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Slate's Summary Judgment: 'Deuce Bigalow; European Gigolo,' 'The Skeleton Key,' 'Grizzly Man'


This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

A new summer weekend is upon us. Many of you may be heading to the movies, but which films are worth your time? Take a clue from Slate's Summary Judgment, our weekly digest of what critics are saying about the new releases. Here's writer Mark Jordan Legan.


First up in wide release, we have the supernatural thriller "The Skeleton Key." Kate Hudson stars as a private nurse who comes to care for an old man who lives in a decrepit Louisiana mansion. And before you can say `Ignore that locked room upstairs,' well, you know how nosey private nurses are. Peter Sarsgaard and John Hurt also star.

(Soundbite of "The Skeleton Key")

Ms. KATE HUDSON: (As Caroline Ellis) I noticed in the bathrooms also there are no mirrors.

Unidentified Woman: Child, when you get as worn out and wrinkled as we are, you don't need any reminding. If you wanna small one for your own purposes, that's fine with me.

Ms. HUDSON: (As Ellis) What did you do with them?

Unidentified Woman: Put them away.

LEGAN: Most of the nation's critics say sell the creepy mansion and move to a nice condo. Even though the LA Times finds it `tightly plotted and suspenseful enough to keep you guessing,' the majority of the critics find the movie dull and by the numbers. The BBC warns that `only die-hard Hudson fans or desperate horror junkies will find "The Skeleton Key" worth unlocking.'

Next up in limited release is the acclaimed "Grizzly Man." Legendary director Werner Herzog's new documentary is about Timothy Treadwell, a self-made naturalist who tried to live among Alaska's grizzly bears, an obsession that eventually cost him and his girlfriend their lives

(Soundbite of "Grizzly Man")

Mr. TIMOTHY TREADWELL: No one ever friggin' knew that there are times when my life is on the precipice of death and that these bears can bite; they can kill. And if I am weak, I go down. I love them with all my heart; I will protect them; I will die for them. But I will not die at their claws and paws. I will fight; I will be strong; I'll be one of them. I will be the master.

LEGAN: The critics rave about this documentary. `A mesmerizing work of disturbing power and unease,' says Entertainment Weekly. The Christian Science Monitor finds it `brilliant, poetic and utterly unique.' And The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shouts, `Whatever you finally conclude about Treadwell, Herzog is made a one-of-a-kind movie.'

Speaking of one-of-a-kind movies, we close with "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo." Yes, that's right. All of you who went to the first "Deuce Bigalow" movie back in 1999 and walked saying, `But what happens to this fascinating Deuce Bigalow character?'--well, apparently, he goes to Europe. And, yes, at first it might seem it's a lot of the same jokes, but this time he's in Europe!

(Soundbite of "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo")

Mr. EDDIE GRIFFIN: There go one of my ho's.

Mr. ROB SCHNEIDER: (As Deuce Bigalow) The old guy in the walker is one of your ho's?

Mr. GRIFFIN: Yeah, the one who ...(unintelligible) his butt out there for making me my money. Kaiser, get back in the boat! They act like they never seen a pimp before.

LEGAN: This comedy is pretty much the worst-reviewed movie of the summer, not that teen-aged boys are clamoring to hear what David Denby has to say. The Chicago Sun-Times snips, `Aggressively bad, as if it wants to cause suffering to the audience.' The Arizona Daily Star moans, `Bodily fluid sees enough screen time to earn a supporting actor credit.' And The Washington Post howls that `it feels less like a celebration of anarchic smut then a joyless entry in a gross-out contest.'

You know, I just have to say, I'm tired of gigolos being used for cheap movie laughs. As a former gigolo who worked exclusively in Europe, all I remember is the glamour, the champagne and the Scrabble. That's right, you heard me: the Scrabble.

CHADWICK: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer and a man with a past living in Los Angeles.

DAY TO DAY returns in a moment. I'm Alex Chadwick. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mark Jordan Legan
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