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Mercifully free of tongue-in-cheek meta-humor, "Escape Plan" is a likably lunkheaded meat-and-potatoes brawler that never pretends to be more sophisticated than it is, and though "Expendables"-level B.
The likably simpler characters, meanwhile, exist to utter important messages.
Just as Donald Miller's best-selling 2003 memoir sought to redefine Christianity for a hipper, looser generation of believers, so this likably low-key adaptation of "Blue Like Jazz" tries to deviate from the earnest, preachy norms of so much faith-based cinema.
But I'd wager most of it has to do with lead actor Tomas Lemarquis' performance, which is nicely contained, only punkishly provocative when Noi needs to make a point and likably light on expressions of self-pity .
Musa Syeed's first narrative feature, "Valley of Saints," is a likably low-key docudrama set in an attractive area of politically turbulent Kashmir.
But ``Bon Voyage,'' while likably clear-eyed about the nation's comic opera cowardice, also has some stirring things to say about French pride and pluck.
LuPone and Patinkin are in the same rarefied class of theater stars, but their present vehicle is merely likably friendly.
In a nutshell: Likably lumpy story of a loser's redemption, despite every Vegas underbelly cliche in the bookie's book.
Indeed, the actors' genially engaging rapport can only do so much to disguise the fact that the film is a consummate grief-coping fantasy, and Wasikowska's Annabel, however vivid and moving a presence, is ultimately a therapeutic construct for the benefit of the film's young hero (played likably enough by newcomer Hopper).
In a nutshell: Likably low-tech Christmas comedy about a man raised as an elf can't decide if it wants to be subversive or heartwarming, and winds up charming.
When devising lead characters, few modern romantic comedies seem to grasp the fine-line distinction between likably eccentric and exhaustingly neurotic, but McAdams fortunately lands on the right side of the equation here.