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On the screen

STARTING THIS WEEK

BIG DADDY -- The king of lowbrow comedy, Adam Sandler, stars in this farce about a dimbulb thirtysomething who adopts a boy to win back his girlfriend. Joey Lauren Adams ("Chasing Amy") and Jon Stewart co-star. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, slapstick violence). (Broadway; Carmike 12; Century; Creekside; Gateway; Holladay; Midvalley; Redwood, with Baby Geniuses"; Reel; Ritz; South Towne.)

FOOLISH -- Urban comedy loosely based on the experiences of former standup comedian Eddie Griffin (from TV's "Malcolm and Eddie"), who stars as a young comic struggling to eke out a living. Rapper Master P co-stars. R (profanity, vulgarity, violence, nudity, sex, racial epithets). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.)

LIMBO -- Acclaimed independent filmmaker John Sayles ("Lone Star," "Men with Guns") wrote and directed this drama about three people stranded in the remote Alaskan wilderness. David Straithairn, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Kris Kristofferson star. R (profanity, violence). (Exclusive, Trolley Square.)

THE RED VIOLIN -- Episodic drama from director Francois Girard ("Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould") following the owners of the title object, a supposedly cursed musical instrument. Stars include Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Schacchi, Don and Jason Flemyng. In English, Italian, French, German and Cantonese, with English subtitles. R (sex, nudity, profanity, violence, drug use, vulgarity). (Exclusive, Trolley Square.)

THE SWINDLE -- The latest from French filmmaker Claude Chabrol ("La Ceremonie") is a blackly comic thriller about two scam artists (Isabelle Huppert and Michel Serrault) playing a cat-and-mouse game over a valuable briefcase. In French, with English subtitles. Not rated, probable R (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity, ethnic slurs). (Exclusive, Tower.)

SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT -- This big-screen, feature-length, animated comedy (based on the cult cable-television series) promises even more crude antics from the foul-mouthed cartoon characters. Among the stars providing guest voices are George Clooney, Minnie Driver and Eric Idle. To be reviewed when it opens next week. R (vulgarity, profanity, violence). WILD WILD WEST -- "Men in Black" director Barry Sonnenfeld and star Will Smith reteam for this big-budget, big-screen adaptation of the cult 1960s television series. Co-stars include Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek and Kenneth Branagh as the villainous Dr. Loveless. To be reviewed when it opens next week. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, partial nudity). ZEUS & ROXANNE -- HH -- The title characters are, respectively, a dog and a dolphin, who engage in "interspecies communication" and ensure a grant for marine biologist Kathleen Quinlan. But the dominant story is a silly romance between Quinlan and Steve Guttenberg, as contrived by their respective children. PG (violence, profanity). (Valley Fair, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.) (Jan. 29, 1997) -- Chris Hicks

FRIENDLY PERSUASION -- HHHH -- Superb story of close-knit Quakers holding onto their religious convictions when the Civil War breaks out and threatens to tear the family apart. With first-rate performances from a stellar cast -- Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, Anthony Perkins, Marjorie Main, et al. Made before ratings (1956), probable G. (Avalon.) -- Chris Hicks

ANALYZE THIS -- HH -- This mob comedy starts well but gets too frantic. Billy Crystal stars as a psychologist who reluctantly treats a panicky crime lord (Robert De Niro). De Niro has fun spoofing his earlier roles, but it's too violent and crude. R (profanity, violence, vulgarity, sex, partial nudity, ethnic slurs). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (March 5, 1999)

AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME --H1/2 -- Less funny and far cruder sequel to the 1997 surprise hit "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." Mike Myers reprises his role as the title character, but the only real laughs come from his performance as would-be world dictator Dr. Evil. PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, nudity, profanity, sex). (Carmike 12; Century; Crossroads; Holladay; Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Blast from the Past"; Ritz; South Towne; Trolley North.) (June 11, 1999)

BABY GENIUSES --H1/2 -- The adult performers (who include Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd and Kim Cattrall) look embarrassed to be in this dumbbell kiddie comedy about superintelligent toddlers who escape a secret lab. Think "Baby's Day Out," on an even louder, stupider scale. PG (violence, vulgarity, profanity). (Redwood, with "Big Daddy"; Sugar House; Valley Fair.) (March 12, 1999)

