<preform>Hitch (12A)</br>Flight of the Phoenix (12A)</br>Somersault (15)</br>Ma M&egrave;re (18)</br>Boogeyman (15)</br>Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies (15)</preform>

The love doctor will see you now...
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The Independent Culture

Will Smith stars in Hitch (12A) as Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, New York's premier "date doctor". With the slogan "No guile, no girl", he guarantees that any man who follows his training programme will make an indelible first impression on the woman of his dreams. But can Hitch really play Cupid for a pudgy accountant and a gorgeous socialite? And will a shapely gossip columnist (Eva Mendes) get the date doctor struck off? The film is as slick, professional and affable as its hero, and it exploits Smith's easy charm to the full. However, his superhuman likeability eventually becomes a hitch.

Will Smith stars in Hitch (12A) as Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, New York's premier "date doctor". With the slogan "No guile, no girl", he guarantees that any man who follows his training programme will make an indelible first impression on the woman of his dreams. But can Hitch really play Cupid for a pudgy accountant and a gorgeous socialite? And will a shapely gossip columnist (Eva Mendes) get the date doctor struck off? The film is as slick, professional and affable as its hero, and it exploits Smith's easy charm to the full. However, his superhuman likeability eventually becomes a hitch.

It's impossible to believe such an amiable goofball could also be a scarred, guarded loner who's given up on love himself, so the film squashes the life out of the snappy screwball comedy by attempting to stack a heavy romantic drama on top of it.

In Flight of the Phoenix (12A), starring Dennis Quaid, a cargo plane crash-lands in the Gobi desert with a dozen passengers onboard, and their only hope of survival is to build a new plane from the wreckage of the old one. Although it sounds like a reality TV show waiting to happen, Flight of the Phoenix is actually a remake of the 1965 film, and it's half an hour shorter: thanks to some zippy editing, it moves at quite a clip for a film about being stuck in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, one of the things that's been left on the cutting-room floor is characterisation. The movie, like the new plane, seems to be missing a few of its component parts.

Two erotic coming-of-age dramas reach our shores this week, both of which would have had Alfred Kinsey dropping his pen, and both of which prioritise arty filming above all else. Somersault (15) is about a troubled 16-year-old girl (Abbie Cornish) who runs away to a snowy Australian mountain town (who ever knew that such places existed?) to test her newfound sexual magnetism on the suspicious locals. Somersault won so many Australian Film Awards last year it made Million Dollar Baby's Oscar haul seem positively meagre, but it seems to have been rewarded principally for its atmospheric colour filtering and slow-motion reveries. Beyond these, the supporting characters are more interesting than the heroine.

In Ma Mère (18), a 17-year-old boy (Louis Garrel) visits his frostily seductive mother (Isabelle Huppert, of course) at her holiday home in the Canary Islands, where her friends introduce him to public sex, orgies and S&M. Why they should be so obliging is left vague - Ma Mère is much too sophisticated and aloof to bother with an explanation.

Produced by Sam Raimi, Boogeyman (15) dusts off the well-worn horror idea that the monsters in the cupboard which gave us nightmares when we were at bed-wetting age might come back to claim us when we're adults. It's utterly shameless in its use of every trick in the monster-movie manual. With its creaking floorboards and slamming doors, hooting owls and howling winds, Boogeymen tries everything short of creeping up behind you in the cinema and shouting, "Boo!". And I'm embarrassed to say that it works. There's a regrettable flurry of CGI at the end, but Boogeymen is an unusually frightening ghost-train ride.

Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies (15) is a fairly funny stoner comedy about two twentysomethings who smoke too much wacky baccy and then drive off in search of their favourite fast food. The fact that one of the heroes is a Korean-American and the other an Indian-American makes it one of the more radical Hollywood films of recent years.

n.barber@independent.co.uk

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