"Heist"; "Shallow Hal"; "Grateful Dawg" 

Quick Flicks

"Heist" — This latest from playwright-turned-filmmaker David Mamet overflows with his trademark jittery/staccato language, to the delight of those seeking stylish dialogue. As its title implies, the plot revolves around a caper, one last job to be pulled off by veteran thief Gene Hackman. Also per Mamet's modus operandi, Hackman is supported by two dependable henchmen (Delroy Lindo, Ricky Jay), a gorgeous wife (Rebecca Pidgeon, Mamet's real-life wife, by the way) and a fence (Danny DeVito) with the usual suspect morals. Although this noirish tale is filled with puzzle-box twists and turns, we see far too many of them coming. While not quite as much fun to watch as it is to listen to, "Heist" remains a stylish, well-acted way to wile away the hours.

"Shallow Hal" — Yikes! Could the unthinkable have happened? Have the Farrelly brothers turned P.C.? With "Shallow Hal," the two siblings known for their mean-spirited comedy have retained their spirit but forgotten the comedy. Jack Black stars as Hal Larsen, a pudgy, average guy who doesn't date much because he refuses to settle for anything less than a supermodel. That is, until he meets self-help guru Tony Robbins (who plays himself in one truly clever scene). Robbins plants a posthypnotic suggestion that makes Hal blind to physical flaws. Consequently, he falls for a sweet 300-pound woman who without the weight looks like Gwyneth Paltrow. He can't see the signs of her obesity, but everyone else can, including Jason Alexander, Hal's obnoxious best friend. The hijinks that ensue are lame and uninspired; the fat jokes obvious; and, eventually, the sweet-natured romance wears thin, as well.

"Grateful Dawg" — Part documentary, part lengthy home video, this film offers a daughter's-eye view of the musical friendship between her father, David "Dawg" Grisman, and the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia. Using home-movie clips, old photographs, interviews and concert footage, Gillian Grisman slowly unveils a tale of two men who shared a passion for bluegrass. From there, they formed a band, parted ways over money, and reunited nearly two decades later to make music once more. Happily, Grisman allows the men's music to play a starring role, making "Grateful Dawg" more than a warm and loving tribute. Those who love good, old-fashioned American music will be just as entertained as the Deadheads next to them.


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