BLAST FROM THE PAST --HH1/2 -- Another fish-out-of-water comedy for Brendan Fraser, who stars as a man who emerges from a fallout shelter after 35 years. The first hour's too slow, but Fraser and Alicia Silverstone are appealing together. And the supporting cast is a hoot, especially Dave Foley ("A Bug's Life"). PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Redwood, with "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.") (Feb. 12, 1999)

THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN -- HH -- A surprisingly uninvolving adaptation of Jacquelyn Mitchard's best seller about a couple (Michelle Pfeiffer and Treat Williams) reunited with their kidnapped son _ who now has no memory of them. Too superficial, and Pfeiffer's too-aware performance hurts. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Kaysville.) (March 12, 1999)

DOUG'S 1ST MOVIE -- HH -- A half-hour of "Doug" is about as much "Doug" as anyone, of any age, can reasonably be expected to withstand at a time. But the success of "The Rugrats Movie" has apparently convinced those who should know better that "Doug" is ready for its multiplex close-up. G (animated violence, vulgarity). (Kaysville.) (March 26, 1999) _ Gene Seymour, Newsday EDtv -- HHH -- Despite the comparisons, "The Truman Show" was a chillingly observed allegory, while "EDtv" is a lighthearted fable. And it's something else: a witty look at what it's like to go public. PG-13 (sex, partial nudity, profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Sugar House.) (March 26, 1999) _ Frazier Moore, Associated Press ELECTION -- HHH -- Too crude at times, this funny satire is still a much-needed comeback vehicle for Matthew Broderick, who stars as a teacher too involved in school elections. Some very witty observances about modern-day politics, and Reese Witherspoon is terrific as the school's star student. R (sex, profanity, vulgarity, nudity, drug use, violence). (Cinemas 5.) (May 7, 1999)

ENTRAPMENT -- HH -- Lack of chemistry between the leads is only one of several problems with this good-looking but dull thriller starring Sean Connery as an aging jewel thief being pursued by an insurance investigator (Catherine Zeta-Jones) posing as a fellow thief. PG-13 (violence, profanity, nudity, drug use). (Century; Creekside; Gateway; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Notting Hill.") (April 30, 1999)

FORCES OF NATURE -- HH -- Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock are OK together, playing a nervous groom-to-be and a free spirit thrown together by circumstances. But the plot for this comedy leaves them nowhere to go, and the ending is a downer. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, drug use, violence, partial nudity). (Kaysville, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (March 19, 1999)

THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER -- HH -- Well-acted but convoluted and exploitative thriller starring John Travolta as a U.S. Army officer investigating the death of the title character. And the style-over-substance direction doesn't help. R (violence, rape, profanity, nudity, sex, gore, torture, vulgarity, racial epithets). (Broadway; Carmike 12; Century; Gateway; Holladay; Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Payback"; Reel; Ritz; Sandy 9.) (June 18, 1999)

GO -- HHH -- This comedic thriller, which follows some young Los Angelenos during the course of a fateful Christmas Eve, is without socially redeeming values, yet it's still a thrill ride as most of the characters get their well-deserved comeuppances. R (profanity, violence, sex, nudity, drug use, vulgarity, racial epithets, gore). (Sugar House.) (April 9, 1999)

HIDEOUS KINKY -- HHH -- The plot's a bit suspect, but this adaptation of Esther Freud's semi-autobiographical novel is still a beautiful-looking drama featuring "Titanic" star Kate Winslet as a single mother who takes her two daughters with her as she searches for love and spiritual enlightenment in '70s-era Morocco. In English and Moroccan, with English subtitles. R (nudity, profanity, violence, drug use, brief gore). (Exclusive, Tower.) (June 19, 1999)

INSTINCT -- HH -- Even a terrific lead performance by Anthony Hopkins can't salvage this dull thriller about a gorilla expert imprisoned for murder. And the numerous swipes from other, better movies (including "The Shawshank Redemption") certainly don't help. R (violence, profanity, gore). (Century; Creekside; Midvalley; Redwood, with "The Mummy"; Ritz; Sandy 9.)

