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has it really been two decades since walter matthau coached the bad news bears ?
nineteen years and two mighty ducks later , the formula is still going strong .
police academy graduate steve guttenberg stars as a small-town deputy sheriff corralled into co-coaching the school's hastily formed soccer team .
his partner-in-crime is the new british " exchange teacher " ( olivia d'abo ) , a lively lass who has obviously seen dangerous minds and knows that the best way to gain the respect of a disinterested , outer-city audience is to teach them something neat .
like soccer .
most of the good-natured gags are of the fast-motion variety , such as runaway cows and out-of-control lawnmowers .
kids will laugh at the occasional belching bit , while their parents peacefully doze beside them .
other than letting a supporting character named newt go unscathed , what's missing from the big green is a better integration of music and comedy .
instead of a peppy pop score , which would arguably work to better effect , most of the action is set to a bombastic orchestral score that belongs somewhere else .
comedy needs music .
just watch any old bugs bunny short .
the marx brothers knew it .
mel brooks knows it .
unfortunately , the current trend is to " overscore . "
lush strings and booming brass in every scene , at every moment .
remember the simple strains of bizet's " habanera " in the original bad news bears ?
these days , it's usually a bellowing fanfare that threatens to smother every scene in its path .
much like adding frosting to already frosted cake .
an awfully big adventure ========================
the reteaming of director mike newell and star hugh grant is about as far removed as you can get from the lightsome comedy of four weddings and a funeral .
their second collaboration is a downbeat theatrical drama about a young intern ( georgina cates ) struggling to survive in post-w . w . ii
liverpool .
hugh plays the gay director , an * extremely * unappealing character who may alienate whatever fans are left after the nonsense of nine months .
bleak make-up and thick accents conspire to make this a difficult story to settle into .
an awful adventure is not without * some * rewards , tho .
the peter pan subtext is intriguing .
as is the diverse ensemble cast that includes peter firth , alan rickman , and prunella scales .
basil !
devil in a blue dress =====================
the comparisons to chinatown are easy enough , except for the fact that this film isn't nearly as gripping .
writer/director carl franklin ( one false move ) is the force behind this accomplished-but-stiff adaptation of walter mosley's crime novel .
denzel washington is as sturdy as ever , but he's burdened with a miscast supporting cast .
tom sizemore and scene-stealer don cheadle are both fine .
the problems start with jennifer beales , who never registers as the plot's femme fatale .
she's a pretty face and nothing more .
also underweight are maury chaykin and terry kinney .
they play opposing mayoral candidates in 1948 los angeles and neither actor commands enough authority to stifle giggles .
john huston , we miss you !
fine period detail and a strong sense of humor are a plus .
they help to overcome a pace that's too polite for mosley's jazzy , swingin' story .
steal big , steal little =======================
i can't say much about this one .
director andrew davis follows the fugitive with a wildly unfunny farce about twin brothers ( andy garcia ) with opposing moral codes .
they're fighting over their adoptive mother's estate , a 40 , 000-acre ranch worth millions and supporting dozens of migrant farm workers .
so many different plots are trying to come together--feuding brothers , reconciling husbands , loan-shark hired hitmen--that you have to admire the director's ambition .
too bad that almost every single person or plot-line is out of sync .
that is , with the exception of alan arkin .
he's the best thing in a movie that--despite the work of four credited writers-- * still * manages to waste such diverse talents as david odgen stiers , kevin mccarthy , and joe pantolinao .
and what the heck does that title mean ?