Excess Hollywood

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The Pink Panther
Starring: Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Beyoncé Knowles and Jean Reno
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Written by: Len Blum, Steve Martin, Michael Saltzman and Glen Bloomberg
What it's about: A new take on Peter Sellers' surpassingly incompetent French detective in which Jacques Clouseau (Martin) tackles a case combining a murdered soccer coach, a priceless diamond, and the usual selection of beautiful women.
Why it will be fabulous: It takes les grandes balles for Martin to assail the rich life and high art of Inspector Clouseau.
Why it will be dreadful: Can The Jerk out-bumble Peter the Great? The smart money says non.

Opening August 12

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Starring: Rob Schneider and Eddie Griffin
Directed by: Mike Bigelow (a newcomer hired purely for his surname, apparently)
Written by: Rob Schneider and David Garrett & Jason Ward (Corky Romano)
What it's about: Sequel to the comedy that introduced the phrase "man-whore" into the wider lexicon. This time, Schneider's hapless Deuce is tricked into prostituting himself in Amsterdam, as more-experienced hookers are being murdered.
Why it will be fabulous: The first one was surprisingly amusing . . .
Why it will be dreadful: Amusing films are a rarity in the Rob Schneider canon.

Four Brothers
Starring: André 3000, Tyrese, Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Directed by: John Singleton
Written by: David Elliot (The Watcher) and Paul Lovett
What it's about: Four adopted brothers team up to find out if their mother was murdered, and if so, to get revenge. Inspired by the John Wayne Western The Sons of Katie Elder, and updated to modern-day Detroit.
Why it will be fabulous: Ejiofor and Andr 3000 have shown a lot of promise as actors.
Why it will be dreadful: Aside from Boyz N the Hood, Singleton really isn't all that great.

Opening August 19

Red Eye
Starring: Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Ex-Xena and Buffy scribe Carl Ellsworth
What it's about: An airplane passenger with a fear of flying (McAdams) is blackmailed by her seatmate (Murphy) into becoming his accomplice in a murder plot. She has until the plane lands to try to stop him without endangering her fellow passengers or her father, who's held hostage by Murphy's allies.
Why it will be fabulous: Carl Ellsworth writes well about smart, butt-kicking chicks.
Why it will be dreadful: It already was dreadful back when it was called Turbulence and starred Lauren Holly.

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Bill Gallo
Luke Y. Thompson
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky