Jerry Zucker, who made his mark in Hollywood with the Airplane! movies is getting a bumpy ride from critics with his latest film, Rat Race. With some, he flies high. Richard Schickel in Time magazine, for example, writes that he resists going "all cosmic about an agreeably funny, well-made comedy designed for nothing grander than relief from the August heat." But, he writes, for the most part "it's a fine madness." Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times writes that the film is "the most old-fashioned, live-action comedy of the summer, and if you've seen its competition, you know that has to be a good thing." Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News gives the film four stars and concludes: "The movie is over in a breezy 112 minutes, but it may be another half-hour before your sides quit aching." Fittingly, Dave Kehr, Mathews' predecessor at the Daily News, who reportedly was fired for writing too many negative reviews, writes a perfunctorily negative review of Rat Race for the online CitySearch website. "This is one nasty movie," Kehr writes, "driven by a sadistic spirit and a complete contempt for its characters." Like most critics, Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal compares the movie -- unfavorably -- to Stanley Kramer's 1963 comedy extravaganza It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. "This ripoff ... has a few funny moments," he remarks, "but it's a sad sad sad sad example of what Hollywood is currently serving up ... as summer entertainment." Steven Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer calls the film "a true and scary dud," while Eleanor Ringel Gillespie in the Atlanta Journal concludes: "Most of the movie is more obnoxious than funny with jokes that are too broad or too stale or both."
From an artistic standpoint, it's easy to understand why Steven Spielberg declined to undertake a third trip to Jurassic Park.
He already let loose T-Rex on an unsuspecting San Diego at the end of 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park. What was left for Spielberg to tear apart?
So, he turned over the keys to Jurassic Park to director Joe Johnston, of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Jumanji fame.
Johnston, whose last film was 1999's criminally neglected October Sky, must be feeling some pressure. Trying to out-Spielberg Spielberg is hardly an enviable task. To an extent, Johnston succeeds. His Jurassic Park III is a slight improvement upon The Lost World--which is not exactly a compliment, considering that the rote Spielberg sequel failed to recapture Jurassic Park's sense of awe.
Thus far, all is well in Jurassic Park. The film opened Wednesday with a whopping $19 million. That's the second-largest Wednesday opening ever, behind Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace's $28.5 million in May 1999. It also ranks as the eighth largest first-day gross, and ranks favorably in comparison with The Lost World's $21.6 million opening day haul in May 1997.
It took another $11.5 million on Thursday, bringing its total to $30.6 million.
Still, Jurassic Park III has a lot to live up to. Jurassic Park grossed $357 million in 1993. The Lost World ranks as the No. 1 opener made $90.2 million during its four-day weekend. It eventually made $229 million, no mean feat even for a sequel to one of the high-grossing films of all time.
Despite the return of Jurassic Park's Sam Neill, and the introduction of a new adversary in the form of the spinosauraus, this second sequel is unlikely to scale the dizzying heights of its predecessors. It doesn't help that it faces stiff competition next week with the arrival of Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake. Still, Jurassic Park III should enjoy one of the summer's strongest openings--aided by its must-see factor and a speedy 90 minute running time--to rank as one of the year's mammoth hits.
Jurassic Park III's sole competition comes from Julia Roberts, who should have even more to smile about after this weekend. Her new romantic comedy America's Sweethearts, about two married movie stars trying to avoid a very public split during a press junket, represents a perfect alternative to watching dinosaurs feast on human flesh. Plus, Roberts' split from Benjamin Bratt should keep tongues wagging about art imitating life.
Roberts' 1999 Notting Hill --another film about a movie star's love life--proved irresistible to those who could not or did not want to see The Phantom Menace or The Mummy. Runaway Bride, Roberts' long-waited reunion with Pretty Woman costar Richard Gere and
director Garry Marshall, proved a late summer 1999 hit.
Audiences also might be eager for another Roberts romance, given her most recent departures from the lighthearted. Erin Brockovich managed to make a fortune and earn Roberts an Oscar in the process. This year's The Mexican teamed Roberts with Brad Pitt, but the pairing fizzled rather than sizzled. The Mexican stalled at $68.8 million, hindered by lousy reviews.
America's Sweethearts should benefit from the presence of Traffic star Catherine Zeta-Jones and her High Fidelity cohort John Cusack as the film's bickering couple. Billy Crystal, back in favor after 1999's Analyze This and this year's HBO offering 61*, wrote and co-stars. Given its star wattage, America's Sweethearts's could surpass Runaway Bride's $152 million gross.
