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'SWEET NOVEMBER' LEAVES A SOUR TASTE

Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron star in "The Devil's Advocate II: Reeves' and Theron's Bogus Movie."

Reeves is Nelson Moss, the successful advertising executive. He's on the fast track to having-it-all-dom. Hopefully acting classes are first on the list. Theron is Sara Deever, the San Francisco free-spirit vegan who eats eggs. She suffers from phantom money syndrome (no job, great apartment). They're on a collision course with mediocrity and life-sucking depression in the new romantic joy destroyer, "Sweet November."

After a sour first encounter at the Department of Motor Vehicles (what other kind of encounter could you have at the DMV?), Theron decides to make Reeves her November project. She must save him from all that money and a great apartment by moving him into her apartment for one month. There are no television sets, phones, watches or matching wardrobes here. After one month he must leave a better person and presumably never see Theron again. The movie attempts to add depth to the gimmicky plot by explaining that she has so many uncontrollables in her life that she needs to control her opposite-sex relationships -- one month, the end. Nice try; this explanation is only briefly glossed over as an afterthought.

At first Reeves is less than receptive of the idea, but luckily for plot advancement, he immediately loses his job and his girlfriend in one shot, effectively freeing him up for bohemian exile. By the end of November, Reeves has been transformed into a better person. He learns to abandon responsibility and discovers that using a model submarine is a great way to sabotage toy boat races for children.

Early on, Reeves asks his captor why her hobby lasts for one month, Theron replies that it's long enough to make changes but short enough to avoid a messy and emotional break-up. Sure enough the relationship becomes messy and emotional. He wants marriage, she never wants to see him again and that's when the bombshell hits. We learn of a deadly secret that threatens their tranquility, and then the English colonel from "The Patriot" (Yambo champion Jason Isaacs) shows up in a dress.

By the end of the film moviegoers are debating if they should end their lives right there in the theater or wait until they get home to do it.

"Sweet November" is like "Romeo and Juliet," only more tragic. It was directed by Pat "Circle of Friends" O'Connor and based on a screenplay penned several years ago by Jack Kevorkian who was heard complaining about how slow business was just days before he wrote it.

There are a few good points to "Sweet November." It isn't "Johnny Pneumonic" and a surfing Patrick Swayze was nowhere to be seen. The movie is shameless in its attempt to weave an emotionally rich story. The ending is almost criminal; not even Clinton would pardon it and President Bush has described the flick as a "depressity."

The Message: "Sweet November" dares Reeves to act and the audience to ever feel happiness again.

RATING: 1 STAR out of 4

Janet Bossard is a senior at Olean High School.

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