Reviewers lambasted Brad Silberling’s drama about a couple dealing with their daughter’s murder. To be sure, Silberling pushes every emotional button in the book, but that doesn’t stop Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon from giving performances of quiet strength as a grieving husband and wife.
Most of the film actually falls on the shoulders of Jake Gyllenhaal as the dead girl’s fiance. As a young man with a secret, he holds his own against Oscar-winning costars who have been stealing scenes since before he was born.
‘‘Inspector Gadget 2’’: PG, 2003. Disney. VHS: $22.99 srp; DVD: $29.99 srp.
A few years back, Matthew Broderick had a ball as a mildmannered crime fighter wired head to toe with the latest crime-fighting tools. Director Alex Zamm should have left well enough alone. For this direct-to-video sequel, French Stewart steps into Broderick’s shoes, but it’s for naught. Stewart doesn’t have enough appeal as a leading man to play this nutty detective, who has more villain-squelching gizmos than a dozen James Bonds. Caitlin Wachs is the film’s blood-and-flesh romantic interest; Elaine Hendrix is a comely robot who also turns Stewart’s easily distracted head.
‘‘I Spy’’: PG-13, 2002. Columbia TriStar, VHS: Priced for rental; DVD: $27.94 srp.
In the 1960s, Bill Cosby and Robert Culp co-starred in a groundbreaking TV spy series that was crisp, cool and clever — everything this feature remake isn’t. As a super agent and a boxer-turned-reluctantspy, Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy fail to duplicate the series’ hipness for director Betty Thomas.
‘‘Swimfan’’: PG-13, 2002. 20 th Century Fox. VHS: Priced for rental; DVD: $27.98 srp.
Jesse Bradford is saddled with this a very adult situation, too adult for the screenplay’s high school setting. He’s a swim champ whose chances at going to Stanford are jeopardized by the new girl in town (Erika Christensen). She’s obviously seen ‘‘Fatal Attraction’’ too many times, as she wrongly thinks she can have any guy she wants. That kind of thinking can get a gal in big trouble as it does here in this painfully predictable thriller by John Polson.
‘‘White Oleander’’: PG-13, 2002. Warner. VHS: Priced for rental; DVD: $27.95 srp.
As she did in last year’s ‘‘I Am Sam,’’ Michelle Pfeiffer tries too hard to be Oscarworthy in this drama by Peter Kosminsky. Janet Fitch’s story is rich with potentially rewarding drama, that of a girl trying to make her own way while her mom (Pfeiffer) is in prison for murder. As the girl, Alison Lohman gives her best, as do Robin Wright Penn and Renee Zellweger as foster moms. Despite all the fine actresses, the film just doesn’t gel, which explains way it didn’t catch on in theaters despite being top-heavy with stars.
DVD Pick of the Week: ‘‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’’:
(Unrated, 1951. 20 th Century Fox, $19.98 srp).
Few sci-fi films grow more impressive with time, but this is one of them, thanks to Robert Wise’s deft direction. Michael Rennie is an allknowing alien who arrives in D.C. with an anti-nuclear weapons warning for earthlings. Although the message is timelier than ever, Bernard Herrmann’s ominous score and Edmund North’s script also stand the test of time. With Wise commenting on his landmark achievement, this is a must-have DVD for fans of sci-fi films.