Monster-In-Law
dir. Luketic
Opens Fri May 13
Various Theaters

Jane Fonda is old, and J.Lo is a terrible actress. Michael Vartan is handsome, but he has absolutely no chemistry with J.Lo. And despite all that, Monster-In-Law isn't quite as bad as you'd expect.

The most interesting things in the flick come from Jane--an angry mother-in-law--as she battles J.Lo, who's engaged to her son (Vartan). It's a near battle to the death: The women trick, injure, and poison each other, desperately and futilely trying to prove that they're the one on top. At times, the sheer bizarreness of these two duking it out produces some good laughs. My favorite parts were the scenes where Jane and J.Lo blissfully imagine themselves kicking the living Christ out of each other. This brutal violence appears out of nowhere, and doesn't really fit with the rest of the film--but it wakes you up, and elevates the film above being just pure, cheesy, horribly titled garbage. It's more like pure, cheesy, horribly titled leftovers than actual garbage. KATIE SHIMER

Fearless Freaks
dir. Beesley
Opens Fri May 13
Hollywood Theatre

In Fearless Freaks, documentarian Brad Beesley shoulders the enviable task of making a movie about the Flaming Lips--easily one of the most visual, likeable, and well-respected rock bands of the last quarter century--and somehow, however admirably, fails. With over 400 hours of footage filmed and compiled from a decade's worth of immediate proximity, Fearless Freaks traces the Lips' unlikely rise over the last 15 years with respectful intimacy--weighted largely on the band's still-recent crossover from bizarre, blistering guitar rock to the bunnies and the confetti and the car commercials. There's tons of compelling, poignant, and beautiful footage throughout--trouble is, Beesley doesn't seem to have any idea what to do with it.

With a focus on the now-withered visage of Wayne Coyne and Co., Beesley somehow manages to make over 20 years of one of the American Underground's most brilliantly bizarre bands seem positively boring: Broad and confusing strokes are painted over the band's formative decade; their incredibly unlikely signing to Warner Brothers is treated like an inevitability; and the whole mess is weighed down heavily by a lot of superfluous "day-in-the-life-of" sequences manufactured for the film. There's probably a great film within Beesley's expansive footage. Fearless Freaks isn't it. ZAC PENNINGTON

Mindhunters
dir. Harlin
Opens Fri May 13
Various Theaters

Do you like to smoke pot and watch bad television? Do you enjoy the occasional bag of guacamole-flavored Doritos? Are you a person who drives to the Gap or Old Navy after seeing a particularly cute orange tunic on the commercial? Well then, you just might like Mindhunters.

I don't need every movie I see to be cinematic genius, and this film certainly isn't. That said, there are quite a few reasons to like it. Number One: LL Cool J is one of the stars, and he flexes his huge, sexy, bulging muscles a lot. Number Two: The film is set on an abandoned army-training island filled with creepy, shot-up mannequins and thousands of feral cats. Number Three: This is a whodunit film, and I didn't figure out who the killer was until the end. Number Four: There's a good deal of ridiculously gory death, much in the style of Final Destination, but not quite as hysterically funny.

Really, I don't have too much bad stuff to say about Mindhunters, other than it couldn't keep the suspense going for the entire running time, and starts to become laughable--but for me, that's not so bad, because I prefer not to be scared shitless when I'm walking out to my car. KATIE SHIMER