Michelle thought it was safe to get back in the water

Coyote Ugly (12) | David McNally, 100 mins Bring It On (15) | Peyton Reed, 82 mins The Little Vampire (U) | Ulrich Edel, 95 mins Nasty Neighbours (15) Debbie Isitt, 88 mins Bodywork (18) | Gareth Rhys Jones, 90 mins Drÿle de Félix (15) | Olivier Ducaste / Jaques Martineau, 82 mins Some Like It Hot (U) | Billy Wilder, 121 mins What Lies Beneath (15) | Robert Zemeckis, 130 mins
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The Independent Culture

Poor Michelle Pfeiffer. There aren't many leading men left in Hollywood for her to upstage. In her last film, she even had to fake an attraction to Bruce Willis. In Robert Zemeckis's What Lies Beneath, she gets her ears nibbled by Harrison Ford. The man is no longer hot to trot. Even when he is nibbling on her ears, he doesn't change his expression once. The leathery crags and concaves of his face permanently read: Lady, I'm anxious about everything, but you (and your ears) will get me through the night.

Poor Michelle Pfeiffer. There aren't many leading men left in Hollywood for her to upstage. In her last film, she even had to fake an attraction to Bruce Willis. In Robert Zemeckis's What Lies Beneath, she gets her ears nibbled by Harrison Ford. The man is no longer hot to trot. Even when he is nibbling on her ears, he doesn't change his expression once. The leathery crags and concaves of his face permanently read: Lady, I'm anxious about everything, but you (and your ears) will get me through the night.

As I said, poor Michelle. In the film she plays an affluent housewife who starts to hear whispering, starts to see something reflected in the bath water - another woman with wet hair. Or anyway, I think that's what she sees (I had my hands over my eyes). Michelle is married to a grumpy genetic scientist (Ford) and they have just moved to a new house. The wind taps on the windows. Pfeiffer grows those big pink roses that always look nearly dead. Her skin is thin, in places transparent; age has swollen her upper lip to look sort of bruised; her dry voice speaks of suffering. She looks almost abstract.

It's like a Stephen King short story. For a start, it's set in Vermont (America's Cornwall - a place full of empty summer houses, folk memory, haunted trees) and the marital home is by a huge, ebony lake. The film also shares the colours, the New England tone, of The Exorcist, The Omen and The Sixth Sense.

The opening 40 minutes of What Lies Beneath are tremendously classy - quiet and careful. Although the rest is full of terrible dead-ends and reversals, the film still has that restless Zemeckis edge. But it's a film that's certain it's a ghost story rather than a horror story, and one full of all the flatteringly mysterious things that mark that particular territory (like the amulet-selling village with a Native American name a few miles from Pfeiffer's house). Scary Hollywood films go very much one of two ways these days - the ironic teen splatter (ie the Scream trilogy), or this. The former belongs to California, and the latter to the East Coast. As audiences, we are asked to make our way to either camp.

Coyote Ugly is the kind of film that you watch sitting in a misanthropic fog of loathing. It's about a bit of totty who wants to be a song-writer. She goes to New York and gets a job serving shots in a bar with some other totty. All the totty dance on the bar and cheering punters chuck water over them. But although songwriter-totty is having a super time, she'd much rather be writing anthems for Celine Dion. Clearly, totty is barmy - but not as barmy as producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who tries to pass off the totty-gang as restless, free-wheeling, arrogant babes.

Bring It On stars Kirsten Dunst as a cheerleader who must dream up a new routine for her crew before the national championships. She turns to mime and experimental dance for inspiration, and the film follows the side-swiping and hairspray that makes up life as a walking pom-pom. It's a cute comedy, through which Dunst moves as perky as possible. And oddly it's a brand of perky that doesn't arouse your suspicions - you feel Dunst might be this merry at home (as opposed to face-down on her copy of Valley of the Dolls).

The Little Vampire is set in Scotland (where all houses are castles), and has that little blonde bundle from Jerry Maguire (Jonathan Lipnicki) playing an American kid, new to the area, who befriends a vampire boy whose dad is Richard E Grant. Rather like Coppola's Dracula, the film opens with a fantastic way-back-when sequence, featuring lots of passion and corsets and a hurricane. Lipniki, it turns out, must save the (friendly) vampires by foiling a hunter played by Jim Carter ( Eric the Viking), aka The Biggest Actor In The World - one of Carter's thighs could double as Nelson's Column. And what is Richard E Grant to do? How he contrives to make us forget Withnail! He implores us to, with his utterly sensible voice, full of technical command and fastidious articulation (actually, just like Withnail). He stands around looking edgily staunch (just like Withnail might, at a family function before he hits the trifle). It really is a worry.

Nasty Neighbours, once a hit stage play, is a negligible film, about warring neighbours in a Birmingham cul-de-sac. It stars Ricky Tomlinson (from The Royle Family) as the nice but twittering chap who comes to loathe the world as his vicious new neighbour (Phil Daniels) stamps on his pansies. In fact, it stars Tomlinson's nose, which seems to move in a hundred different directions and which the camera loves. Is that a stitch or a spot? A wart or a tear?

Bodywork, a British mess, is impossible to describe (ramshackle, tedious) and best left alone. Drÿle de Félix is a casual road movie, lovely in places, particularly its airy opening - an optimistic cycle-ride along the Dieppe coastline.

Some Like It Hot is being re-released in a new print. Yeah, yeah it's great and all the rest, but it's a troubling watch, really. Monroe (who'd agreed to make the film before looking at the script) didn't want to play a blonde too dumb to notice her best friends were men. She binged and binged, hoping to emerge too fat to star. But with her hair, so bright above all that bright flesh, she never looked more shockingly provocative. And, at moments, never more like Arthur Miller's description: "An agonised mixture of amusement and shame..."

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