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Reviews of "Bicentennial Man," "Stuart Little" and "Deuce Bigalow"

Quick Flicks

!B! "Bicentennial Man"
!B! "Stuart Little"
!B! "Deuce Bigalow"

"Bicentennial Man" - Robin Williams updates Pinocchio as a robot who wants to be all he can be. Partially based on a story by Isaac Asimov, "Bicentennial Man" has an interesting premise at its heart: a robot's personal 200-year journey to become human. But the mawkish, dawdling manner in which it is told undermines that provocative core.

Although Williams gets to show off his touchy-feely, funny side, the movie bogs down in sheer insipidness. The kids will enjoy the visual wizardry of Williams as Andrew the robot, but director Chris Columbus has chosen to give Williams a supporting cast that appears more robotlike than his character. And while the screenplay deals with such issues as the morality and rights of artificial entities, the definition of humanity, and the desire for immortality, director Columbus paints himself into a corner. Whenever one of these thought-provoking themes threatens to take center stage, Columbus opts for either a "cutesy" moment or a bit of emotional pandering. As wonderful as Williams is as this Teletubby Tinman, he's not enough to give "Bicentennial Man" the heart, brain or courage it needs.

"Stuart Little" - Boomer parents who remember E.B. White's classic with fondness will be put off by this contemporary update. Despite impressive animation, and ample doses of heart and humor, this "Little" is a little too slick.

Instead of relying on White's magical classic, the filmmakers have taken that very '90s route — turning "Stuart Little" into a feel-good, Hollywood movie. Their first departure — having Stuart be adopted, not "born" into the Little family. As Mom and Dad Little, Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie, respectively, have little to do other than fret, fume and worry about their new son. Most of the worry comes from the family feline, Snowball (voiced wonderfully by Nathan Lane). Things start percolating when two other mice show up claiming to be Stuart's (voiced by Michael J. Fox) birth rodents.

Technically top-notch, this "Stuart Little" has its own charms, it's just that they pale in comparison to the original. For those unlucky enough never to have read or heard White's 1945 tale, this will be an entertaining bit of family fare. For those who remember the pleasures of the original, this commercial retelling will be a bittersweet experience.

"Deuce Bigalow" - One of the better movies starring a "Saturday Night Live" alum, "Deuce Bigalow" features Rob Schneider as a fish-tank cleaner by trade who gets no respect. Yeah, kind of Rodney Dangerfield in training. When he screws up while house-sitting for one of his clients he has to come up with six G's pronto. Taking a page from his client, as well as a call from one of his lady friends, our Deuce decided to try his hand at being a gigolo.

Getting a visual picture? Good, 'cause that is the extent of the running joke. Our lovable doofus has a variety of harrowing, laughable experiences as a gigolo to some of the world's most pathetic females. If Tourette's Syndrome is inherently funny to you, then you'll enjoy this marathon of moronic, but not mean-spirited, slapstick.

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