as an excuse to put thuggish violence, lecherous nudity, and crude profanity on screen. Harrison Ford is "Crossing Over"'s biggest star. He plays a lonely agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement about to lead a raid on a Los Angeles factory.

(Soundbite of movie, "Crossing Over")

Unidentified Man (Actor): (As character) You better do it before they blow the lunch whistle.

Mr. HARRISON FORD (Actor): (As Max Brogan): All right. Let's go, compadres, let's do it.

(Soundbite of commotion)

TURAN: This raid ends up causing nothing but problems for Ford's character, which is about par for the course for this film. Other people in deep trouble include a Bangladeshi student who makes a passionate plea for understanding for the 9/11 bombers, a Korean boy who hangs with local gangbangers, and an aspiring Australian actress who will do anything to get a green card. As my mother used to say, no good will come of this.

"Crossing Over" sounds more promising that it is because of the involvement of name actors like Ford, Ashley Judd and Ray Liotta. Maybe those performers were seduced by the possibility of being in a film that said something worthwhile about an important national issue.

"Crossing Over" is nowhere near that film. It thinks it's about immigration, but in reality it's a ripped-from-the-headlines exploitation film of the most shameless sort.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times. You'll find many more reviews, including those of the indie films "Gomorrah" and "Two Lovers" at our Web site.

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