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March 11, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-11

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March 11, 2003






Continuing his middle aged slide into cine-
matic mediocrity, the once-brilliant Steve Martin
again frustrates and alienates old fans with his
new film "Bringing Down the House," a painful-
ly unfunny take on the played-out white/black
"odd-couple" formula. Long gone are the days
of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder teaming up
for classics like "Silver Streak;" now we're
stuck with the fading Martin and surprise Oscar
contender Queen Latifah ("Chicago").
Martin plays divorced tax attorney .Peter
Sanderson, a typical slice of workaholic subur-
ban white bread still pining away for his ex.
Desperate to start dating again, he meets what
he thinks is a blonde, Ivy League-educated
female lawyer in a chat room and strikes up an
online romance.
That's right, you guessed it - it's actually
Queen Latifah as Charlene Morton, a recently
escaped convict looking for help in clearing her
name of armed robbery charges she didn't com-
mit. Uber-WASP Peter wants nothing to do with
the in-your-face, street-smart Charlene. But sur-
prise of surprises, she nevertheless manages to
con her way intostaying with Sanderson, over-
coming his objections by posing as the nanny to
his estranged kids. In an even more original plot
twist, Pete's also wrapped up in landing a highly
conservative and wealthy elderly
client, who will brist if she crosses
paths with the brassy Charalene.
Meanwhile Peter's kids and his
friend/co-worker Howie (Eugene BRINGIN
Levy) are falling for Charlene, and THE H
- hoorah! - soon so is Peter. She
teaches him how to loosen up, he At Show
risks his neck helping her with her Qualm
case and soon all is right in the Touch
world. Double hoorah!
Audiences are less likely to be offended by the
deliberately anti-PC head butting between the


T kkss
The look-alike cast makes for a confusing composite.


y T:
' ' "'.'

o W B
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Got a condo made of stone-a ... Funky Tut!

courtesy of VULIIstoII

Pfeiffer haunts intriguing
'Oleander' on weak DVD


out-dated, rather bland racial stereotypes in the
film than by the sheer lack of laughs. The stale


'case and
ty 16

premise and plodding, predictable
plot carefully avoid making any-
thing resembling worthwhile satire.
Director Andrew Shankman ("A
Walk to Remember") utterly throws
away an opportunity to make a
scathing and humorous statement
on the pathetic stagnation of race
relations in America. The potential
of this talented cast is completely
squandered on this overextended

his collaborations with Christopher Guest ("Wait-
ing for Guffman" and "Best In Show") and as the
only decent part of the God-awful "American Pie"
movies, former "SC-TV" staple Eugene Levy
would steal the show if only he had been given
more screen time. Levy and Betty White, breaking
with her "Golden Girl" sweetness as a blatantly
racist neighbor of Peter's, are both tragically
underused. Truth be told, the film would have
been immediately improved by putting Levy in the
lead role. His attempts at romanticizing Charlene
are the sole moments of legitimate comedy.
The relentless inability of white and black cul-
tures to comprehend each other is ripe for a
smart, biting lampooning. This isn't it.

WB sitcom pilot.
Still running on the late career momentum from

Cultural dialogues precede RSC's 'Children'

By Katie Marie Gates
Daily TV/New Media Editor
The white oleander flourishes in
Los Angeles. It is a beautiful plant of
dense greenery spotted by white
petals when in bloom, yet it is
extremely poisonous. Ingrid Magnus-
son mimics its stunning grace and
cold reality in the
intriguing film "White
Oleander," based on the
novel by Janet Firth. WH
After what seemed OLEAD
like mother-daughter DV
bliss, Ingrid (Michelle
Pfeiffer), a beautiful lib- Picture/Sound
eral-thinking artist, and Movie: ***y
Astrid (Alison Lohman), Features: **
a sweet youth of 15, are
separated by iron bars as Warner
Ingrid is committed to
life in prison for killing an unrecipro-
cating lover. Astrid is consequently
moved from one foster home to the
next, searching for love and her own
identity while continually confined by
her mother's manipulation.
The young girl's journey leads her
to Starr (Robin Wright Penn), a hyp-
ocritical Christian who takes in chil-
dren as repentance for her many sins.
After conflict, Astrid moves to live
with Claire (Renee Zellweger), a
lonely actress in need of the love not
provided by her cheating husband.
Finally, Astrid finds a home, if one
could call it that, with a Russian
resale shop owner. Intermittently she


