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Summary Judgment: 'Prada,' 'Superman,' 'Candy'


Forget the King, let's talk about the Superman. Will it make a super week to go to the movies? Here's our weekly digest of what critics are saying about the new films, compiled by the online magazine Slate. Mark Jordan Legan has this summary judgment.


We start with the wide-release comedy, The Devil Wears Prada, based on the best-selling novel. Anne Hathaway plays the newly hired assistant to the high-powered fashion magazine boss from hell, Meryl Streep.

(Soundbite of movie "The Devil Wears Prada")

Ms. MERYL STREEP (Actress): (As Miranda Priestly) So you don't read Runway?

Ms. ANNE HATHAWAY (Actress): (As Andy Sachs) No.

Ms. STREEP: (As Miranda Priestly) And before today, you had never heard of me.

Ms. HATHAWAY: (As Andy Sachs) No.

Ms. STREEP: (As Miranda Priestly) And you have no style or sense of fashion.

Ms. HATHAWAY: (As Andy Sachs) Well, I think that depends on what your...

Ms. STREEP: (As Miranda Priestly) No, no. That wasn't a question.

LEGAN: The nation's critics think this fashion comedy is fabulous. Even though Newsweek finds it dramatically anorexic, the Associated Press calls The Devil Wears Prada fun, flirty, spirited and sexy, and the L.A. Times cheers, A sharp, surprisingly funny excursion into the catty realm of women's magazines.

Next up in limited release we have the comedy Strangers with Candy. Based on the Comedy Central cult TV series, Amy Sedaris and Steven Colbert are back parodying those earnest after-school specials about morality and the dangers of drugs.

(Soundbite of movie "Strangers with Candy")

Ms. AMY SEDARIS (Actress): (As Geraldine Blank) I'm Jerri Blank, and I'm an alcoholic. I'm also addicted to amphetamines, as well as mainline narcotics. Some people say I have a sex addiction, but I think all those years of prostitution was just a means to feed my ravenous hunger for heroin. It's kind of like the chicken or the nugget.

LEGAN: Critics are split on this twisted little comedy. The Hollywood Reporter reports, What was subversive on the tube feels muted at feature length, but Entertainment Weekly calls Strangers with Candy a hip kids' night out, and Premier Magazine gushes, Hysterically bizarre; neither fans of the series or newbies with an appreciation of dark, absurd comedy will be disappointed.

And we close with the wide-release action film Superman Returns. Bryan Singer, the director of Usual Suspects and the first two X-Men movies, delivers Brandon Routh as the new Man of Steel, who returns to earth after five years away and discovers that many things have changed. Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey also star.

(Soundbite of movie "Superman Returns")

Mr. FRANK LANGELLA (Actor): (As Perry White) Fashion. Is that a new suit? Health. Has he gained weight? What's he been eating? Business. How is this going to affect the stock market, long-term, short-term. Politics. Does he still stand for truth, justice...

LEGAN: Forget that leaping tall buildings thing. This Superman is even able to impress jaded and cynical film reviewers. That's right, pretty much raves for this superhero flick. Time Magazine simply shouts, Superb. L.A. Weekly says, Superman Returns is a lush and enthralling piece of adventure storytelling that's both revisionist and reverential. Now, if there's one main complaint, it's about the 154-minute running time of this movie. So parents thinking of taking your kids to this, just remember that any movie over about 85 minutes is like kryptonite to their bladders and you'll be running to the bathroom with them faster than a speeding bullet.

BRAND: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.