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A weekly update of video releases. Dates in paratheses indicate a previous review in the Monitor.

* GUARDING TESS (PG-13, Columbia TriStar Home Video). This fitful comedy-drama traces the up-and-down relationship of a zealous Secret Service agent and the VIP he's assigned to guard, a presidential widow who's as stubborn and stiff-necked as he is. The screenplay aims at a feisty blend of ``Driving Miss Daisy'' and ``In the Line of Fire,'' and there's an offbeat chemistry between Nicolas Cage and Shirley MacLaine that almost brings the movie off. It's too bad director Hugh Wilson reaches for starchy irony rather than the laugh-out-loud absurdity his material could have easily provided; and the eighth-inning switch from mild humor to high-octane melodrama is too late and lame to save the picture. (March 11, 1994)

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