Boys & Girls ( Dimension ) : This unsexy comedy, which begins and ends on an airplane, ought to come with an airsickness bag. By the time Ryan ( Freddie Prinze Jr ) and Jennifer ( Claire Forlani ) fall in love and into bed, you will probably have your head between your knees gasping for air. Bad wigs, bad dance sequences ( do straight people still do line-dances? ) , bad writing, and bad acting combine to make this an early contender for one of the worst movies of the year. Sure, San Francisco looks lovely in the scenes shot on location. But where did they hide all of the gay people? And the lesbian kiss, between Jennifer and her roommate Amy ( Amanda Detmer ) , was obviously meant to be titillating for the straight frat-boy crowd who will be dragged to this movie by their unsuspecting girlfriends. Romantically pairing up Prinze and Jason Biggs ( as his dorm-mate Hunter ) , and calling the movie Boys & Boys would have been a definite improvement, because at least they had on-screen chemistry. On a scale of 1 to 10: 1
Shaft ( Paramount Pictures ) : Walter Williams ( The Velvet Goldmine & American Psycho's Christian Bale ) , the son of a powerful real estate developer, who committed a racially motivated murder, returns to New York after a two-year flight from justice, and police officer John Shaft ( Samuel L. Jackson ) is waiting for him. When he is freed on bond, a disgusted and frustrated Shaft leaves the police force and attempts to bring about his own brand of justice, raising the question of whether he's now less dangerous or more dangerous than when he was carrying a badge.
With Isaac Hayes singing the movie theme song ( again ) and Richard Roundtree ( the original John Shaft ) , playing the new Shaft's uncle, it might appear that director John Singleton was concerned about the credibility of his movie. He shouldn't have worried.
Jackson's Shaft is "still the man," as the movie's tagline puts it. On a scale of 1 to 10: 5. Starts this weekend.
Out Of The Past ( Candide Media Works ) : Director Jeff Dupre's excellent 1997 documentary finds parallels between modern-day lesbian/gay-rights activist Kelli Peterson and her forebears. Peterson, the found of the "Gay-Straight Alliance" at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, was at the center of a controversy when protests regarding her school club made it all the way to floor of the state capital during the mid-1990s and her story is presented via interviews with the well-spoken and intelligent young woman, as well as news footage from the time. The stories of some of her predecessors, including Michael Wigglesworth, Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Adams Fields, Henry Gerber, Bayard Rustin, and Barbara Gittings make for interesting subject matter and help to put Peterson's work into historic perspective in regards to the ongoing struggle for lesbian and gay rights. Linda Hunt provides the narration and actors such as Cherry Jones, Stephen Spinella, Gwynneth Paltrow, Edward Norton, and Leland Gantt are the voices of Fields, Wigglesworth, Jewett, Gerber and Rustin for the dramatizations. On a scale of 1 to 10: 8. On PBS June 30.
Reeling 2000: The 20th Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival is hosting a special benefit screening of But I'm A Cheerleader, Wed., June 28, Pipers Alley, 1608 N. Wells, 7 p.m. reception, 8 p.m. screening. Tickets are $15, available at Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark, ( 773 ) 293-1447. Jamie Babbit's debut feature is a "candy-colored satire about the absurdity of 'curing' homosexuality." Megan ( Natasha Lyonne ) is a model teen—but when friends and parents begin to notice things of concern, they band together to "save" Megan from lesbianism. They send her to "rehab" camp, run by RuPaul Charles.