is forced to stay in a youth home
where she connects with another lost
soul, Paul Trout (Patrick Fugit,
"Almost Famous").
Lohman, though weaker than her
tenured counterparts, carefully crafts
the complexities of her character as she
transitions from one stage to the next,
each moving further from the young
girl once amazed by her
mother. Now, Ingrid
serves to deny her
ITE daughter's happiness
NDER with bitter remarks as
her jealousy grows with-
in the prison walls.
l: * **1Pfeiffer's portrayal is
chilling, overflowing
with selfishness and cru-
elty. Her character gives
Bros. new meaning to the idea
of a mother ruining a
child's life forever. Zellweger also per-
forms impressively and Penn's Starr is
humorously and skillfully depicted.
While the film is original, the DVD
package is not. It includes five odd
additional scenes, the standard com-
mentary by director, producer and
author and two behind the scenes fea-
tures. The small segments contain
few interesting facts and though each
has a different title, they seem to be
exactly the same, a frustrating
menagerie of too many video clips
and similar comments from the stars.
What really impresses is the gripping
story and visually imagery just as
easily experienced on VHS.


By Sarah Peterson
Daily Fine Arts Editor
During the first week of its resi-
dency, the Royal Shakespeare Com-
pany captured Ann Arbor. With
workshops galore and 10 totally
exquisite performances of "Cori-
olanus" and "The Merry Wives of
Windsor," it seemed as if Shake-
speare himself was walking about the
streets of campus.
Upholding their reputation of
excellency, this week promises to be
just as exhilarating as the last. The
RSC has packed the week full of
many interesting talks and work-
shops, and on top of everything, this
Wednesday marks the opening night
of the world renowned, U.S. debut of
Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Chil-
dren" (newly adapted for the stage).
The debut performance will be at the
Power Center at 7:30 p.m., followed
by a post performance reception.

The excitement begins Tuesday,
however, with two scheduled talks.
The first is a round table discussion,
from 4-5:30 p.m. at Rackham Audi-
torium, entitled "All the World and
the Stage: The Theatre and a Global
Audience." This discussion will look
at how "Midnight's Children," as a
play, spans cultural divides. Some
questions to be discussed are, "To
what extent can values of one culture
and era be translated into another
cultural context, with other decora,
and retain their power, authenticity
and pertinence?" and "Can there be a
global theatre?"
Tuesday's events continue at 7:30
p.m., also at Rackham Auditorium,
with a public interview with Salman
Rushdie entitled "Indian History,
Politics and the Making of 'Mid-
night's Children."' This interview
will highlight Mr. Rushdie's thoughts
and opinions on a broad spectrum of
topics, ranging from the media to

intellectual freedom, free speech,,
politics, religion and family life.
Prior to the performance Wednes-
day evening, there are two more
opportunities to attend discussions
connected to the play. At 11 a.m.,
Rushdie will again be at Rackham
Auditorium to participate in a public
interview and reading. This program,
entitled "The Literary Rushdie" will
include a talk with Rushdie about his
body of work, and he will personally
read an excerpt from his canon.
Following the interview, the Inter-
national Symposium: "Knowing
South Asia: Reflections on the World
of Salman Rushdie," will begin at
1:30 p.m. This symposium "will
elaborate on the complex links
among nation, religion and diversity
in the writings of Salman Rushdie."
The RSC "Insight" on "Midnight's
Children," which will take place
from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Power Cen-
ter, will finish up the extra events

accompanying the play. This event
will entail a behind-the-scenes lec-
ture and demonstration on the Royal
Shakespeare Company's production
of "Midnight's Children."
To enable anyone who desires to
see the production, the RSC will be
performing "Midnight's Children" on
Thursday, Friday and Saturday at
7:30 p.m:, and on Saturday and Sun-
day at 1:30 p.m. All performances
are at the Power Center, and tickets
can be purchased through the UMS
ticket office or by calling 764-2538.

Dream it. Do it. Disney:

We're recruiting

on campus!

Univ. of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Monday, March 17, 2003
6:00 PM,Ballroom @ The League
Mark your calendars -All majors and all college levels invited.
This is your chance to go inside this world-famous resort,
build your resume, network with Disney leaders and
meet students from around the world.
Check out a Walt Disney World"* College Program paid
24-hour secured housing is offered.

Harvard University
Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics, Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering

College credit opportunities may be available.
Visit our website at wdwcollegeprogram.com
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