VIDEO REVIEWS

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The Independent Culture
Babe: Pig in the City (U)

Universal, rental HH

If Babe had you snivelling into your handkerchief, Babe: Pig in the City will have you reaching for some pills and a bottle of Scotch. Within minutes, the nice Farmer Hoggett is in traction and his wife is accused of drug trafficking, bullied by bikers and thrown into jail. Babe, meanwhile, discovers the trials of urban living as he is mauled by a terrier, abused by an orang-utan and threatened with being turned into a pork pie. This dark sequel to Babe doesn't possess half the charm of its predecessor, though it contains brutal truths about man's inhumanity and will hold plenty of appeal for sadists.

Two Girls and a Guy (15)

Fox Pathe, rental HH

Two women stand on the doorstep of a Manhattan loft apartment each waiting for their boyfriend to return. When they discover that they share the same boyfriend, Blake Allen (Robert Downey Jnr), they break into his apartment and compare notes. On returning home, Allen borders on convincing as he tries to explain his way out of it. But just as we are going to get to the bottom of his duplicity, someone mentions a threesome. The plots is instantly cheapened as Allen is faced with the prospect of indulging in every man's fantasy. Sounds more like the director's wish fulfilment to me.

Funny Games (18)

Tartan, retail HHHH

Michael Haneke's prime thriller sees a middle-class family terrorised in their holiday home by a pair of fresh-faced boys (Frank Giering and Arno Frisch). Dressed as if they are ready for a game of tennis, the two pals inveigle their way into the family's home on the pretext of borrowing eggs. The slow build-up affords an air of creeping tension and is indicative of Haneke's downbeat approach. Most of the violence occurs briskly and off-screen, though the real horror of Funny Games lies in seeing what it is like to be in the mercy of a pair of happy-go-lucky torturers.

Bulworth (18)

Fox Pathe, rental H

Senator Bulworth (Warren Beatty) is fed up with his job. Full of self-loathing on the eve of the California elections, he hires a hitman to assassinate him. But with the end in sight and bereft of responsibility, he decides to tell it how it is to a black church congregation. More perplexing is that he communicates in what he evidently believes to be their dialect: rap. What begins as an interesting premise becomes too chaotic, and downright stupid, to be entertaining. The sight of Beatty waving his hands in the air like Ice Cube not only smacks of condescension, but is embarrassing to watch.

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