IN A week when a movie called Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo provides most of the fun, you can guess what the rest of the competition's like. A lowly aquarium cleaner, Deuce (Rob Schneider) needs to raise money fast, having accidentally trashed the apartment he's been housesitting. Under the tutelage of a pimp (Eddie Griffin) he is set to work as a gigolo (or "man-whore") for a range of difficult clients - one's obese, one's a narcoleptic, another has Tourette's Syndrome - but Deuce somehow keeps the cash rolling in.
Tricked out with a fetid array of sex and toilet jokes, not to mention risky jibes at the disabled, Deuce Bigalow continues a recent movie trend - we could perhaps call it the New Moronism - pioneered by the Farrelly Brothers and Adam Sandler (an executive producer here) and designed to stretch the limits of bad taste. The early scenes, which had the press screening in a roar, aren't sustained over 90 minutes, but some of the slapstick and Schneider's goofball incom-petence exudes appeal.
Honest (below) represents a vertiginous fall from grace, not for movie debutants All Saints (though they're bad enough) but for co- writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. That this half-witted farrago of crime-caper cliches derives from the same men who once wrote The Likely Lads and Porridge hardly bears thinking about. How could they? The story, set in a palpably synthetic Sixties London, casts Melanie Blatt and the Appleton sisters as a trio of East End girls who take to a life of crime in order to escape their impoverished background, though their preparation for a robbery hardly inspires respect: why bother plastering on fake beards if they're also going to wear masks? Dave Stewart, the hirsute half of Eurythmics, directs at lead-boots pace, helplessly exposing his own limitations and those of his stars. One must assume there's heavy irony in the title: "Self-Deluding" would be a more pertinent, if less euphonious adjective.
After his restrained turn as Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator, Richard Harris is back to familiar scenery-chewing mode in To Walk With Lions, raging like an Old Testament prophet as real-life conservationist, George Adamson. Lobster-skinned and snowy-haired, he's retreated to his Kenyan reserve to help reintroduce captive lions into the wild, now under threat from the depredations of Somalian poachers. The story focuses upon the paternal relationship Adamson developed with Tony Fitzjohn (John Michie), a boozy slacker from London who became his assistant. Carl Schultz's foursquare direction and Keith Ross Leckie's script do a competent if uninspiring job; it might have been preferable just to leave us with our memories of Born Free.
The title character of Ben Hopkins's directorial debut, Simon Magus, is a holy fool-cum-babbling outcast from a village in late 19th-century Silesia, where economic adversity has hit the populace hard. Simon is played by the Australian actor Noah Taylor, whose performance as the young David Helfgott in Shine has evidently given him a taste for the damaged and dysfunctional. …