THE KING AND I -- HH -- Some decent performances of the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs, but this animated musical takes too many liberties with the story and even resorts to ugly racial stereotyping. Best used as an introduction for kids to the real thing. G (animated violence, vulgarity). (Sandy Starships, Valley Fair.) (March 16, 1999)

LIFE -- HH -- Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence have surprising chemistry in this uneven comedy about two men serving life sentences in prison for a murder they didn't commit. Unfortunately, the plotting is too ambitious, while much of the humor is still too lowbrow. R (profanity, racial epithets, violence, vulgarity, brief gore). (Brewvies, must be 21 or older; Sugar House; Valley Fair.) (April 16, 1999)

LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS -- HHH -- Violent, gory and yet refreshing British comedy/thriller about four would-be hustlers who turn to crime to pay off a huge gambling debt. A bit slow to start and some of the dialogue is indecipherable, but the humor works and the ending is gripping. R (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity, torture, nudity, drug use). (Brewvies, must be 21 or older.) (March 19, 1999)

THE LOVE LETTER --H1/2 -- An awful vanity piece for Kate Capshaw (a k a Mrs. Steven Spielberg), who stars as a middle-aged bookstore owner who finds an anonymous piece of mail that complicates her love life. Virtually laughless, and there's no chemistry between any of the cast members. PG-13 (sex, profanity, nudity, vulgarity). (Sandy 9.) (May 21, 1999)

THE MATRIX -- HHH -- Confusing and long but thrilling cyberpunk film starring Keanu Reeves as a computer hacker recruited to become a part of an underground resistance movement. Great special effects and action scenes overcome the murky plotting. R (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity, drug use, torture, brief nudity). (Century, Cottonwood, Midvalley, Sandy 9.) (March 31, 1999)

THE MUMMY -- HH -- Don't expect too much from this special-effects driven action/thriller. Brendan Fraser is good as an adventurer who accidentally frees the title character, but there's too much goofy humor and the first hour's a snore. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, nudity, mild profanity). (Century; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Instinct"; South Towne; Trolley North.) (May 7, 1999)

MY FAVORITE MARTIAN --H1/2 -- The 1960s television sitcom gets the "Dr. Dolittle" treatment with this idiotic comedy, which stars Jeff Daniels as an earthling who hides an extraterrestrial (Christopher Lloyd) in his home. Neat special effects, but there are flatulence gags galore and the ending is troublingly violent. PG (violence, vulgarity, nudity, mild profanity). (Kaysville; Redwood, with "Tarzan"; Sandy Starships.) (Feb. 12, 1999)

NEVER BEEN KISSED -- HH -- Drew Barrymore pours on the charm again in this comedy about a shy newspaper reporter who goes undercover as a high school student. Unfortunately, the script isn't funny, and the geek-to-chic storyline doesn't work at all. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, drug use, violence, partial nudity). (Sandy 9.) (April 9, 1999)

NOTTING HILL -- HHH -- Funny but at-times foul-mouthed reunion for the "Four Weddings and a Funeral" team, including Hugh Grant, playing a bookstore owner who woos a movie star (Julia Roberts). Good chemistry helps, as do the jabs at the entertainment industry. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, partial nudity). (Carmike 12; Century; Crossroads; Holladay; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Entrapment"; Reel; Ritz; South Towne; Trolley North.) (May 28, 1999)

OCTOBER SKY -- HHH -- A genuine family drama, adapted from Homer Hickam Jr.'s autobiographical novel "Rocket Boys." Young star Jake Gyllenhaal is terrific as Hickam, who escaped life in coal country to become a NASA engineer. And Chris Cooper and Laura Dern lend terrific support. PG (profanity, violence, vulgarity). (Cinemas 5, Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Feb. 19, 1999)

THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS -- HH -- A case where the performers make the material better, this remake of Neil Simon's 1970 comedy is marred by sexually oriented material. But Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn are charming, and John Cleese is a real hoot in a supporting role. PG-13 (vulgarity, sex, profanity, drug use, violence) (Cinemas 5, Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 2, 1999)

PAYBACK -- HHH -- It's too violent, but this thriller from "L.A. Confidential" screenwriter Brian Helgeland also features Mel Gibson's best performance in a while. He stars as a thief who seeks vengeance on his former partner and his mob employers. Not for the squeamish. R (violence, profanity, gore, torture, nudity, sex, drug use, racial epithets, vulgarity). (Redwood, with "The General's Daughter"; Sugar House; Valley Fair.) (Feb. 5, 1999)

THE PRINCE OF EGYPT -- HHH -- Marred by some "Cliff Notes" storytelling, this ambitious, animated retelling of the Book of Exodus is still powerful. The cast of vocal talents, including Val Kilmer as Moses and Ralph Fiennes as Rameses, helps, as does some dazzling animation (especially the breathtaking "Parting of the Red Sea" scene). PG (animated violence). (Sandy Starships.) (Dec. 18, 1998)

