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We Recommend:Arctic Tale, Becoming Jane, Bourne Ultimatum and No End in Sight

The Saturday Night Live comedy trio of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer—collectively known as The Lonely Island—shot to the heights of YouTube celebrity with their parody music videos (including the immortal "Lazy Sunday," a.k.a. "The Chronic of Narnia"). Unfortunately, their aggressively silly debut feature film, which stars Samberg as an amateur motorcycle stuntman who dreams of Evel Knievel-style glory, more immediately recalls a different sort of viral video—the ones where anomic suburban teens film themselves engaging in backyard wrestling throwdowns and other sub-Jackass antics. It's not that Hot Rod, which Schaffer directed from a script (by Pam Brady) originally conceived as a Will Ferrell vehicle, doesn't have its moments: I dug the Flashdance-style training montages in which Samberg readies himself for a death-defying 15-bus leap, and I found it hard to resist the movie's '80s nostalgia (running the gamut from the long-forgotten Paul Rodriguez comedy The Whoopee Boys to the musical stylings of Europe). But like so many movies from the SNL factory, there are perhaps 10 to 15 minutes of good, gag-worthy material here stretched out to interminable lengths. Or to put it another way: It's a very small d**k in an oversized box. (Scott Foundas) (Countywide)

A cross between Dekalog and The Meaning of Life, though without the poignant curiosity of the former or the anarchic fury of the latter, The Ten is a star-studded, half-baked, take-it-or-leave-it "goof" on The Ten Commandments, in the parlance of co-writer Ken Marino's surgeon, who's keen on leaving instruments inside his patients' bodies because it makes him giggle. (He's the "thou shalt not kill" commandment, natch.) It's divided into skits pasted together by Paul Rudd-delivered monologues interrupted by his wife (Famke Janssen) and lover (Jessica Alba), and it features recurring characters (played by the likes of Winona Ryder, co-writer Marino, Rob Corddry, Liev Schreiber and others) who glide in and out of sketches like partygoers in search of someone more interesting to talk to. As it was made by David Wain and Marino—the men who brung you Wet Hot American Summer, a film whose sole ambition was to remake Meatballs—it ain't all that interested in theological discussions, merely eliciting a few giggles as it travels down a darkly comic trail in need of a burning bush—unless you count the prison sequence full of "man rape" references. (Robert Wilonsky) (Edwards University, Irvine)


This film was not screened in time for our reviewers. (Countywide)

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