Disney's family classic Escape to Witch Mountain is a fun adventure with a crazy story that doesn't make a lot of sense. When a maniacal millionaire attempts to exploit a pair of orphaned children for their ESP ability, they escape from his compound and go on the run. Unfortunately the script is poorly written, and is full of exposition dumps. However, the film is saved by the tremendous screen presence of Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann, who have great chemistry together; as if they really were brother and sister. There's a certain charm and innocence to Escape to Witch Mountain, but it's hard to get past the shoddy filmmaking.
The cult '80s teen comedy Better Off Dead delivers some laughs but is unfocused. After his girlfriend breaks up with him Lane Myer losses his will to live, but comes up with a plan to win her back by skiing down the infamous K-12 mountain slope. Unfortunately, the plot is packed with tangents and superfluous subplots that don't payoff. Additionally, there's very little character development. Yet, the film has a good cast that includes John Cusack, Amanda Wyss, and Curtis Armstrong. And there are some fun comedy bits that work really well. It's held back by a weak script, but Better Off Dead does have its moments.
Kristen Bell stars in the romantic comedy When In Rome. The story follows a lovelorn art show manager named Beth who takes coins out of the mystical Fontana de Amore fountain, and soon discovers that doing so bound to her the love of the men who threw those coins into the fountain. Co-starring Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, and Danny DeVito, the film is full of great comedic performances. However, the plot is overly silly and has too many twists. Still, the lighthearted humor is fun and the film has a sincere message about love and romance. When In Rome nearly gets by on the charisma of its actors, but there's just too much goofiness to overcome.
Getting back to its roots, Police Academy 3: Back In Training moves the series in the right director but it comes up a bit short on laughs. When budget cuts force the state to close down one of its police academies, Commandant Lassard rounds up his best graduates to help him train his last class and to try to convince the state board to keep his academy open. Most of the cast from the last film return, but their performances are rather mediocre. The writing is also pretty weak, but the academy setting helps to make the screwball comedy work. Police Academy 3: Back In Training finds a fun and exciting way to continue the series, but the jokes are getting stale and are wearing thin.
Gung Ho is a brilliantly hilarious political satire from director Ron Howard. Starring Michael Keaton, Gedde Watanabe, George Wendt, John Turturro, and Mimi Rogers, the cast is quite strong and gives some really good performances; especially Keaton, who's comedic gold. The story follows a closed down car factory that gets reopened by a Japanese company, but the differences between the American and the Japanese work ethic soon puts the factory's future in jeopardy. The comedy is well-written and does an impressive job with the cultural humor. A good natured film about friendship and teamwork, Gung Ho is tremendously fun and entertaining.