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Trailer Mix

Our reviews of some summer previews.

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Superman Returns
Tagline: “You have great power.”
Translation: No more Mr. Nice Guy.
The Gist: The first teaser was too sweet. The newest are much darker and outline a new plot: Superman comes home after disappearing for years; Lois Lane has a kid and a fiancé; Lex Luthor harnesses the technology of the Fortress of Solitude and holds the world hostage. It all looks aggressively stylish—especially that bullet bouncing off Superman’s eye—and, more important, different from Smallville.

The Lake House
Tagline: “What if you found the one you were meant for, but you lived two years apart?”
Translation: Please bear with us while we explain.
The Gist: When Keanu Reeves repeats his famous Matrix line—“This is in-sane”—you know things are going to get trippy. And they do, but in a romantic way, as he and his Speed co-star Sandra Bullock become metaphysical pen pals living in the same home, separated by two years. The premise is spelled out neatly enough (and that’s impressive), but it’s still hard to swallow, even with Pulitzer winner David Auburn’s name (Proof) as the kicker.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Tagline: “It’s the age-old story . . . Boy Meets Girl . . . ”
Translation: Um, we had the whole marketing department working on this—and, well, they gave up.
The Gist: From the corny eighties Fine Young Cannibals song “She Drives Me Crazy” to the low-budget FX, this is a poor sell, in which the young co-stars Anna Faris and Rainn Wilson eclipse stars Luke Wilson (no relation) and Uma Thurman, his superheroine lover. Thurman’s costumes are the biggest disappointment: After the yellow jumpsuit of Kill Bill, these getups look store-bought.

You, Me and Dupree
Tagline: “It was the perfect wedding . . . Until . . . ”
Translation: Wedding Crashers: The Sorta-Sequel.
The Gist: Shamelessly riding on the coattails of Crashers, this positions Owen Wilson as a loser who moves in with his best friend (Matt Dillon) and his buddy’s new bride (Kate Hudson). The gags rest on Wilson’s slouchy shoulders—and he carries them well. Universal is using the slogan “Wear Out Your Welcome” with confidence that Wilson won’t.

Nacho Libre
Tagline: “When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants.”
Translation: If you don’t think Jack Black looks funny in a tight wrestling outfit, we’ve lost you.
The Gist: The first trailer sold itself on the sight of Black alone—but a series of seventeen (and counting) slapdash iTunes “Confessional” podcasts will deflate expectations. Black seems exhausted, letting dead air stand for punch lines. Sometimes, more access can be a bad thing—especially if the star appears to have been forced to participate.


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