CityBeat grade: D
BLUE CRUSH-- The one positive surprise in an otherwise predictable summer belongs to director John Stockwell's likable surfing drama Blue Crush. Kate Bosworth is both pretty and believable as surfer girl Anne Marie. More importantly, Anne Marie's relationships with her younger sister Penny (Mika Boorem), and fellow surfers Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake), are emotionally honest and engaging. The film's core drama revolves around Anne Marie's decision to compete in the Pipe Masters surf competition, a macho contest that's unfriendly toward female surfers.
CityBeat grade: B
THE GOOD GIRL-- After a season of predictable summer blockbusters, director Miguel Arteta's small-town comedy, The Good Girl offers its share of surprises. In the film, Jennifer Aniston plays a frustrated housewife who tries to boost her life through an affair with a young man (Jake Gyllenhaal). In fact, the film's best surprise lies with Aniston's easygoing comic performance. She brings to Arteta's low-budget film a jolt of real-life drama and heartache. In another movie, Aniston would be the focus of a conventional farce. There would be slapstick gags and broad comedy. But Arteta, reuniting with his Chuck & Buck screenwriter Mike White, makes Good Girl into a human drama with its share of emotional challenges and lifelike storytelling. Good Girl makes you laugh and that's one of the best responses a film can hope for. -- SR (Rated R.)
CityBeat grade: A
SERVING SARA-- Elizabeth Hurley wiggles her trademark curves as Sara Moore, an Englishwoman married to a rich Texan (Bruce Campbell). Joe Tyler (Matthew Perry of TV's Friends) is the process server who delivers her divorce papers while she's visiting Manhattan. Together, they plan to scam Sara's oil-rich hubby and travel cross-country in order to do it. Reginald Hudlin (House Party, The Ladies Man) directs. -- SR (Rated PG-13.)
CityBeat grade: C
UNDISPUTED-- Wesley Snipes plays the cool-headed boxer who spends his time building towering pagodas out of toothpicks and glue. Ving Rhames is the Mike Tyson-inspired hothead who gets to bluster and bully his way through the movie. When they meet in prison for a boxing match, the result is meant to be explosive. Instead, veteran director Walter Hill manages to make Undisputed one of the more predictable action movies in recent memory. The story is fast-paced and appropriately gritty. Still, without any surprises, Undisputed fails to hold one's attention, despite its potential to be a modern-day exploitation picture. -- SR (Rated R.)