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ON THE SCREEN

The following movies are playing this weekend at local theaters. The Tech suggests using <http://www.boston.com> for a complete listing of times and locations.

HHHH Excellent

HHH Good

HH Fair

H Poor

But I’m a Cheerleader (HHH)

The concept of heterosexual reprogramming camp could make for a reasonably serious drama. Here, director Jamie Babbitt makes the circumstances ridiculous enough to keep the mood comedic, from the setting of a hot pink house to the irrational eagerness of the kids to “get better.” The sugary indie pop music in the background completes the diorama. Clea Duvall reprises her lesbian rebel role from The Faculty to great effect, while Cathy Moriarty and RuPaul anchor the film as the camp’s hypocritical directors. -- Dan Katz

Chicken Run (HHH1 2)

Among a sea of summer turkeys, this is one “chick-flick” that doesn’t run a-fowl! Cool claymation effects, brought to the big screen by the makers of the hysterical Wallace and Grommit series, and a droll British screenplay to follow-through. Cute, witty, and enjoyable for kids of all ages. -- Karen Feigenbaum

Chuck and Buck (HHH)

A heart-felt look at an uneven friendship, severely underscored by Buck’s case of arrested development and Chuck’s resulting embarrassment of Buck. At times sad, amusing and shocking; this is a cleverly written and fondly watchable indie flick, if you can get past the low-budget grainy film texture. -- KF

Croupier (HHH1 2)

An interesting film about a casino dealer who avoids placing wagers himself. His ability to avoid gambling is questioned as he is forced to risk certain aspects of his daily life. -- Jordan Rubin

Hollow Man (HHH)

Three things stand out about this movie. First, the direction proves that director Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Total Recall) is at the top of his game. Second, Kevin Bacon sizzles on screen, even when he appears only as a digital effect. And finally, the visual effects are, not surprisingly, spectacular. It’s enough to almost make you forget this movie has no real story. -- VZ

The In Crowd (1 2)

This cheap teen-sploitation thriller is horrible in every way a movie can be -- with one exception. Though the cast is utterly forgettable, the plot is pathetic, and some serious editing gaffes somehow slipped past the editors, The In Crowd unintentionally provides a few laughs. See it only if you enjoy so-bad-it’s-good movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space or Showgirls. -- KF

Me, Myself, and Irene (H)

With material highly inferior to previous Farrelly brothers works, this film falls flat in the humor department with long stretches of unfunniness. In particular, the black triplets are so ridiculous and stereotypically “street” you can almost hear DMX blasting in the background (“Y’all gonna make me lose my mind ... ”). A real disappointment from the makers of such hilarity as Kingpin. -- KF

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (HH)

The feel-good movie of the year ... if relentless jokes about flatulence and geriatric sex happen to make you feel good. The sequel has a lot in common with the original. Once again, the highlights revolve around Eddie Murphy’s impossibly slick Buddy Love character and Larry Miller’s evilish Dean Richmond, and once again the movie suffers from an inexplicably vapid love interest (played here by Janet Jackson). Way too much time spent on the Klump family and not enough time spent on, well, anything funny. -- DK

The Patriot (H1 2)

You may as well call it Braveheart of the Mohicans. You’ve seen this movie ... a few times, in fact, and done better. Not the worst movie out there, but the screenplay is weak and poorly fleshed out with equally one-dimensional characters. Predictability runs rampant (the son slated to be killed might as well have a bullseye painted on his chest). If you must, catch a bargain matinee, and bring a friend with whom you can have a running dialogue of sidebar banter. -- KF

Scary Movie (HHH)

Director Keenan Ivory Wayans succeeds with his latest spoof Scary Movie. This film hysterically parodies a genre that perhaps most deserves it, and its crude humor and advance NC-17 rating is well worth the price of admission. It’s base, it’s shocking, it’s blatantly disrespectful, and it’s made more money than the movies its parodied in its opening weekend. -- Jumaane Jeffries

Shaft (1 2)

A disappointing piece of sub-par drivel, especially from such a competent writer/director as John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood). It is hastily thrown together with a stupid story line, ridiculous dialogue, and an all-around clumsy screenplay. Samuel L. Jackson is one bad motherfucker, but that was already well- established in Pulp Fiction, and much more skillfully. Even lowered expectations won’t prepare you for the sheer unimpressiveness of this film. -- KF

What Lies Beneath (HH1 2)

You may think you already know the story from the trailer: there’s a woman who looks like Michelle Pfeiffer haunting a house. But what follows the painfully slow beginning is a somewhat suspenseful thriller with a surprisingly creative ending. Obviously, you can’t rely on the trailers -- you’d have to go to the theaters to find out what lies beneath the surface of this movie. -- KF

X-Men (HHH)

Marvel Comics’ hit comic book series about a league of mutants comes to the big screen this summer, and the film is exceptional. The movie centers on Rogue and Wolverine, following their initiation into the league of X-Men, and remains mostly faithful to the comic book series. This action flick lives up to expections while providing smart commentary on the issues of prejudice and injustice in today’s culture. -- JJ