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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

JULY 17, 2000: 

ME, MYSELF AND IRENE. I fear that the end of the line has come for gross-out comedies, as Me, Myself and Irene exhausts every combination of bodily fluids in an effort to eke out one more disgusted laugh. The Farrelly brothers, who brought us the sine qua non of gross-out films, There's Something About Mary, reach the bottom in trying to top themselves in this intentionally revolting tale of a Rhode Island State Trooper (Jim Carrey) who must escort a beautiful young woman (Renee Zelwegger) past a gauntlet of evil police officers and corrupt golf course owners. If you feel that you must see what kind of comedy can be eked out of breast milk, sputum and the rectal insertion of chicken heads, then this is the film for you. If, like most of those who dwell above ground, you've had about enough of that, then I'd suggest staying home and renting some Three Stooges comedies--they're just as stupid, but you won't be forced to watch anyone defecate. --James DiGiovanna

THE PATRIOT. Roland Emmerich, the genius who gave us 1998's unwatchable Godzilla, here uses all his smarts to turn the Revolutionary War into a revenge fantasy. Mel Gibson plays the highly believable non-racist Southern plantation owner whose Black farm hands are all "freed men." Somehow Emmerich makes it seem like the British are being evil when they come to liberate slaves from their benevolent masters, and that such actions warrant the brutal extermination of all the English troops in the colonies. Imagine something with the intellectual depth of a Schwarzenegger action film, only with everyone wearing ponytails or powdered wigs, and with the machine guns replaced by muskets, and you'll get a sense of how bizarre The Patriot is. As an added bonus it's nice to note that it's based on a true story, only in real life the man portrayed by Mel Gibson was renowned for raping his slaves and hunting Native Americans for sport. --James DiGiovanna

THE PERFECT STORM. It's like all the digital forces colliding in this dizzying disaster movie sucked more or less all of the chemistry out of the human element, but in a way that's a relief. Synapses can only fire so many times in the span of 129 minutes, and the white-knuckled, jaw-clenching anxiety of this unbeatable battle with hurricane Grace in the North Atlantic makes life seem far more precious than that tired, salty love story between Mark Wahlberg and Diane Lane, anyway. George Clooney pilots this adaptation of the true tale of six Glouster fisherman who set out in the fall of 1991 and find themselves caught in the storm of the century. For those with recurring nightmares about the sea, The Perfect Storm has a little of Jaws and The Poseidon Adventure brought by Industrial Light and Magic into the 21st century. Not much to recommend the screenwriting, but plenty of tension and technical mastery. Also starring Mary Elizabeth Mastratonio and John C. Reilly (Magnolia's gun-losing boy in blue). --Mari Wadsworth

X-MEN. Purists will undoubtedly find finer points to quibble with, but this comic-book-to-live-action film was the first of its kind to meet all my eye-candy expectations while seeming to remain true to the good, uncomplicated concept of good versus evil. It also serves as a primer for the X-Men uninitiated, introducing this modern monster fable through a series of vignettes that converge mid-film to reveal the impending war for and against mankind, as waged by rival scientists and their respective armies of genetic mutants. Creator Stan Lee (who makes a cameo appearance as a hot-dog vendor) roots his X-men adventures in the time-honored tradition of free will, creating a dichotomy between superhero and supervillain that adheres faithfully to the concept that the world is what we make of it, for better or worse. Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects), it stars Patrick Stewart as benevolent genius Professor X; Ian McKellen as nemesis Magnito; and, among others, Anna Paquin, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Ray Park (respectively as empathic Rogue, steel-clawed Wolverine, weather-controlling Storm, laser-eyed Cyclops, telekenetic Dr. Jean Grey, the shape-shifting Mystique and prehensile-tongued Toad). Its unambiguous ending suggests the X-Men franchise might well emerge--in morality tale and special effects spectacle--as the Star Wars trilogy of the double-ought decade. --Mari Wadsworth

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