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Slate's Summary Judgment: 'Waiting,' 'Two for the Money,' 'In Her Shoes'

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

With the weekend just hours away, we now present to you our weekly digest of what film critics are saying about the new movie releases. Here's Mark Jordan Legan with Slate's Summary Judgment.

MARK JORDAN LEGAN reporting:

First up in wide release, we have the raucous comedy "Waiting," about the wacky high jinks that go on behind the scenes at a generic chain restaurant, Shenanigans. Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris and Justin Long star.

(Soundbite of "Waiting")

Unidentified Man: You know, working in a restaurant's all about learning routine, you know, and everything that Dan wants me to show you, teach you, all that can be learned in a few hours. But if you want to work here in this restaurant, I really think you need to ask yourself one simple question: How do you feel about frontal male nudity?

LEGAN: The nation's critics couldn't wait to pay the check and run out of this dining establishment. `Lewd, crude and socially irredeemable,' warns The Washington Post. The New York Times sighs, `A witless farce.' And in what surely has to be a sign that a movie critic needs an intervention or a vacation or both, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution moans, `It makes you never want to go to a movie again.' Whew! Now that is a bad review.

Also in wide release is the female comedy "In Her Shoes." Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette star as battling sisters who have nothing in common except size 8 1/2 shoes. The film is directed by the versatile Curtis Hanson, who has made everything from "Wonder Boys" to "LA Confidential." Shirley MacLaine also stars.

(Soundbite of "In Her Shoes")

Ms. CAMERON DIAZ: (As Maggie Feller) Come on, you really don't want to this right now, do you?

Ms. TONI COLLETTE: (As Rose Feller) No, but I also don't want you on my couch for the next three months. (Sighs)

Ms. DIAZ: (As Maggie) I'll let you do my resume if you let me do your makeup.

Ms. COLLETTE: (As Rose) Forget it.

Ms. DIAZ: (As Maggie) Why?

Ms. COLLETTE: (As Rose) Well, at some point today I have to face the world, and I'd rather not do it looking like a $20 hooker.

LEGAN: The critics liked the way this movie fits. The Hollywood Reporter says, `The actors are all on their game and Hanson never lets the movie bog down in sentimentality.' Rolling Stone calls it `smartly entertaining.' And The Dallas Morning News raves that `"In Her Shoes" ultimately emerges as a movie of warmth, wit and wisdom.'

And finally we close with Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey in "Two for the Money." This gritty drama focuses on the high-stakes world of professional sports gambling. Armand Assante also stars, and here's a tip: Never bet on the Knicks. Psst, I'm a Knicks fan, so I can say that.

(Soundbite of "Two for the Money")

Mr. AL PACINO: (As Walter Abrams) Sports betting's illegal in 49 states, including this one, but what we do is not. We are 100 percent legal, like stockbrokers, only instead of touting stocks, we advise people on how to bet. Now if a client wins by taking our advice, we get a percentage. But if they lose, we get zip. So the object here, my dear, tall, athletic, religious friend, is to win.

Mr. MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY: (As Brandon Long) I can do that.

LEGAN: Well, the critics don't like the point spread on this baby one bit. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer musters up the kindest take: `It's engaging enough while it's going on, but has little visceral impact or resonance.' The Village Voice growls, `"Two for the Money" turns from ludicrous to incoherent.' And Newsday gripes, `The story, like Wile E. Coyote, hangs in midair and drops section by section into a deep canyon.'

Hey, Newsday, if you don't like the movie, fine, but there's no need to drag poor Wile E. into it. The dude has suffered enough. You didn't hear any of the critics who didn't like "Waiting" bring, like, Marvin the Martian into it.

(Impersonating Marvin the Martian) Thank goodness. I don't like lowbrow comedies, anyway. I prefer the early works of the French New Wave masters like Louis Malle and Goddard. So there, earthlings!

CHADWICK: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles.

(Soundbite of "Looney Tunes" theme)

CHADWICK: And DAY TO DAY returns in just a moment. I'm Alex Chadwick. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.