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So Dan, what’s new at the movies this weekend?

HEY LOOK! IT’S BACK!

Yup, after a week away, the world’s number one reference guide to what’s new in theatres this weekend is back!

Well, maybe not the world’s Number One, but I know we are right up there…

Either way, four flicks to get to, so let’s get to the flicks!

First up is the story of a slacker who has an extended 7 year stay in University. His motto?: Don’t graduate. Celebrate. In the end National Lampoon’s Van Wilder is exactly what you think it is going to be. The plot is merely an excuse for a series of stupid physical gags of the scatological variety, numerous shots of naked coeds and plenty of scenes in which Van flaunts his devil-may-care attitude in the face of various authority figures. Some work, some don’t. It’s not great, but it has a few laughs.

Not as many as Sorority Boys which came out a few weeks ago, but it has a few laughs!

Unfortunately Big Trouble doesn’t have as many laughs as either of those films, which is a shame because the cast includes Tim Allen, Rene Russo, Stanley Tucci, Omar Epps, Dennis Farina, Ben Foster, Janeane Garofalo, Jason Lee, Tom Sizemore, Zooey Deschanel, Johnny Knoxville, Heavy D, Sof√Ća Vergara and Patrick Warburton.

Delayed in the wake of September 11th due to a “bomb on an airplane” plot device, Big Trouble proves that when director Barry Sonnenfeld flopped with “Wild Wild West” it wasn’t a once in a lifetime blunder.

In the end Big Trouble is a mess. It’s not fun, frantic or off-the-wall. It tries to be an amalgamation of “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Two Days in the Valley,” and “Dumb and Dumber” but it comes up short, real short. With that cast and a director who’s made “Get Shorty” and “Men In Black” I expected more. I wanted to laugh, but I didn’t. Is that my fault, or the fault of the film?

You’ll have to make the decision to decide for yourself on this one.

Whereas with High Crimes you’ll go, and you’ll like it, if you are a fan of Ashley Judd or Morgan Freeman. With these star’s films, it always seems to be that plain and simple.

If you aren’t a specific fan of the lucious Ms. Judd or the reliable Mr. Freeman, but like crime thrillers, let me just say this about High Crimes: Unfortunately its a cinematic misdemeanor. A routine crime thriller remarkable only for its lack of logic and misuse of two fine actors, although Ashley Judd, as always, looks great! Coming from Carl Franklin, a usually meticulous and smart director, the movie is strangely sloppy, with bad editing and generic characters. Sorry!

But, did I mention, that Ashley Judd looks splendiferous? Well she does!

And so do both of the leads in the marvelous Kissing Jessica Stein.

Jennifer Westfeldt (Yeah, I never heard of her either) is the titular Jessica who, after a series of terrible blind dates with lousy men, decides to answer a “Women Seeking Women” personal ad.

Helen (Heather Juergensen- Nope, not heard of her either), on the other hand, is bisexual. Her primary partners are men, but there are times when she feels in the mood for female companionship.

And in true cinematic fashion, our heroines get together, but all is not smooth sailing, and thus you have a 96 minute movie.

In this day and age the smart romantic comedy occurs so infrequently that it has obtained an almost mythical status, sort of like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Kissing Jessica Stein is one of those uncommon movies.

The movie is not perfect, but neither is love (That’s deep Dan), so just let it unfold and enjoy!

Enjoy the popcorn too and I’ll see you at the movies!