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Sex/Nudity: 11 mentions. Violence: none Profanity: 20 mild, 11 strong expressions. Drugs: 1 smoking scene.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (PG-13)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber. With Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn. (92 min.)

Sterritt * The owners of rival health clubs enter teams in a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament to win a cash prize. Stiller strives to be a wild and wacky villain, Vaughn endeavors to be a likable and average hero, and both fall flat on their faces, like everything else in this unspeakably stupid comedy.

The Clearing (R)

Director: Pieter Jan Brugge. With Robert Redford, Helen Mirren, Willem Dafoe, Melissa Sagemiller. (94 min.)

Sterritt *** Redford gives one of his best performances ever in this taut, emotionally engrossing thriller about a wealthy businessman kidnapped by a small-time criminal (Dafoe) and held for ransom from his wife (Mirren) and family. Only a sentimental, strung-out ending mars the drama's momentum.

Staff **1/2 Modest, chilly, underplayed.

Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 6 scenes. Profanity: 10 strong expressions. Drugs: 2 scenes of drinking, 2 of smoking.

De-Lovely (PG-13)

Director: Irwin Winkler. With Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce, Alanis Morissette. (125 min.)

Sterritt **** This music-filled biography portrays legendary songwriter Cole Porter, a bisexual scamp whose marriage became the most important anchor in his emotional life. The movie is remarkably touching and engrossing, with Kline's spot-on acting and realistically second-rate singing balancing Judd's one-note performance as his wife. The screenplay spends too long winding Porter's story up, but overall it is as de-lovely as its title promises.

Staff *** Rich, tragic, honest.

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