Film Capsules

In theaters this week

Seeking a Friend for the End of the WorldWhether he's a newly single man getting his horndog on in Crazy, Stupid, Love, or about ready to give up his title as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Steve Carell takes your most awkward, embarrassing, and downright regrettable love stories and turns them into something funny, touching, and downright pathetic. In this dark comedy, he plays Dodge, who's suddenly on his own just as an asteroid is plummeting toward Earth. His wife flees in terror, leaving him to die in the apocalypse all by himself. But Dodge, being a typical Carell everyman, hits the road in search of his high-school sweetheart, whom he hasn't seen in years, with neighbor Keira Knightley along for the ride. Armageddon standbys – looting, rioting, killing – collide with the jokes and the heaviness of the third act. It's not always an easy fit, but writer-director Lorene Scafaria pulls the best from Carell, who seems pretty comfortable with this whole end of the world business. (R)(Michael Gallucci)

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (PG) — The third outing in this increasingly tiresome animated franchise gives the penguins — along with their lemur and monkey co-stars, all originally supporting characters — more screen time. The focus is still on the main quartet of animals (voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith), still trying to find their way home to America and now traipsing across Europe as part of a traveling circus. But the movie only comes to life when the action shifts away from them. The plot and gags are basically variations on those found in the other two movies, with European landmarks standing in for the African plains and New York City streets. The few moments of inspiration and absurdity are, as Alex the lion tells the circus animals, just going through the motions. (Gallucci)

Prometheus (R) — Set roughly a quarter-century before Ripley's fateful space run, Prometheus follows a crew of explorers (played by Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, and Charlize Theron, among others) in search of nothing less than the origin of mankind on Earth. What they discover is a monumental testament to grand set design and spectacular CGI ... and a planet oozing with monsters directly related to the ones that destroyed the Nostromo. Bigger issues loom — faith, creationism — but the movie is smart and savvy with its scares, even if it doesn't pack the visceral punch of the first two terrific parts of the saga. Much of this has been covered before — the slow, scientific build-up, the alien-infested landscape, the robot crew member — but the mythos that Scott and the writers construct here open up a new world of possibilities. (Gallucci)

Rock of Ages (PG-13) — The razor-thin story in this musical — about an idealistic, fresh-off-the-bus bottle blonde (Julianne Hough) who lands a job at a club, falls for the musically confused busboy and, naturally, ends up a stripper -- feels like a glossy approximation of the 1980s Sunset Strip era and attitude it's supposed to pay homage to. In other words, it's a jumbo-sized Glee. Besides Russell Brand, who plays an assistant to Alec Baldwin's mom-jeans-sporting club owner, every single writhing body populating the joint looks like a professional pop dancer, especially Hough, who never stops glittering. And then there's Tom Cruise, who overstays his welcome as a booze-and-sex-obsessed rock god with the unbearably stupid name Stacee Jaxx. In the end, it's all just too goddamn much. (Justin Strout)

That's My Boy (R) - Andy Samberg plays the fruit of a raunchy student-teacher love affair, for which teen hooligan Donny Berger (Adam Sandler) provides the sperm. Decades later, tax evasion threatens to send Berger to the pen, forcing him to reconnect with the kid he royally fucked up. Neurotic Samberg has to cope with all of this while wedding his dream-girl-turned-incestuous-bitch (Leighton Meester). The plot aims for hilarity and totally misses. Despite one redeeming montage — a bachelor party culminating with Vanilla Ice pissing on himself — the humor otherwise pivots on racism and synonyms for dicks; Sandler's ability to deliver a crude laugh stops there. (Christina Sterbenz)

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