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE -- HHHH -- There's finally a film that "does" Shakespeare right _ this clever comedy follows the romantic misadventures of the famous playwright, who is having trouble writing until he finds a muse (Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow). Intelligent writing and the great cast also help. Winner of seven Academy Awards. R (sex, violence, nudity, vulgarity, profanity, torture). (Brewvies, must be 21 or older; Cottonwood.) (Dec. 25, 1998)

SHE'S ALL THAT --H1/2 -- This bland, ugly-duckling comedy for teens features a mismatched pair of leads _ Freddie Prinze Jr., as high school heartthrob, and Rachael Leigh Cook, as an oddball he makes over on a bet. It also compounds the problem by throwing in some crass gags and awful performances. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, bikini babes, violence, brief sex). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Jan. 29, 1999)

SLC PUNK! -- HH -- Dumb counterculture comedy from former Salt Lake resident James Merendino, about punk-rock slackers during the late '80s. And though Matthew Lillard brings the right amount of intensity to his role, the material isn't nearly funny or thought-provoking enough. R (profanity, violence, drug use, sex, vulgarity, gore, nudity). (Brewvies, must be 21 or older.) (April 16, 1999)

STAR WARS: EPISODE ONE _ THE PHANTOM MENACE -- HHH -- Not nearly as bad as the initial reviews would indicate, the long-awaited first installment of George Lucas' prequels is a bit icy but still thrilling look back at the early life of Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) as he joins his fellow Jedi knights, including Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). Great effects and action help it overcome some slow spots. PG (violence, vulgarity). (Carmike 12, Century, Cottonwood, Gateway, Midvalley, Reel, Ritz, Sandy 9, Trolley Corners.) (May 19, 1999)

TARZAN --HHH1/2 -- Surely the best big-screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle tales since the early Johnny Weissmuller films, this cartoon adventure/musical rivals many of Disney's best in terms of animation and story. Voices include Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Glenn Close and Rosie O'Donnell. G (animated violence, mild vulgarity). (Carmike 12; Gateway; Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "My Favorite Martian"; Reel; Ritz 15; South Towne; Trolley Square; Villa.) (June 19, 1999)

TEA WITH MUSSOLINI -- HH -- A disappointingly uneven comedy/drama from director Franco Zeffirelli, who based it on some of his own experiences growing up in World War II-era Florence, Italy. And a terrific cast, which includes Oscar winners Cher, Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, really hams it up. In English and Italian, with English subtitles. PG (profanity, violence, nudity). (Exclusive, Trolley Corners.) (June 19, 1999)

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU --HH1/2 -- Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" gets the "Clueless" treatment with this too-crude but still somewhat appealing teen comedy about a sullen high school student who is persuaded to woo his hard-to-get classmate. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, nude drawings, violence). (Cinemas 5.) (March 31, 1999)

THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR --H1/2 -- Some good visuals, but this science-fiction thriller is also a half-baked noir piece about a programming genius who creates an alternate reality on a computer chip _ one that becomes frighteningly real when he is accused of murder. Awful performances and even worse writing doom things. R (violence, profanity, brief gore). (Cinemas 5.) (May 28, 1999)

TWIN DRAGONS -- HH -- Certainly not one of Jackie Chan's best, this dumb action-comedy (which was originally released in 1992) stars Chan in two roles: as twins who were separated at birth. A couple of exciting action scenes, but the comedy is pretty lame. Dubbed. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, partial nudity). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 9, 1999)

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM -- HHH -- A star-studded attempt to make the Bard accessible to the masses again, which benefits from genuine laughs and well-timed comedic performances from Kevin Kline and Stanley Tucci. PG-13 (nudity, sex, mild profanity, vulgarity). (Midvalley, Sandy 9.) (May 14, 1999) -- Dainon Moody THE WINSLOW BOY -- HHH -- Playwright-turned-director David Mamet still hasn't solved all his filmmaking problems, but his newest big-screen work is a mostly rewarding drama, adapted from the fact-based stageplay by Terence Rattigan about a young cadet who is accused of stealing in 1911 England. Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam and Rebecca Pidgeon star. G (mild vulgarity). (Exclusive, Broadway.) (June 19, 1999)