New movies this week
The gist: Five high school chums can't move past their teen years, so they get back together after their basketball coach dies to see what a mess their lives have become. But it's funny, see, because it's not about those losers you knew in high school. PG-13
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello and Maya Rudolph.
The buzz: With this cast, you can expect a few laughs and not much else. Like we're paying for Ibsen or something. "A pleasant, genial, good-hearted, sometimes icky comedy that's like spending a weekend with well-meaning people you don't want to see again any time real soon," the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert says.
Mother and Child
The gist: A serious movie about the effects of adoption — either giving a child away, being the child given away, or hoping to find a child that has been given away. R
Starring: Naomi Watts , Annette Bening, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits and David Ramsey.
The buzz: A dynamite ensemble cast staves off a few negative reviews to reap a lot of positive ones. "If nothing else, (director Rodrigo) Garcia's movie is a brave one, with its unflinching look at adoption, which — as overwhelmingly compassionate an act as it is — often leaves behind deep emotional scars," the New Orleans Times-Picayune says.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
The gist: A documentary about the comedian, who has had so many cosmetic surgeries we don't know if 77 is her age or the percentage of plastic in her body. R
Starring: Rivers (natch), Don Rickles, Kathy Griffin and Melissa Rivers.
The buzz: It may just make you like the woman. "She is by turns blue, bitter, hilarious, unbroken; a Hollywood-style portrait in infinite ambition. In that role, Rivers is unforgettable," the L.A. Times coos.
Knight and Day
The gist: Wednesday's release saw another installment in the now-endless genre of people ending up with secret agents/spies/assassins. Didn't The Killers teach us anything? PG-13
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace and Marc Blucas.
The buzz: Cruise has newfound popularity following the MTV Movie Awards, but reviews are uneven. "Despite its impressive pedigree and unshakable assurance, Knight and Day is nothing more or less than an average popcorn flick," the New York Daily News says. Then why was it released midweek?
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org