The film could indicate whether former Disney chief Joe Roth's new company, Revolution Studios, is a force to be reckoned with. Its inaugural production, March's Tomcats, flopped. The Animal, another lowbrow comedy, managed to earn $54.4 million and solidified Rob Schneider's improbable status as a box office draw. But America's Sweethearts is Revolution's pedigree production, and its success or failure may speak volumes about the company's future. It also marks Roth's first time behind the camera since he directed 1990's Coupe de Ville, so no doubt he has more than a professional interest in the comedy's reception.
Expect Legally Blonde to put up something of a fight against America's Sweethearts, but it won't emerge the victor. Last weekend's surprising No. 1 film enjoyed a strong week, earning almost another $12 million from Monday through Thursday, bringing its seven-day total to $32.3 million.
The Reese Witherspoon comedy looks certain to be this summer's sleeper hit, just as the other bubbly teen offerings Clueless and Bring It On were in 1995 and 2000, respectively.
The thought of Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando chewing the same scenery ensured that The Score opened strong. The heist thriller managed to gross $26.4 million through seven days. Though it will take a hit, The Score should enjoy another strong weekend
and wind up as one of De Niro's most successful non-comedic hits in years.
The same won't be true of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. The $140 million CGI epic opened July 11 with a strong $5 million, but blasted into oblivion extremely quickly. Its total stands at a mediocre $23.1 million through nine days. Along with Evolution, Final Fantasy will surely rank as one of the summer's biggest flops.
Another major concern must be A.I. Artificial Intelligence. The Spielberg-directed version of Stanley Kubrick's futuristic Pinocchio project took a nasty tumble last weekend, dropping 63 percent to $5 million. Its total stood at $71.4 million through Tuesday. It is unlikely to hit $100 million.
Ironically, A.I. was pushed out of the Top 10 daily box office Wednesday by the Spielberg-produced Jurassic Park III. Though nowhere near a disaster on the scale of Always or Empire of the Sun, A.I.'s inability to connect with audiences--adult or children--must rank as a personal failure for Spielberg.
The disappointments continue to mount. Scary Movie 2 faded faster than expected. It had a second weekend of $9.5 million, dropping 53 percent. In comparison, Scary Movie did not drop to below $10 million until it's fourth weekend. Its total is now $57.3 million. Like A.I., Scary Movie 2 is unlikely to hit $100 million, but, given its modest $38 million budget, it should prove profitable.
Families, however, continued to find those fighting Cats and Dogs cute and cuddly. After two weeks, its total stands at $65.6 million. It has a distinct advantage of not facing any real competition until the Aug. 10 arrival of Osmosis Jones.
The release of Jurassic Park III comes at a time when Hollywood is facing the prospect of a long, hot and ugly summer. Many films, including Pearl Harbor, The Fast and the Furious and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, burn bright on the opening weekend, only to flame out almost immediately. Box office takings last weekend were $120.5 million, down from $153 million during the same period last year.
Jurassic Park III marks the start of four big weekends. Planet of the Apes--still reportedly unfinished, which is never a good sign--is the sole nationwide release on July 27. Whether Apes will render Jurassic Park III's dinosaurs extinct remains to be seen. Rush Hour 2 opens Aug. 3. A week later, Universal serves up American Pie 2.
The continuing success of the aforementioned is the only likely solution to Hollywood's long, hot and ugly summer.
Besides the elbow-rubbing and power mongering, let's not forget that the Sundance Film Festival is also about the films.
With that in mind, the annual indie film fest announced today its partial list of films for the 2001 powwow.
The lineup for three categories -- dramas, documentaries and the American Spectrum -- have thus far been announced, and other areas such as premiere, international films and short films will be announced Wednesday.
Films at the festival only compete in the dramatic and documentary categories. Top films coming out of Sundance in previous years include Ed Burns' "The Brothers McMullen" and last year's "Girlfight" from director Karyn Kusama.
The Sundance Film Festival takes place Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Utah.
In the meantime, here's the complete list of Sundance films in competition and in the American Spectrum.
