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May 16, 2008

Capsules by Michael Sragow or Chris Kaltenbach, unless noted. Full reviews are at baltimoresun.com/movies.

Baby Mama -- Tina Fey inhabits what should be her comfort zone as a career woman who decides to use a surrogate to have a baby and ends up with raucous, declasse Amy Poehler. As the movie makes its way toward a denouement that leaves everyone happy-ever-after, the film feels emptier than your typical successful high-concept comedy. Part of the problem is the center will not hold: The TV stars are outmatched by a strong supporting cast (Greg Kinnear, Maura Tierney, Holland Taylor, Steve Martin, Sigourney Weaver and more). (M.S.) PG-13 96 minutes C

The Forbidden Kingdom -- A South Boston kung-fu fan (Michael Angarano) stumbles on an antique staff that catapults him into a medieval Chinese-fantasy universe of soldier monks witches and immortals. Jackie Chan and Jet Li make a splendid comedy-action team in a spectacle that showers affectionate irreverence on martial-arts classics as well as kitsch milestones like The Karate Kid. (M.S.) PG-13 113 minutes B+

Forgetting Sarah Marshall -- A slobby composer (Jason Segel) who gets dumped by his sleek TV-star girlfriend (Kristen Bell) heads for a Hawaiian resort and finds her there with her new lover. This movie is like a long night at a friendly saloon; it's erratic but replete with wayward charms. Mila Kunis is a knockout as the girl the anti-hero gets on the rebound. (M.S.) R 110 minutes B

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay -- In this sequel, roommates Harold and Kumar set off for Amsterdam, the Netherlands, so Harold can chase the woman of his dreams while the lads can smoke all the weed they desire. On the plane, Kumar hauls out a homemade bong, which is mistaken for a bomb. Off to Gitmo! You'll smile at some bits, wince through many others. (Chicago Tribune) R 102 minutes C-

Iron Man -- Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark, a self-absorbed munitions tycoon who gets kidnapped by enemy weapons dealers and creates new-millennial armor that turns him into a superhero. What gives the movie its lift is that it plays these changes for humor as well as risk and pathos. Iron Man never falls into the trap of winking at the audience - the only thing "arch" about it is its villain - and it never seems overcalculated, either. So far this spring, as far as live-action would-be blockbusters go, all that glitters is iron. (M.S.) PG-13 120 minutes A-

Made of Honor -- Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan and Kevin McKidd star in what is the male version of My Best Friend's Wedding (1997). Tom (Dempsey) only realizes that his friend Hannah (Monaghan) is the one for him after she announces that she's engaged to be married to Colin (McKidd). Unaware of Tom's new interest in her, Hannah asks him to be her maid of honor. Tom agrees because he is determined to sabotage this wedding. (Los Angeles Times) PG-13 101-minutes C

Speed Racer -- In this live-actor version of the Japanese cartoon, an auto-racing champ named Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) takes on the sleazy corporate giants who control the sport. The writing-directing Wachowski brothers - Andy and Larry - create a psychedelic candy store, but it's a family film done as a trip film - and it is a trip, but it's a bad trip. (M.S.) PG 129 minutes C

Then She Found Me -- A schoolteacher aching for a baby gets dumped by her husband (Matthew Broderick), courted by a single dad (Colin Firth) and found by her birth mother (Bette Midler). As the director and co-writer of this film, as well as its star, all Helen Hunt has done is locate - and then only intermittently - the strangled laughter in some interconnected sob stories. (M.S.) R 100 minutes. C

What Happens in Vegas -- After drunken nuptials in Vegas, a slacker (Ashton Kutcher) and a go-getter (Cameron Diaz) win $3 million and are sentenced to "six months hard marriage" before they can get an annulment. Like a numb-skulled high-school comedy geek working off adolescent sexual heat with coarse gags and innuendo, the film has its head in the toilet and its hands in the lingerie drawer. (M.S.) PG-13 99 minutes D

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