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The Blooming Box-Office
by Christopher Stone

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Clothed here, Segel showed his meat and potatoes in SARAH MARSHALL.

Clothed here, Segel showed his meat and potatoes in SARAH MARSHALL.
Match-Flickers, have you noticed the box-office's ongoing recession-resistant through the harshest financial winter in our lifetimes? How about that MADEA?

The award season is history and more than two-thirds of Winter 2009 is in the rear-view mirror. It's time to preview the blooming spring box-office.

For me, Spring match-flicking is a time for comedy, romance and whimsy. By the time the awards have gone home, I've had my fill of important, meaningful and relevant flicks. And I'm not quite ready to ingest the overblown, budget-heavy fare of summer. I want my spring movies to be somewhat frivolous consistently fun, or even a bit scary.

I LOVE YOU, MAN (March 20): Motion picture and television funny men, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, team up for this pastiche about an engaged man (Rudd) distressed because he hasn't a close bud to serve as Best Man for his upcoming nuptials.

Rudd and Segel are uninhibited actors who'll do, or say, just about
Will Zac Efron be Matthew Perry when he grows up?

Will Zac Efron be Matthew Perry when he grows up?
anything. Last year, the soft, plumpish, "I'll do anything for a laugh!" Segel subjected himself to extended full monty nudity in FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL.

I LOVE YOU. MAN sounds just like my cup of spring box-office tea. This brand of nonsense helps us forget the recession, the wars and the pervasive decline of Western Civilization for 90 or so minutes. Then, almost before we've left the multiplex, we've largely forgotten the whole thing. I'm there.

17 AGAIN (April 17, of course): is another movie that seems to reflect my idea of quintessential spring match-flicking. Can you imagine the mindless, madcap hilarity that ensues after a soon-to-be middle-aged Matthew Perry becomes a 17-year-old high school student again as embodied by Zac Efron? Mindless is the operative word here, but you know it's going to be cuter than hell.

FIGHTING (April 24): This is in-your-face drama, where the only laughs are of the unintentional kind, but watching small-town
McAdams is Guy Candy in STATE OF PLAY

McAdams is Guy Candy in STATE OF PLAY
Shawn MacArthur (Tatum Channing) take on The Big Apple with nothing more than pluck and bare-knuckles is worth the price of admission. Also appealing is the thought of seeing Terence Howard pull Channing's strings as the street-fighter's scam artist-cum manager, Harvey Boarden.

For those of you who prefer your Spring Box-Office more sophisticated and substantial, there's also plenty from which to choose.

Match-Flickers who crave art films with edge may want to see....

LITTLE ASHES (March 27): A Paul Morrison film, LITTLE ASHES presents TWILIGHT heartthrob, Robert Pattinson, as eccentric artist Salvador Dahli. In 1922, Madrid, the ambitious, youthful Dahli becomes involved in a scandalous threesome with his fellow university students Frederico and Luis. There's enough decadence and edge in this early 20th-Century story for even the strongest of hearts. With a little bit o' luck, this flick, like SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, the Oscar-winning Best Picture that
As WOLVERINE, Hugh Jackman launches B.O. Summer, May 1.

As WOLVERINE, Hugh Jackman launches B.O. Summer, May 1.
almost went straight-to-video, may become a Little Movie That Could.

STATE OF PLAY (April 17) may also be for whose who want substance to triumph over style in their Spring Box-Office choices. Russell Crowe packed on the pounds to play a hardened crime reporter in this dark tale of a charmed politician (Ben Affleck) who may be responsible for his assistant's murder. Comely Rachel McAdams is they Guy Candy here, so it's not all guns and guts.

SUNSHINE CLEANING (March 13): is another early Spring entry that foregoes the fluff. Oscar nominee Amy Adams, co-stars with Emily Blunt, in a gritty dramedy about sisters who start a crime-scene cleanup business as their vehicle for living the American Dream.

Be your Spring box-office taste light and airy, or sophisticated and substantive, enjoy the season's blooming attractions, and, remember: Box-Office summer starts even earlier than usual this year, May 1, with the release of Hugh Jackman's X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns

Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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