1"THE ANIMAL." "Deuce Bigalow" star Rob Schneider plays a doofus who has most of his organs replaced by animal parts after an accident resulting in some, er, "beastly" behavior. If the "dumb and dumber" comedy genre has indeed run its course, don't look for this to reverse the trend. ~~
"MOULIN ROUGE." Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor play star-crossed lovers whose paths intersect at the titular 19th century Paris nightclub. Director Baz ("Romeo + Juliet") Luhrmann's attempt to revive the movie musical--using contemporary songs and period garb--is surely among the year's most audacious and ambitious gambles. So, why is it being released in summer? *
"WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?" Master thief Martin Lawrence and oily billionaire Danny DeVito wage high-stakes war over a stolen ring in this comedy based on a Donald Westlake novel. A lackluster trailer doesn't bode well, but Lawrence's devoted fan base should at least guarantee a decent opening weekend. ~~
8"EVOLUTION." Ivan ("Ghostbusters") Reitman ventures into "Men in Black" territory for this wigged-out sci-fi comedy about a race of pesky aliens itching for world domination. Doing their part to save the planet are David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Orlando Jones, and Seann William Scott. *
"SWORDFISH." In this high-concept action thriller, John Travolta returns to his "Face/Off" villainous mode to play a rogue government agent conspiring to fleece a D.E.A. slush fund. Aiding and abetting him are "X Men" mutants Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry. Trumbull County native Dominic Sena ("Gone in 60 Seconds") directed, so expect a stylish ride.
15"ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE." Disney's summer 'toon (from the creators of "Beauty and the Beast") explores the legendary lost city under the sea. Even with its promise of "bizarre creatures and flying machines," this looks awfully square next to the hip, frisky "Shrek."
"TOMB RAIDER." The increasingly annoying Angelina Jolie flexes her muscles in skimpy outfits (and dons a British accent) to play one-woman army Lara Croft in a film version of the popular videogame. No doubt the most eagerly awaited movie of the summer for adolescent boys with raging hormones. ~~
22"DR. DOLITTLE 2." Sequel to 1998's critically derided box-office winner promises more of the same two ingredients that made the original a favorite with kids of all ages (smart-alecky talking animals and an exasperated Eddie Murphy), but little else.
"THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS." Undercover cop Paul Walker ("The Skulls") infiltrates the world of L.A. street racing to crack a jewel robbery in the season's most testosterone-drenched action flick. Among those vrooming their engines are tough guy Vin Diesel ("Pitch Black") and "Girlfight" star Michelle Rodriguez.
29"A.I." Robot boy Haley Joel Osment suffers an identity crisis in writer/director Steven Spielberg's top-secret sci-fi fable (originally a project of the late Stanley Kubrick). Let's hope that Spielberg reins in his trademark sentimentality--or risk turning this into "Bicentennial Man 2." *
"BABY BOY." John Singleton returns to the South Central neighborhood immortalized in his classic 1991 debut, "Boyz N the Hood," for the story of a 20-year old dad still living with his mom. The latter's boyfriend, Ving Rhames, tries to impart some valuable life lessons along the way.