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PERIPHERAL VISIONS

The Snapper (R) (94 min.) _ In Irish pub slang, a "snapper" is a new baby, which is the last thing young, unmarried Sharon Curley (Tina Kellegher) expected. Not only is her condition upsetting her parents, but she won't identify the father, with good reason. Director Stephen Frears (The Grifters, Dangerous Liaisons) guides moviegoers through Sharon's situation with an agreeably light touch _ The Snapper is one of the most accessable foreign films to hit our shores in years _ and a roster of fine performances. Best of all is Colm Meaney (TV's Deep Space Nine), who is wonderfully gruff and caring as Sharon's father, Dessie, a sterling lesson in family values. At turns supportive and comically strained, Meaney's performance was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical. Written by Roddy Doyle, whose first novel adaptation, The Commitments, was a minor success two years ago. The Snapper is even more fun, a heartfelt, cheeky bundle of joy. Opens today at the Tampa Theatre and Movies at Pinellas Park. A-

Jamon, Jamon (Not rated, probably R) (90 min.) _ Outrageous, provocative, sick humor from Spanish filmmaker Bigas Luna, whose style could occasionally make countryman and peer Pedro Almodovar gulp in disbelief. Sexy Penelope Cruz stars as a betrothed woman whose scheming mother wants to break up the match. Virile Javier Barden is sent to distract Cruz, which is the beginning of a romantic trapezoid that incites prurient passion, double-crossing violence and, as the title's translation suggests, lots of ham. Tasteless to some, hilarious to others at last year's Cine-World Festival in Sarasota. If you aren't easily offended, Jamon, Jamon is quite the bizarre treat. Held over at Movies at Pinellas Park. B

Dazed and Confused (R) (97 min.) _ Don't miss your last chances to time-warp back to 1976 with the merry, marijuana-stoked kids of Lee High School. Richard Linklater's film has the look of an authentic 20-year-old documentary and the feel of a comedy classic. One of the 10-best films of 1993. Held over at Movies at Pinellas Park. A

_STEVE PERSALL

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