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WITHERSPOON WALKS A NEW LINE WITH A PAIR OF ODDBALL COMEDIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW DO YOU KNOW

Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, Kathryn Hahn, Mark Linn-Baker (Written and directed by James L. Brooks; Columbia Pictures)


Reese Witherspoon is having a ball. So what if it’s only a soft ball? She’s sure to be a champ as born-to-win Lisa Jorgenson, a woman whose seemingly impossible dream of becoming a big-league softy does indeed come true.

But this being a film by James L. Brooks, the writer-director who created such richly textured comedy-dramas as “Terms of Endearment,” “Broadcast News” and “As Good As It Gets,” you can be sure there will be more on Lisa’s mind than hits, runs and errors.

Men, for example. Lisa’s line-up includes George (Paul Rudd), a high-powered player in the world of big business, and Manny (Owen Wilson), a professional hardball pitcher who’s eager to score a home run with Lisa. Playing an older, presumably platonic fan of Lisa is Jack Nicholson, who won an Oscar his last time at bat for Brooks in 1981’s “As Good As It Gets.” Opens 12/17/10

DOWNSIZING

Paul Giamatti, Reese Witherspoon, Sacha Baron Cohen (Directed by Alexander Payne; Written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor; Fox Searchlight)


“The movies didn’t get smaller—I did,” is what Paul Giamatti may be saying in this comedy-drama-fantasy directed and co-written by Alexander Payne, the man who made him a star to reckon with in 2004’s “Sideways.”

Here Giamatti plays a serial loser who, in an effort to become a winner, submits to an experimental procedure that will turn him into a teensy but deliriously happy, enormously successful person. And as he shrinks and then shrinks some more, he hooks up with some other tiny folk, including Reese Witherspoon (an actress who first made it truly big in 1999, playing a predatory teenager in director Payne’s “Election”) and Sacha Baron Cohen, who proved in “Borat” (2006) and then again in “Bruno” (2009) that he will stoop as low or jump as high as necessary when he feels he’s ready for his close-up.

This could be the start of something small!

Opening date to be announced