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"Highlander: Endgame," "Chuck & Buck," "Whipped"

Quick Flicks

!B! "Highlander: Endgame"!B! "Chuck & Buck"!B! "Whipped"!B! "Butterfly"!B! "Saving Grace"

"Highlander: Endgame" — OK, I admit being a big fan of the first "Highlander" movie. Sean Connery. Clancy Brown. Even Christopher Lambert. I also admit watching an episode or two of the TV series with Adrian Paul. While certainly not a devout fan of this dark fantasy about sword-clanging immortals who can only die if beheaded by another immortal, I like it enough to be disappointed with each lackluster sequel. Even with Paul joining forces with Lambert to battle the latest evil immortal (a scenery-chewing Bruce Payne) with world domination on his mind, "Endgame" sucks. The story is shapeless and tedious; the dialogue, comically bad; and, the action scenes, often illogical.

"Chuck & Buck" — Designed to make the viewer squirm, this oddball character study is guaranteed to offend as many people as it charms. Some will feel that it tries to make a stalker sympathetic. Others will see it as an attempt to prove homosexuality is merely a form of arrested development. Still others will feel they share zero common ground with its characters.

What it wants to be is a tale of a lost soul who recovers from emotional disaster by turning his pain into art. The quality of that art isn't nearly as important as finding a way out of the crisis. Scripted by Mike White ("Freaks & Geeks"), who also gives a terrific performance as Buck, the movie looks at how childhood friends and pastimes can shape the adults we become. To the extreme, of course. You see, Buck is a 27-year-old who lives on lollipops, has never had a job, and hasn't gotten over the loss of his pal Chuck, whose family moved away when the boys were 11. Since the boys' favorite activity was sexual experimentation, Chuck is the only love Buck has known. After his mother dies, Buck shows up in Los Angeles where Chuck is a somewhat successful movie producer with a fiancée. When Chuck refuses to pick up the friendship where it left off, Buck writes and stages a play (called "Hank & Frank") based on their childhood relationship.

Shot on a limited budget and on videotape — which shows — "Chuck & Buck" is daring and oddly inspiring. But it's not for everyone.

"Whipped" — Part "Swingers" meets "Diner" by way of "There's Something About Mary" — except not nearly as clever, entertaining or well-acted, you're either gonna love it or loathe it. The best things it has to offer? Amanda Peet and a tantalizing girl-power twist to the age-old theory that men rule when it comes to love and playing games. This latest gross-out sex comedy about three overheated twentysomethings who join a fourth — but married— buddy every Sunday for eggs, waffles and a graphic review of their date-night activities. Unfortunately, none of the guys is remotely worth caring about. Equally unfortunate, none of the actors is worth remembering. It's all about their candid, sex talk and being a "playa." Until all three meet Peet and want to date her. Then the sparks really fly. Definitely not for the sensitive romantic.

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