"30 Years to Life," directed by Vanessa Middleton "American Astronaut," directed by Cory McAbee "The Believer," directed by Henry Bean "The Business of Strangers," directed by Patrick Stettner "The Deep End," directed by Scott McGehee & David Siegel "Donnie Darko," directed by Richard Kelly "Green Dragon," directed by Timothy Linh Bui "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," directed by John Cameron Mitchell "In the Bedroom," directed by Todd Field "L.I.E.," directed by Michael Cuesta "Lift," directed by DeMane Davis & Khari Streeter "MacArthur Park," directed by Billy Wirth "Memento," directed by Christopher Nolan "Scotland, PA," directed by Billy Morrissette "The Sleepy Time Gal," directed by Christopher Munch "Some Body," directed by Henry Barrial
"Chain Camera," directed by Kirby Dick "Children Underground," directed by Edet Belzberg "Dogtown and the Z-Boys," directed by Stacy Peralta "The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic," directed by George Butler "Go Tigers!" directed by Kenneth A. Carlson "Home Movie," directed by Chris Smith "Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton," directed by Susan Froemke, Deborah Dickson with "Albert Maysles Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind," directed by Stanley Nelson "The Natural History of the Chicken," directed by Mark Lewis "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey," directed by William Greaves "Scout's Honor," directed by Tom Shepard "Scratch," directed by Doug Pray "Southern Comfort," directed by Kate Davis "Startup.com," directed by Chris Hegedus & Jehane Noujaim "Trembling Before G-D," directed by Sandi Simcha Dubowski "An Unfinished Symphony," directed by Bestor Cram & Mike Majoro
"Acts of Worship," directed by Rosemary Rodriguez "After Image," directed by Robert Manganelli "Dancing in September," directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood "Diary of a City Priest," directed by Eugene Martin "The Doe Boy," directed by Randy Redroad "Haiku Tunnel," directed by Jacob Kornbluth & Josh Kornbluth "Invisible Revolution," directed by Beverly Peterson "Jump Tomorrow," directed by Joel Hopkins "Manic," directed by Jordan Melamed "Margarita Happy Hour," directed by Ilya Chaiken "Miss Wonton," directed by Meng Ong "Raw Deal: A Question of Consent," directed by Billy Corben "Roof to Roof," directed by Ara Corbett "Women in Film," directed by Bruce Wagner "Tape," directed by Richard Linklater "Wet Hot American Summer," directed by David Wain.
Call him Al Pacino, indie filmmaker. The Hollywood Reporter says that "The Insider" thesp’s second directorial foray, "Chinese Coffee," has been picked up for distribution by Fox Searchlight.
The shoestring-budget flick, shot over the course of three years, was financed by Pacino himself. It cast Jerry Orbach opposites Pacino in a story that pivots on a conversation between a struggling New York writer and his mentor.
Before the feature project, Pacino had made his directorial debut in 1996 with "Looking for Richard," a doc about the Bard.
LET IT BURN: Variety says that Paramount Classics has paid more than $2 million for the domestic distribution rights to "Sidewalks of New York" -- a project penned and directed by and starring Edward Burns. The romantic comedy costars Heather Graham, Stanley Tucci and Rosario Dawson.
THE FOURTH MUSKETEER: The Reporter says that French legend Catherine Deneuve is in final negotiations to join the Gary Oldman and Mena Suvari in the indie project "D'Artagnan," a story about the fourth Musketeer.
COOL LIKE ICE: Rapper-actor Ice-T is joining the cast of NBC’s "Law & Order: Special Victim Unit," the Reporter says.
NO BULL: Actor Ryan O’Neal will play the recurring role of a father in the new TNT series "Bull." The drama debuts Aug. 15.
Steven Spielberg reportedly has won the race to bring Harry Potter to the big screen.
The Times of London says Spielberg will direct and produce "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," based on the hit children's book series about a schoolboy wizard.
Robert Zemeckis, Jonathan Demme and Mike Newell were among the directors Spielberg beat out for the movie, according to the paper.
Warner Bros., which owns the Harry Potter screen rights, dictated that Spielberg must make the film his next movie. Spielberg, whose docket also includes an adaptation of the best seller "Memoirs of a Geisha," had two possibles in the works: "A.I." and "Minority Report," both produced by his own studio, DreamWorks. "A.I" (the acronym for artificial intelligence) is based on a story outline by late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. "Minority Report" is a possible project for megastar Tom Cruise.
