Movies reviewed in brief: 'Free Birds,' 'About Time,' 'Man of Tai Chi'

  • Updated: October 31, 2013 - 5:00 PM

Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson in “About Time.”


⋆½ out of four stars

Rated: PG for some action, peril and rude humor

The creators of "Free Birds" make the same mistakes that generations of animators made before them, having a cute idea and a feeble script to go with it, lining up a "name" voice cast to overcompensate.

Owen Wilson voices Reggie, a scrawny bird at his turkey farm. His friends and family are dragged off to "turkey paradise," but Reggie is that lucky bird who wins a presidential pardon.

Reggie has barely settled into a pampered life of pizzas and TV-watching at Camp David when the demented Jake (Woody Harrelson) shows up to birdnap him and enlist Reggie in his mission — to time-travel back to early America and change Thanksgiving history, "to get turkey OFF the menu."

The few gags there are seem borrowed from better, earlier films. The odd throwaway line works, but the sight gags fall flat and much of the screenplay seems like a rough draft. Undercooked and sorely lacking much in the way of "all the trimmings," this turkey isn't ready to serve.



⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars

Rated: R for language and some sexual content

Theaters: Eden Prairie, Edina, Highland, Rosedale, Willow Creek

Who wouldn't like a second or third shot at making a killer first impression with a potential mate? That's the possibility that Dad (Bill Nighy) presents to his son Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) in this time-travel romantic comedy by director Richard Curtis ("Love Actually"). The men in their family can sneak off to somewhere hidden, clench their fists, and wish their way back to a moment they'd love to relive.

Clumsy, awkward Tim first tests this out on his sister's pal, hot Charlotte (Margot Robbie). Then it’s on to Mary (Rachel McAdams), an American lass Tim meets at a gimmicky restaurant. Sparks fly, but the meeting doesn't quite come off.

The movie takes us into the life they might share, and finds ways to test love and the dilemma of choices as Tim keeps discovering all these "rules" about his time travel.

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  • Bill Nighy (right) and Domhnall Gleeson are father and son with a secret talent in “About Time.”

  • Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler and Jimmy Hayward voice the “Free Birds.”

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