"In Crowd," "Loser," "Pokémon 2000: The Power of One" and "X-Men" 

Quick Flicks

!B! "In Crowd"!B! "Loser"!B! "Pokémon 2000: The Power of One"!B! "X-Men"

"In Crowd" — At first glance, this B-thriller aimed at the teen market looked as if it might follow in the same shameless guilty-pleasure tradition of "Wild Things." Instead, this fish-out-of-water tale is just another laughably bad sleazefest featuring weak unknowns, ridiculous dialogue and a plot-by-numbers script that becomes sillier as it unfolds.

Forget that we've seen all this before — anyone remember "Carrie?" — the biggest travesty is that director Mary Lambert fails to make the most of her nubile, scantily clad cast. What was she thinking?!? Catch this lame flick only when your cynicism is in overdrive. Then it'll be fun howling at the absurd lines these second-tier wannabes try to deliver with a straight face.

"Loser" — And how! This Amy Heckerling-directed teen comedy is a far cry from her charming "Clueless" or generation-labeling "Fast Times At Ridgemont High." But there's something to be said for the efficiency of her choice of titles; this one serves as both movie name and movie review.

"American Pie's" Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari reunite for yet another fish-out-of-water tale of teen angst. Biggs is a socially challenged hick at an NYC institute of lower learning. Suvari's caught in a go-nowhere affair with lit prof Greg Kinnear. Biggs and Suvari hook up, thereby giving Biggs's character immediate acceptance among his male peers.

So, how lame is this effort? OK, consider this: College professor Kinnear remarks, "I'm sure if she were alive, Betty Friedan would applaud your epiphany." Excuse me? The feminine mystique known as Ms. Friedan is very much alive. Watch this one only to see how many continuity errors you can find. (Hint: We're talking double digits.)

"Pokémon 2000: The Power of One" — OK, has it really only been eight months since I last sat through a "Pokémon" movie? Strictly for kids — with 6-year-olds the prime target — adults dragged to this second big-screen installment will find themselves wishing for a way to mainline Excedrin. If the first was rainbow-colored hell, this one's a multicolored migraine.

Once again, this mix of Japanese anime-style entertainment and sensibilities features our favorite pocket-monster trainer Ash and the lovable Pikachu doing battle with an evil megalomaniac.

"X-Men" — While not "X-ceptional," this long-awaited adaptation of the popular and similarly titled comic book series is pretty "X-citing." Boasting not only summer-worthy special effects, the movie also features some terrific actors.

Former "Trekker" Patrick Stewart is his usual well-modulated self as the legendary telepath Professor Xavier, leader of the "good" mutants. Sir Ian McKellen brings depth and dignity to the role of evil mutant Magneto, who believes nonmutant mankind must be conquered. And newcomer Hugh Jackman earns his chops as the renegade mutant Wolverine. So grab that double-humongous tub of popcorn and let the battle for humanity begin.


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