Are you ready for Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo? Don't panic: Frida's famous mustache has been dispensed with, though the unibrow remains. For years, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna were also pushing their own Kahlo projects, so I suppose we should be grateful that Hayek won out, although a Madonna version might well have been deliciously bad. The Frida we have, directed by Julie Taymor, is neither terrible nor excellent; Hayek, who also co-produced, may have obsessed for years about this project, but the result is a fairly standard this-happened-and-that-happened biopic about the Mexican artist, spiced by occasional moments in which Kahlo's paintings are made to morph into live action. Taymor, who made her movie-directing debut with the startling Titus, takes a disappointingly conventional approach to character, and except for the luscious palette she employs, her visual approach is pretty flat, too. Hayek is a bundle of energy, but her torridness has few emotional levels. Alfred Molina plays Kahlo's husband, the great muralist Diego Rivera, and Geoffrey Rush, looking like a revolutionary billy goat, plays Trotsky. They could have worked a bit more on their accents. Actually, Hayek's accent, which is authentic, sounds phony, too. She was probably just being hospitable to her co-stars. (2 hrs. 2 mins.; R) — PETER RAINER

Opens October 25
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