April 8, 2005 — -- Now in theaters: "Kung Fu Hustle," "Sahara" and "Fever Pitch."
Kung Fu Hustle
Stephen Chow, China's biggest comedy star since Jackie Chan, goes after the master himself in "Kung Fu Hustle," a parody of every silly martial arts movie you've ever seen -- and every silly martial arts move you've ever seen.
Chow uses computer graphics to create a living cartoon. He's invented a new form of martial arts where you hurt from laughing. It's like Looney Tunes come to life. And that's not all folks: It isn't for young kids. Grade: A-
In "Sahara," Matthew McConaughey, Penélope Cruz and Steve Zahn are wisecracking their way through adventures in West Africa. Think of Indiana Jones along for the ride with Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope in "Road to Morocco." The gags aren't just Hope-ful, they're Hope-worthy.
They'll find gold. They'll save the world. What they can't do is mix edge-of-your seat action and slapstick gags. It's Movie 101. You can't laugh at characters when you're afraid they're in real jeapardy. James Bond can give us a giggle but he can't do Pink Panther schtick. "Sahara" didn't get the memo and tries to do both.
When Zahn isn't around, "Sahara" is, well, Hope-less. They should have stuck with the jokes. Still, "Sahara" has enough to get noticed, and the family-friendly PG-13 rating that helped make "National Treasure" a surprise hit doesn't hurt. Grade: B-
Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore star in the best Farrelly brothers film since "There's Something About Mary." And that's something.
Fallon plays an insane Boston Red Sox fan. He sleeps on Red Sox pillows, wears Red Sox jerseys. Barrymore tells him, "Your apartment looks like a gift shop." He fell in love with the Sox when he was a kid, what kind of chance does she have?
At one game, she gets hit by a foul ball and knocked unconscious. He's too busy congratulating the guy who caught the ball to notice.
Yes, they fall in love. It's the ultimate boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, team-loses-pennant love story that asks the question: Can love conquer all -- even the curse of the Bambino?
Barrymore is so good other actors may accuse her of taking steroids. Jimmy Fallon's the weak spot in this lineup. But movies are a team sport, and this movie did the near impossible. It made me root for the Red Sox. Grade: B