As for "Harry Potter," the Times says the search is now on for a British child to play the title role, although Spielberg reportedly might be considering a computer-animated version of the story.
NEXT "SENSE": "Sixth Sense" writer/director M. Night Shyamalan has settled on his follow-up project: "Unbreakable."
The suspense drama is set to star the prolific Julianne Moore. "Sense" alum Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are also attached.
According to Daily Variety, Moore will play the wife of a man (Willis) who begins to experience strange and unusual things after surviving an accident.
THORNTON "SHIPPING" OUT: "The Shipping News" for Billy Bob Thornton isn't good.
The actor-filmmaker has dropped out of the Columbia Pictures film and might opt instead for Universal/Miramax's "Cinderella Man." He will most likely direct the latter film -- probably with Ben Affleck as the lead.
John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston previously departed "The Shipping News," a romantic drama.
LIVIN' ON A PRAYER: Erstwhile hair-band rocker Jon Bon Jovi gets his rocks off as the latest co-star in Bel Air Entertainment's "Pay It Forward."
Daily Variety reports that Bon Jovi will co-star alongside acting heavyweights Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and "The Sixth Sense's" Haley Joel Osment. The pic, about a young boy's attempt at world peace via random acts of kindness, is being directed by "Deep Impact's" Mimi Leder and co-financed and distributed by Warner Bros.
IN KEY: Hollywood director-in-exile Roman Polanski hopes to return to his Polish homeland after acquiring the rights to "The Piano," an autobiographical book about a musician's survival in Poland during World War II. Polanski told Daily Variety that he plans to start shooting the $20 million feature in December. The story, detailing Wladyslaw Szpilman's experiences in Warsaw from 1939 through 1945, is said to be reminiscent of Polanski's own turbulent coming-of-age in war-ravaged Krakow.
GANDHI MEETS THE POPE: If he's good enough to play Gandhi, why not Pope John Paul II?
That's the thinking of an Italian broadcaster who announced Friday that it's planning a TV biopic about the pontiff to star Oscar-winning "Gandhi" star Ben Kingsley.
"Gandhi" director (and fellow Oscar winner) Richard Attenborough is being considered for a role, as well. Reuters reports that talks are under way with both actors about the project, which is in the planning stage and has not yet received official approval from the Vatican.
Is John Travolta's "Saturday Night Fever" fatal?
Not exactly, but the A-list star, who once upon a time discoed the night away, is considering signing up to play a dying man in the drama "Steinbeck's Point of View," Daily Variety reports.
The planned Warner Bros. production is reportedly high on Travolta's list of films to tackle after he completes the Nora Ephron-directed lottery flick "Numbers." (That film began shooting last month.)
Brandon Camp and Michael Thompson penned the "Steinbeck" script. They'll also produce, along with Steve Reuther and Mark Johnson, Variety says.
The picture puts a high-concept spin on its somber subject matter -- having its dying lead character come to terms with his impending demise via some supernatural help. "Steinbeck" is slated for a spring start. Should Travolta sign on, he would reportedly be involved in naming its director.
HURLEY BEDAZZLES: Model-actress Elizabeth Hurley is confirmed to co-star in the Harold Ramis remake of "Bedazzled," the swingin' 1967 Stanley Donen comedy that introduced American audiences to Brit comedians Dudley Moore and Peter Cook.
Brendan Fraser ("The Mummy") is the topliner in Ramis' version. He'll play a dorky office drone who hopes to win the love of a co-worker (Hurley) through the aid of a seductive beauty (Frances O'Connor of "Mansfield Park"). The film will go before cameras as early as Jan. 24, reports say.
Hurley was last seen (briefly) in the 1999 summer smash "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me."
REMAKE WATCH: Writer John Hoffman has been tapped to pen a script for a remake of the 1973 whodunit, "The Last of Sheila." It's part of a two-picture deal Hoffman recently signed with Warners. "The Last of Sheila" comes from a prime gene pool -- its original script was dreamed up by the unlikely duo of "Psycho" star Anthony Perkins and Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim ("Sweeney Todd"). The original flick featured an ensemble cast led by Richard Benjamin and Dyan Cannon.
For all the controversy and hype surrounding "Eyes Wide Shut," the film will most likely be remembered as director Stanley Kubrick's last opus -- finished just days before he died in his sleep March 7.
