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The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts for the weekend of July 15

Issue: "Interview with Larry King," July 28, 2001
1
Legally blonde $20.4 million
1 week in release
$20.4 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson / Robert Luketic / MGM

PLOT
Unfunny comedy about a sorority girl who goes to Harvard Law on a quest to win back her boyfriend.

MESSAGE
Beauty and cunning can get you anywhere in life.

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CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for bad language and sexual references.

2
The Score $19 million
1 week in release
$19 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Robert De Niro, Edward Norton / Frank Oz (Bowfinger) / Paramount Pictures

PLOT
Heist movie about a safecracker out to rob the Canadian Customs House.

MESSAGE
That one last score is a huge risk.

CAUTION
Rated R for bad language.

3
Cats & Dogs $12 million
2 weeks in release
$58.9 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Jeff Goldblum, Elizabeth Perkins / Larry Guterman / Warner Bros.

PLOT
Effects-heavy kid's movie about a young puppy that joins a secret canine war to keep cats from taking over the world.

MESSAGE
Dogs really are man's best friend.

CAUTION
Rated PG for animal action and crude humor.

4
Final Fantasy: the Spirits within $11.4 million
1 week in release
$19 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Ming-Na Wen, James Woods / Hironobu Sakaguchi / Columbia Tristar

PLOT
Computer-generated adaptation of the video game with a dying scientist trying to stop alien invaders.

MESSAGE
New Age mysticism: The planet is alive and has its own Gaia-spirit.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.

5
Scary Movie 2 $9.6 million
2 weeks in release
$53 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans / Keenen Ivory Wayans / Dimension Films

PLOT
Raunchy sequel rehashes the Wayans Brothers' spoof of recent horror movies.

MESSAGE
Even scary stuff is fair game for satire.

CAUTION
Rated R for strong sexual and gross humor, graphic language, and some drug content.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Legally Blonde should be a crime. This surprising hit plays like a bad sitcom: A spoiled rich girl named Elle (Reese Witherspoon) leaves her posh Bel Air world to conquer Harvard Law School. The result is an insufferable hour and a half that never makes good use of its lead character. Thanks to the times, she's not even allowed to be a dumb blonde. Instead, we're reminded that she's a 4.0 student who can do anything she wants to do. And the movie never really pokes fun at this person who is pure image and no substance. So Blonde spoils its own humor. The one good joke in this movie will fly over its teen-dominated audience's heads: Elle pines over her dimwitted but ambitious ex-boyfriend, a budding future senator named Warner. (Paging Liz Taylor, onetime wife of real-life former Sen. John Warner, R-Va.) Much of the movie is spent with the lead slowly gaining acceptance in law school, which she does with apparent ease. (Ex-boyfriend: "You got into Harvard Law?" Elle: "What? Like it's hard?") Then at the end she wins an internship and Blonde shifts gears from being Clueless II to a My Cousin Vinny clone. A maddening character like this doesn't deserve (fur-lined) kid gloves. This sort of movie celebrates the clever, stylish blow-off. Instead of hard work, she builds success on scheming, luck, and good looks.

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