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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Step Brothers,’ ‘Mamma Mia!,’ ‘Bottle Shock,’ ‘The Perfect Game,’ ‘American Teen’

Oh my god. I want to be dreading Step Brothers [opens wide July 25], because it looks so idiotic, and yet I can’t, because it’s from the same guys who did Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and that turned out, all appearances to the contrary, to be so sublime. The trailer is pretty dire, but there’s something in the knowingness of the dreck-iness of this poster — and yes, it kinda apes what 40-Year-Old Virgin did, and I hated that movie — that makes me have a little spark of hope. Can lightning strike twice? Probably not. *sigh*

The concept of Mamma Mia! [opens wide July 18] frightens me: a young woman has to guess who her father is? It’s not the idea of her having to confront the fact that her mother actually had sex — with more than one man! — or even that her mother doesn’t know who the father of her daughter is. It’s that there’s something icky in floating these men in front of the young woman as if to say, Hey, if he’s not your dad, maybe he can be your lover instead! And I know the whole point of her trying to find her father is that she’s getting married to some other bloke entirely, but still: there’s a level of ickiness going on here that is entirely unique. I hope I’m wrong, and that the movie isn’t icky, cuz who doesn’t like Abba?

Bottle Shock [opens limited August 8] is about that heady moment in the 1970s when California wines came into their own, and starting whipping the asses of French wines. I far prefer California wines to French ones, so this sounds like fun. Also, two of my boyfriends — Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman — are in this, so that’s like the delicious nibbles to go with the wine. Yummy.

According to the people who want you to see this movie, The Perfect Game [opens wide August 8] is the “true story of a team of impoverished boys from Monterrey, Mexico, circa 1957, who become the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series.” Oops, did we spoil the fun for you? C’mon: they’re underdogs. You were gonna be cheering for them no matter what.

American Teen [opens limited July 25] is a documentary about how fucking awful it is to be a teenager, and how it’s even worse in America where everyone is miserable and conservative and small-minded to start with, and the grownups will beat that into a kid before they’re done. And here I was just finally getting over my own leftover adolescent angst…

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