Get Smart, The Love Guru aim for laughs

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THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM (PG-13) From the vintage movie posters fetishized in its opening title sequence to its dream pairing of martial arts icons Jackie Chan and Jet Li, The Forbidden Kingdom is nothing if not a kung fu fanboy's wet dream. The hero here, Jason (Michael Angarano), is very much representative of the film's target demographic (at least domestically) — a doughy white boy who worships at the altar of Bruce Lee — and the movie immediately jettisons logic and demands our total suspension of disbelief as it transports this modern misfit back to ancient China, where he's charged with returning an all-powerful staff to its rightful owner. Aiding him in this quest are a pair of kung-fu whizzes — an enigmatic monk (Li) and a wine-guzzling immortal (Chan) — and standing in the way are the minions of a particularly nasty and supernaturally endowed war lord (Collin Chou). Jet Li and Jackie Chan both do what they do best here. Chan, looking vaguely ludicrous under a wig of long dreadlocks, mugs and mixes goofy humor with impressive physical agility, while Li is all Zen-like calm and precision, even when fighting, a cool-as-ice presence who's only marginally less effective when he opens his mouth to speak. Also stars Bingbing Li and Yifei Liu. 1/2

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (R) The latest rom-com from the Judd Apatow Hit Factory, Forgetting Sarah Marshall stars Jason Segel (who also wrote the script) as a good-natured slacker on the rebound from an ex-girlfriend who keeps turning up to torment him. Also stars Kristen Bell, Mila Knis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader and Jonah Hill. (Not Reviewed)

THE HAPPENING (R) No one's talking much about the new M. Night Shyamalan movie, so all we can tell you is that the story concerns a family on the run from some sort of catastrophic, humanity-threatening event and that the stars are Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. Oh, and there's just the slightest possibility that some sort of twist ending might be involved. Also stars John Leguizamo. (Not Reviewed)

HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY (R) Everybody's favorite White Castle-loving stoners are back, and Guantanmo's got 'em. Stars John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, Paula Garces and Rob Corddry. (Not Reviewed)

HORTON HEARS A WHO! (G) Dr. Seuss is in the house again, with a feature-length adaptation of his tale about a very large elephant who gets in trouble when he pledges himself to protect a very tiny group of fellow creatures. Don't look between the lines for political allegories, and you might have a swell time. Featuring the voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett, Isla Fisher, Amy Poehler, Jaime Pressly and Seth Rogen. (Not Reviewed)

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (PG-13) A surprisingly satisfying return to form, the new Indiana Jones movie is an old-fashioned adventure so expertly crafted and consistently entertaining we barely have a moment to consider the empty calories. Set in 1957, exactly 19 years after the last installment took place, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull gives us a naturally aged Indy, wrinkled and graying but still iconic under that familiar fedora, much as an aging Humphrey Bogart (circa The African Queen) might have played him. The movie barrels along, delivering one super-charged set piece after another, sequences all the more remarkable for largely avoiding CGI and relying on proudly old-school building blocks like skillful, intricately orchestrated stunts and a well-placed camera. It's a perpetual motion machine as impressive as something like Speed Racer, but infinitely closer to the natural charms of Buster Keaton or Jackie Chan than to the vacuum-packed, post-Matrix shenanigans of the Wachowski Brothers. What computerized trickery is here is generally so seamlessly integrated into the action that we barely notice it, the one notable exception being the movie's finale, a lazily conceptualized mish-mash of digital explosions, big-eyed aliens and other elements rehashed from earlier Spielberg productions. It's an unbecoming send-off for a movie that for the most part manages to remain faithful to a formula while revitalizing itself through sheer energy and imagination. Also stars Cate Blanchette, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone and John Hurt. 3.5 stars

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