The 70-year-old eccentric filmmaker's career was founded on spectacle, from the shocking "A Clockwork Orange" to the profound "2001: A Space Odyssey." It somehow seemed fitting that "Eyes Wide Shut," despite the star talent of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, would make its mark by bearing the director's ghost.
The year that was marked the passing of other legends, as well -- from George C. Scott (Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove" star) to singer Mel Tormé to movie critic Gene Siskel.
Some, like Sylvia Sidney and DeForest Kelley, died after long, rich careers; others, such as Dana Plato and David Strickland, succumbed in relative youth to their inner demons.
From marquee names to behind the sceners, Hollywood will mourn:
Kirk Alyn, 88, died March 14. In 1948, the first actor to play Superman on the big screen.
Hoyt Axton, 61, died Oct. 26, heart attack. Singer-actor who wrote hits such as Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World"; appeared in "Gremlins" and "The Black Stallion."
Ian Bannen, 71, died Nov. 3, car accident. Theater veteran who starred in "Waking Ned Devine," appeared in "Braveheart" and was nominated for an Oscar in 1965 for "Flight of the Phoenix."
Mary Kay Bergman, 38, died Nov. 11, suicide. Actress who voiced numerous "South Park" characters in the TV series and film.
Dirk Bogarde, 78, died May 8, heart attack. British veteran of more than 70 films, including "Death in Venice."
Rory Calhoun, 76, died April 28, emphysema and diabetes. Western film actor in the 1940s and '50s and star of CBS' "The Texan" series.
Allan Carr, 62, died June 29, cancer. Producer of the hit 1978 musical "Grease" and Tony Award winner for "La Cage aux Folles" on Broadway.
Iron Eyes Cody, about 90, died Jan 4, natural causes. American American actor best known as the "Crying Indian" in 1970s anti-litter public-service announcements.
Ellen Corby, 87, died April 14. Oscar nominee for the 1948 film "I Remember Mama"; Emmy winner for her grandmother role on TV's "The Waltons."
Harry Crane, 85, died Sept. 14, cancer. Co-created the TV sitcom "The Honeymooners''; wrote for entertainers such as the Marx Brothers, Red Skelton and Bing Crosby.
Charles Crichton, 89, died Sept. 14. Acclaimed British director of film comedies, including "The Lavender Hill Mob" and "A Fish Called Wanda."
Frank De Vol, 88, died Oct. 27, congestive heart failure. Film composer who received Oscar nominations for "Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte," "Pillow Talk" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.'' Wrote the theme music for TV's "The Brady Bunch."
Edward Dmytryk, 90, died July 1, heart and kidney failure. Directed films such as "The Caine Mutiny"; one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten during the 1940s Red Scare.
Allen Funt, 84, died Sept. 5, complications from stroke. Hosted and created prankster TV show "Candid Camera."
Betty Lou Gerson, 84, died Jan. 12, stroke. Provided the voice for villainess Cruella De Vil in Disney's 1961 animated "One Hundred and One Dalmatians."
Ernest Gold, 77, died March 17, complications from stroke. Composer for films such as "It's a Man, Mad, Mad, Mad World"; won an Academy Award for "Exodus."
Sandra Gould, 73, died July 20, stroke. Played nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz on TV's "Bewitched."
Huntz Hall, 78, died Jan. 30, heart failure. Starred in more than 100 "Dead End Kids" and "Bowery Boys" films in the 1930s through the '50s.
Brion James, 54, died Aug. 7, heart attack. Played the murderous droid Leon in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner."
Madeline Kahn Madeline Kahn, 57, died Dec. 3, ovarian cancer. Oscar-nominated actress-comedian who starred in "Blazing Saddles" and "Paper Moon."
Garson Kanin, 86, died March 13, heart failure. Oscar-nominated screenwriter ("Adam's Rib," "Pat and Mike"); penned hit play "Born Yesterday." DeForest Kelley
DeForest Kelley, 79, died June 11, long illness. Starred as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy on TV's original "Star Trek" series and in several of the franchise's big-screen movies.
Richard Kiley, 76, died March 5, bone marrow disease. Actor/singer best known for introducing audiences to original power ballad, "The Impossible Dream," via Broadway's "Man of La Mancha."
Stanley Kubrick, 70, died March 7 in his sleep. Acclaimed director of films such as "Dr. Strangelove," "Spartacus," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Shining."
