"For the Love of the Game," "Blue Streak" and "The Dinner Game" 

Quick Flicks

"For Love of the Game""Blue Streak""The Dinner Game"

"For Love of the Game" Kevin Costner takes another swing at mixing baseball with romance. But unlike "Bull Durham," this time it's the game that scores. The love story strikes out. Director Sam "Evil Dead" Raimi is as much a fan of the sport as Costner, and boy does it show. The scenes that rely on just capturing the game are super. While Raimi and Costner don't completely ignore the couple at the heart of the movie, the two lovers are not their priority.

Costner gives his usual performance, alternating between stone cold and sweetly, tragically vulnerable. Yes, he's appealing, but this time at bat he could have used Susan Sarandon. Although Kelly Preston performs admirably, her fashion-mag writer character comes off ditsy and somewhat unsympathetic.

The plot manipulations may be contrived and the dialogue limp, but "For Love of the Game" manages to entertain. Go figure.

"Blue Streak" The trick to enjoying this action flick/buddy movie hybrid is liking Martin Lawrence. If you can barely sit through one rerun of the sitcom "Martin," this movie will be agony. But if you enjoy Lawrence's unique brand of humor, then "Blue Streak" will have you laughing.

As over-the-top and unrestrained as ever, Lawrence plays jewel thief Miles Logan. Ol' Miles isn't the lucky type — on his last heist he got busted and had to stash the big diamond he snatched. Once out of stir, he discovers that an L.A.P.D. precinct has been built over top his hidden treasure. Now, Lawrence has got to go undercover as a detective to get his diamond. The premise is a killer — the execution a little less lethal. Luke Wilson co-stars as his police partner, not his partner in crime. Lawrence fans, however, will find plenty to enjoy.

"The Dinner Game" In this charming French caper, a publisher (Thierry Lhermitte) with a penchant for practical jokes invites a bureaucratic nerd (Jacques Villeret) to dinner. Little does the nerd know that he is the entertainment. The publisher plans to hold him up to subtle ridi- cule. But Francois (Villeret) turns out to be his host's worst nightmare.

French farce auteur Francis Veber directs this mishap of absurdities, glitches, coincidences and misunderstandings with his usual flair. Yes, it is in French with English subtitles. Luckily, laughter is universal.


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