Lawn Dogs (15). Like any number of independent movies that have nothing much to say, John Duigan's latest takes aim at the moral bankruptcy of suburban America. The setting is a gated community called Camelot Gardens, a sea of manicured lawns populated by heartless, soulless half- wits. In the face of such vicious provincialism, we have no choice but to root for the kindred free spirits who figure in the film's central relationship - white-trash odd-jobber Trent (Sam Rockwell) and egalitarian pre-teen Devon (Mischa Barton, likeably precocious and the best thing here). The screenplay (by Naomi Wallace) treats Trent and Devon's friendship with some care, even if the inevitable sexual component is alternately dodged and sneakily exploited. Duigan, whose best work (Flirting, The Year My Voice Broke) tends to be self-scripted, pulls off a gutsy, somewhat nasty climax, followed by an impressively florid fantasy blow-out. Still, given the lacklustre build-up, they reg-ister as mere afterthoughts.
Kiss Me Guido (15). A straight, dumb, Italian- American stud from the Bronx (Nick Scotti) responds to a classified ad thinking that "GWM" stands for "Guy With Money" and ends up moving into an apartment with a gay choreographer (Anthony Barille). The ensuing culture-clash/mistaken-identity com-edy is predictably stereotype- driven, and if nothing else, stupid enough not to seem too offensive. First-time director Tony Vitale is also responsible for the very unfunny sub-sitcom script.
Waiting for Guffman (15). As the fictitious town of Blaine, Missouri celebrates its sesquicentenary, the local community theatre - led by a flamboyant, deeply delusional director - stages an awful musical called Red, White and Blaine. Christopher Guest's partly improvised mockumentary is quite funny in parts, but there's something a little smug and mean- spirited about its reliance on uniformly easy targets.