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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2, 2004
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Reel View
By Nicole Shelton and Laurie Davis

Special effects, Kate Hudson steal the show

"The Day After Tomorrow" is a disaster movie in which Professor Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) tries unsuccessfully to warn nations of an upcoming ice age, a result of sudden weather shifts caused by global warming.

He forecasts the shift to occur hundreds of years later, but it begins the next week as tornadoes hit LA, tidal waves flood New York and the Northern Hemisphere is buried under snow and ice. Jack's son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is stuck in New York. Jack, who is in Washington, heroically walks to New York with his assistants to rescue his son.

This is a formula disaster movie. It includes those who overcome impossible odds, heroes everywhere risking their lives to save a brother, a budding romance in the midst of tragedy and amazing special effects and ominous music. I kept waiting for the "Morning After" to be played at the end.

There is a jab at the present administration. A Cheney look-alike vice president seems to be calling the shots as he dismisses global warming and the Kyoto Accords. A Bush-like president is a nice guy caught in the middle. There is no need to be offended at this lame political dig.

The star of the movie is the special effects. A Russian tanker glides down Manhattan, tidal waves wash over the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building is frozen.

The movie offers a good scare when Sam's plane almost crashes and a pack of escaped wolves from the zoo pounce on him and friends as they try to retrieve medical supplies off the abandoned Russian tanker.

"The Day After Tomorrow" is rated PG-13 for intense situations of peril, but no sexual situations and little language.

Reel View: If you are a lover of disaster movies, you won't be disappointed in this predictable but well-done special effects weather mayhem.

— Laurie Davis

"Raising Helen," starring Kate Hudson and the wonderful Joan Cusack and John Corbett, opened in theaters this week. The movie trailers portray this one as a romantic comedy, but it's not. It's more of a drama with some funny parts. At times, there wasn't a dry eye in the theater.

Kate Hudson plays Helen, a vivacious young woman living in Manhattan and enjoying every moment of her busy life. Working at a modeling agency, Helen is beautiful, financially independent and on her way up the ladder. Being the much younger sister in her family, she is the "cool aunt" to her two older sisters' sons and daughters.

When tragedy strikes her family, Helen receives custody of her oldest sister's three children and has to decide whether she is up to the challenge.

I have two complaints about this movie. One is that Cusak, who plays Helen's older sister, is wasted in this role. She is a funny, comedic actress whose talent is not showcased.

I also believe that Corbett from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" fame was miscast as Lutheran Pastor Dan, Hudson's love interest. There was no chemistry between the two actors, and you don't see why either of them would be attracted to the other.

Reel View: Though "Raising Helen" won't go down as a great summer movie, it's cute enough, predictable as it was.

It's slow in parts. Audiences will either like it, primarily because of cute Hudson, or hate it. "Raising Helen" is a girls' movie. I would recommend it only to moviegoers over 13.

It's rated PG-13 for some brief strong language.

— Nicole Shelton

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