Desmond Llewelyn, 85, died Dec. 19, car accident. British actor who played James Bond's gadget-guru Q through "From Russia With Love" (1963) to "The World Is Not Enough" (1999).
Victor Mature, 86, died Aug. 4, cancer. Hunky star of the 1940s and 50s, with leading roles in "Samson and Delilah" and "My Darling Clementine."
Jay Moloney, 35, died Nov. 16, suicide. Talent agent known as the "boy wonder," who once represented Hollywood heavies such as Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Clayton Moore, 85, died Dec. 28, heart attack. Longtime star of TV's "The Lone Ranger."
Dana Plato, 34, died May 8, apparent accidental drug overdose. Former child star of the 1970s sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes."
Abraham Polonsky, 88, died Oct. 26, heart attack. Oscar-nominated screenwriter ("Body and Soul"); one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten.
Mario Puzo, 78, died July 2, heart failure. Novelist/screenwriter ("The Godfather") who two Oscars for his screenplays for "The Godfather" (1972) and "The Godfather Part II" (1974).
Irving Rapper, 101, died Dec. 20. Golden-era director best known for collaborating with Bette Davis on four films, including "Now, Voyager" (1942).
Oliver Reed, 61, died May 2, apparent heart attack. British actor best known for starring in "Oliver!" and "Women in Love."
Charles "Buddy" Rogers, 94, died April 21, natural causes. Starred in 1927's "Wings," the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar; widower of silent-star Mary Pickford.
George C. Scott George C. Scott, 71, died Sept. 22, ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. Gruff-voiced leading man who starred in "Dr. Strangelove" and "Anatomy of a Murder." Won (and refused) the Oscar for 1970's "Patton"; won Emmy and Golden Globe for 1997's Showtime film "12 Angry Men."
Sylvia Sidney, 88, died July 1, throat cancer. Veteran actress whose career spanned the 1930s through the 1990s. Nominated for an Oscar for 1973's "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams." Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel, 53, died Feb. 20, brain tumor. With Roger Ebert, the nation's most influential movie critic and purveyor of the "thumbs up/thumbs down" rating system on their syndicated TV series. Writer for Chicago Tribune.
Susan Strasberg, 60, died Jan. 21, breast cancer. Theater/TV/film actress ("The Diary of Anne Frank"); daughter of famed acting guru Lee Strasberg; cohort of Marilyn Monroe.
David Strickland, 29, died March 23, suicide. Co-star of the NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan"; played a lovelorn ex-boyfriend in "Forces of Nature" (1999).
Mel Torme, 73, died June 5, complications from stroke. Velvety crooner of jazz and pop, who co-wrote "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)."
Norman Wexler, 73, died Aug. 23, heart attack. Oscar-nominated screenwriter of "Joe" and "Serpico." Also wrote "Saturday Night Fever" and "Stayin' Alive."
John Woolf, 86, died June 28, heart failure. British producer of "Oliver!" and "The African Queen."
After catching her live-in boyfriend in a compromising position Amanda sets out to find a new place to live. She ends up rooming with four supermodels (Shalom Harlow Ivana Milicevic Sarah O'Hare and Tomiko Fraser) whose apartment has a great view -- especially of Jim the "perfect guy" across the way. When Amanda in a "Rear Window"- type scenario witnesses Jim committing what she thinks is a murder she sets out to prove that he did it. However to her surprise she ends up falling head over heels (literally a lot of the time) for him instead.
The chemistry between Prinze and Potter is near perfect. Potter does a great job of playing a klutzy girl who can't seem to stay on her feet long enough to have a conversation with Jim. But then again who could? Prinze exudes his usual charm and winning smile while at the same time showing great comic timing. The more pivotal moments with the four models who are "struggling " as they like to say are well done and surprisingly hysterical. Who needs a drama when you can have four models who are actually funny?
Director Mark S. Waters and Prinze Jr. are together again after their 1997 film "The House of Yes." "Head Over Heels" is a cross between "Fatal Attraction " "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "There's Something About Mary " which means it's a bit muddled in its direction. Waters tries a little too hard for the shock value while at the same time trying to convey romantic comedy elements almost overshadowing the performances of the actors. But hey then again we get to see supermodels covered in poop. Priceless. Still the fairly clever and darker script plus the winning chemistry between the lead actors makes it worthwhile.