Newcomer Carey Mulligan (seen of late on the back of Shia LaBoeuf’s scooter -- not a euphemism) sparkles as the slightly repressed English schoolgirl Jenny to Peter Sarsgaard’s rakish (and Jewish) charmer David, an ingenue to his dilettante who converts her into a fellow young Turk through a whirlwind love affair that exposes her to fast cars, nice vacations and, well…sex. The usually phenomenal Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About A Boy) adapts the screenplay from a memoir, essentially a period piece of Jenny’s Oxford plans falling away to a profound discovery of art, literature and love through David, with a not altogether surprising surprise at the end.
Inspired by Chris Rock’s daughter who approached him crying one day and asked “Why don’t I have good hair?”, this documentary tackles the fraught topic of hair within the African American community -- a $9 billion per year industry, Rock tells us, which fosters a growing displeasure with what is “natural.” Funnyman Rock manages a balance between tackling the tough stuff and diffusing tense moments with humor. He also embarks to India to investigate the origins of hair extensions and starts and ends his journey in Atlanta at the Bronner Bros. Hair Show, an environment that need be witnessed to fully be appreciated.
There are Hollywood celebrities the American public can get behind -- who have something we’ll call the Aniston Affect, wherein a celebrity suffers some great injustice in their personal (or professional) lives, and John Q. feels sorry for said celeb. This used to be true of Jason Bateman, but in the past several decisions the former Silver Spoons star has made, it has become increasingly difficult to support his revived career. Take, for example, the latest installment in Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau’s attempt to strike Swingers-style gold twice. Excepting that there is no earthly way these ladies (typically five to ten years the junior of their film husbands) would ever be with the film’s matches, they figure in about as significantly as the scenery (meaning nice to look at, passively instrumental to plot advancement). There’s an unwritten Hollywood adage that says you can make a sequel to Teen Wolf or this, but not both. We’re looking at you, Bateman.
-- LAUREN HARRIS
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