Reviewed in brief

  • Updated: March 14, 2010 - 8:06 AM

"The Yellow Handkerchief," "She's Out of My League," "Our Family Wedding," "The Art of the Steal"

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Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve in "She's Out of My League."

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THE YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF

★★★ out of four stars

Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, some violence, language. • Where: Edina.

This modest but moving indie ensemble piece puts three estimable actors in a convertible, sets them on a long drive to post-Katrina Louisiana and lets the character dynamics do the rest.

William Hurt brings a world of silent hurt to the role of an ex-con who picks up aimless, fidgety teen Kristen Stewart and her dorky would-be boyfriend, Eddie Redmayne. Their sentimental journey in Redmayne's ancient Ford LTD is fueled by Hurt's flashbacks of Maria Bello, the ex-lover who may or may not have something to do with his prison time. The three strangers open up to one another by degrees. The story meanders a bit as we puzzle over Hurt's motivation. Is he running away from something or toward something?

The healing family unit that evolves among the strangers is heartwarming, and the ravishing cinematography by Chris Menges ("The Mission") gives the southern locations a lush atmospheric beauty, whether they're stands of oaks or urban jungle. If "The Notebook" had you reaching for your handkerchief, this is your movie.

COLIN COVERT

THE ART OF THE STEAL

★★★ out of four stars

Not ratedWhere: Edina.

Money, power, race, a mansion stuffed with treasure, a city plagued by scandal -- about all that's missing from this hard-hitting documentary about a high-cultural brawl is a hot woman with a warm gun.

At the heart of the movie, energetically directed by Don Argott, is the celebrated Barnes Foundation in suburban Philadelphia (here, a city of brotherly loathing), which houses more than $25 billion worth of art amassed by a working-class striver, Dr. Albert Barnes. His will stipulated that the collection remain in its original locale, far from the Philadelphia elite he despised. That didn't stop those who want it to be more accessible -- and, of course, a lucrative tourist attraction. Construction began last year on a new central Philadelphia home for the foundation, though the legal fight continues.

Argott stacks the deck in favor of the collection staying put. While his bias enlivens the movie -- nothing perks up talking heads like outrage -- it eventually weakens it, and he gives us too-brief peeks inside the Barnes. Even so, "The Art of the Steal" is often very fine. Marshaling a wealth of archival and new material, it made me want to hop on a plane to Philadelphia to see the original before it's emptied.

MANOHLA DARGIS, NEW YORK TIMES

SHE'S OUT OF MY LEAGUE

★★ out of four stars

Rating: R for language and sexual content.

Kirk is so bird-chested he doesn't even fill out his TSA airport security uniform. He drives a battered Neon, has next to no ambition and apologizes to one and all at the drop of a hat -- even if it was somebody else's hat.

Women walk all over him. "You're a moodle -- a man poodle," his pal Stainer complains.

And Molly, the blonde who has a law degree but would rather be a high-end event planner? "She's a hard 10," Stainer notes. "A hard 10." What on earth could she see in Kirk?

Sweet-spirited and well acted, this comedy takes that loser guy/hot girlfriend cliche around the block a few more times. There are a few sensitive scenes, but it's the big blasts of raunch that deliver its laughs.

Jay Baruchel ("Knocked Up," "Tropic Thunder") plays Kirk, who is just witty enough that we can almost believe that the stunning Molly (Alice Eve) would give him the time of day after she leaves her phone at airport security and he chivalrously delivers it to her at a swanky party. "She's Out of My League" demonstrates that the Judd Apatow blend of sweet and crude can be photocopied, even by the guys who scripted "Sex Drive."

ROGER MOORE, ORLANDO SENTINEL

OUR FAMILY WEDDING

★ 1/2 out of four stars

Rating: R for sexual content, brief strong language.

Built on fill-in-the-blank wedding comedy cliches, this cute yet coarse culture-clash comedy leaves few stereotypes unuttered.

America Ferrera and Lance Gross are cohabitating New Yorkers who trek back to L.A. to surprise their families with the news that, yes, they've been dating outside their races and cultures and, yes, they're getting married.

Since their successful dads (Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia) are as quick to play the race card as they are to blurt out "You people," this could get messy. And interesting. Only it doesn't. This meek little comedy doesn't have the wit to take things into uncomfortable territory -- though Whitaker is game as a womanizing DJ who won't let his son or his lawyer (the superb Regina King) get too close, and isn't afraid to mix it up with the bland Mencia.

"Our Family Wedding" is like an iffy marriage: It begins with a little promise and a hint of edge before the air goes out.

ROGER MOORE, ORLANDO SENTINEL

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