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
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
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.
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.
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
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.