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In the Dumps

Onscreen, this is the cruelest month.

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Talk to me, baby: Will My Baby's Daddy be the second January flop for Anthony Anderson?  

Every January, smart audiences catch up on the Oscar contenders that opened in December, while studios dump their disasters. Last year brought us A Guy Thing, Kangaroo Jack, and Just Married. Alas, this year there are no talking marsupials—just talking babies, half-baked plots, and B-listers destined to stay B-list (Christian Slater!). Will these films be 2004’s January flops? Or are we just too cynical? Let the box office decide.

My Baby’s Daddy
January 9

The Warning Signs: The tired Three Men and a Baby plot (only this time, there are three babies!), the Look Who’s Talking–style pram puppets, and January regular Anthony Anderson (of last year’s Kangaroo Jack).

The Saving Grace: We’ll take co-star Michael Imperioli’s goatee over Tom Selleck’s mustache any day.

Along Came Polly
January 16

The Warning Signs: Like Ben Stiller’s last awful romantic comedy, Duplex, this one, co-starring Jennifer Aniston, has been bumped around the release calendar.

The Saving Grace: Star wattage—and Philip Seymour Hoffman in a supporting role.

Butterfly Effect
January 23

The Warning Signs: Ashton Kutcher, amusing on TV (That ’70s Show), and death onscreen (last January’s Just Married), makes his bid as a leading man in this sci-fi thriller, originally slated for last April.

The Saving Grace: No matter how this one turns out, Kutcher can’t be as bad as Ben Affleck in Paycheck.

Mindhunters
January 23

The Warning Signs: Let’s start with the title, the team of Val Kilmer and Christian Slater, the tired FBI plot, release delays, and Cliffhanger director Renny Harlin.

The Saving Grace: Um, no talking babies?

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton
January 23

The Warning Signs: Blonde dud Kate Bosworth, scenes set in a Piggly Wiggly, and the romantic-comedy-meets-reality-TV plot.

The Saving Grace: Topher Grace, who will find his breakout movie some day.


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