Phil Reeves

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Happy, Texas Review


OK
Since few people saw Drop Dead Gorgeous, Happy, Texas will likely not be remembered as the second beauty pageant comedy of 1999.

The lighthearted story of two convicted felons who break out of jail and find themselves impersonating a pair of gay pageant producers in the sleepy town of Happy, Texas, this film has a lot riding on what amounts to a one-joke concept.

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Catch Me If You Can Review


Excellent

Steven Spielberg's best movie in at least a decade, "Catch Me If You Can" is a capricious, invigorating, infectiously jaunty caper about one of the most extraordinary con men in United States history.

In the mid-1960s, Frank Abagnale Jr. passed himself off as an airline pilot and fooled Pan Am, as a doctor and got a job as a Georgia hospital's graveyard-shift emergency room manager, and as a lawyer, becoming an assistant prosecutor in Louisiana under the wing of his unsuspecting fiancée's father.

And when he was finally caught -- after cashing millions of dollars in bogus checks to boot -- Frank Abagnale Jr. was all of 20 years old.

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13 Going On 30 Review


OK

Jennifer Garner's chameleonic acting abilities have given veracity and weight to the outlandish goings-on in "Alias," the espionage drama that made her a hot commodity. In the C-grade, three-ring superhero circus of "Daredevil," she acted circles around Ben Affleck and added surprising emotional weight to her kung-fu butt-kicking performance. In just one scene as a come-hither high-priced hooker playing hard to get in "Catch Me If You Can," Garner made herself as memorable as Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

And now in "13 Going On 30," Garner follows Hanks' career template, proving herself a potential superstar in a magnetically ingenuous performance as Jenna Rink, a frustrated late-'80s 'tweenager who makes a careless wish around some "wishing dust" and wakes up 17 years later in the va-va-voom body and the chaotic career-girl life of herself at age 29.

Yes, it's basically "Big" with boobs (a physical attribute that has pubescent-on-the-inside Jenna Rink just tickled pink) -- and like its opposite-sex predecessor, this movie is fueled by the irresistible exuberance of its star's inner child.

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Election Review


OK

Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is the kind of obsessive,over-eager student whose arm shoots straight up in the air every time herteachers as a question -- any question. She's on 30 different pages inher yearbook. She's a preppie. She's a steamroller of determination, andshe's running for student body president of George Washington Carver High,so get out of her way.

Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) is a dedicated veteranhistory teacher and the student government adviser, but something in thisguy has just snapped. He's had it with the over-achieving Tracy and hedecides she must be stopped at any cost.

Such is the setting for "Election," a deliriouslysardonic and underhanded satire of politics and high school culture thatfollows McAllister's increasingly bizarre attempts to sideline Tracy'sfanatical presidential campaign.

Continue reading: Election Review

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