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Opening Films 

by Inlander Staff

Jersey Girl -- Writer-director Kevin Smith eases up on his penchant for making outrageous movies -- the most recent was Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back -- and goes for a dollop of charming schmaltz in a story of a single father (Ben Affleck) who has no idea how to raise his young daughter (Raquel Castro), even with the help of his crusty dad (George Carlin). Enter an inquisitive and free-spirited woman (Liv Tyler) to help get his life back together. This is safe, commercial territory for all involved, but it's well acted and funny, and carries a few surprises. Believe it or not, it's a Kevin Smith date movie. (ES) Rated PG-13

The Ladykillers -- This misfire from the usually brilliant Coen Brothers is a fine example of not leaving well enough alone. The story is a good one: A smooth-talking con man (Tom Hanks) manages to move himself and his "musician friends" into the home of a na & iuml;ve, elderly woman (Irma P. Hall), but he is really setting up shop for a big heist. The problem is that it was done so much better and with so much more class and style in the 1955 British version. This film simply did not have to be remade. Overacting from Hanks and an embarrassing performance by Marlon Wayans as a loud, foul-mouthed lackey doesn't help. (ES) Rated R

Never Die Alone -- Wouldn't this be a great title for the latest Bond flick? Yeah? Well, too bad. This one stars rapper DMX as a violent crime lord who returns to his hometown seeking redemption. Instead, his past comes back to haunt him and he spends his dying moments recounting his story -- via flashbacks -- with aspiring journalist David Arquette. Based on novelist Donald Goines' street-noir thriller of the same name. Rated: R

Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed -- Those darn kids -- Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, Fred -- and their canine companion are back, this time dealing with intrusive ace reporter Alicia Silverstone and a machine that produces monsters. Lots and lots of monsters. Zoinks! Starring Matthew Lillard, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Linda Cardellini. Rated: PG

Publication date: 03/25/04

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