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"Big Momma's House," "Michael Jordan to the MAX" "Mission Impossible 2" and "Shanghai Noon"

Quick Flicks

!B! "Big Momma's House"!B! "Michael Jordan to the MAX"!B! "Mission: Impossible 2"!B! "Shanghai Noon"

"Big Momma's House" — Its humor and sunny tone keep this Martin Lawrence gender-bending comedy from being a drag. Swathed in a ton of foam and latex, Lawrence plays an FBI. agent who goes undercover as a septuagenarian Southern granny in order to catch a thief. But the real catch is his target's girlfriend, the lovely Nia Long. Fans of more tasteful and subtle comedies won't have much patience with the humdrum plot or the movie's stereotypes and frequent lapses into political incorrectness. But if you can appreciate humor that goes no deeper than a man in a dress pretending to be an overweight granny, "Big Momma's House" is good enough.

"Michael Jordan to the MAX" — When it comes to contemporary sports heroes, no one seems more larger-than-life than NBA superstar Michael Jordan. So who better to get the large-screen IMAX treatment? Fans of both the game and the man will find plenty to like about "Michael Jordan to the MAX," but they'll also leave wanting more.

The focus is the 1998 NBA playoffs, with Jordan still sporting the Chicago Bull's No. 23. Along the way, however, the 45-minute movie turns into more of a pep talk to his young fans about perseverance and digging deep when the going gets tough than any kind of "real" look at the man. Since the movie's major funding came from a Jordan joint venture, that's no surprise. While watching Jordan as he jumps, scores and catches some serious air — magnified several stories high — everything else seems unimportant.

"Mission: Impossible 2" — Tom Cruise returns as Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt who must stop a greedy terrorist (Dougray Scott) from releasing a deadly virus. To help him catch his man, Cruise enlists the help of Thandie Newton, a professional thief and the terrorist's ex-girlfriend.

Though Robert Towne's script is anything but inspired, in the hands of action-master choreographer and director John Woo, the movie becomes a thing of rare beauty.

"Shanghai Noon" — Kung Fu funnyman Jackie Chan moves his fish-out-of-water schtick to the Old West with delightful effects. As an Imperial Guard on a mission to rescue Princess Pei-Pei (Lucy Liu with little to do), Chan's greenhorn hooks up with hapless outlaw Owen Wilson. All of Chan's trademark style is on display here, with nice tongue-in-cheek humor from Wilson. If you've avoided Kung Fu movies in the past, this could be the one to change your opinion. It's silly, sweet and fun.

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