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Scenery saves sluggish 'Day'

"One Day" PG-13: Thank goodness for the London scenery in "One Day," because the long-delayed love match between Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) provides mostly forehead-banging frustration.

Many teens, especially girls, may find the frustration cathartic and the characters fascinating.

In the story, adapted by David Nicholls from his novel, Emma has a major crush on Dexter when they graduate from a university in the 1980s. There's clearly an attraction and a kinship, but Dexter, a handsome, privileged fellow, has wild oats to sow and later on much booze and cocaine to consume as he becomes a tacky TV host. Emma, from a much humbler background, struggles to be a writer while waiting tables, doubting her talent and enduring an unsatisfying relationship with a failed stand-up comic (Rafe Spall).

Emma and Dexter remain best friends and keep their relationship mostly platonic, while longing for each other secretly into their 30s. The episodic nature of the story, as we skip years and chapters, has charm at first but grows tiresome, and just when we want happiness, we get tears.

Dexter and Emma go skinny-dipping at one point, and there is distantly implied nudity. The story includes a couple of impending but nonexplicit sexual situations. Other themes touch on marital infidelity, alcoholism and drug use.

"Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 4D" PG: Kids 9 and older may totally get into this new chapter in director Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids" series, despite the tough reviews.

If you see it from a kids' point of view, all the silliness, jellybean-colored gadgetry and dorky adult dialogue is a kick. People seeing it in 3-D or plain old 2-D should receive scratch-and-sniff cards.

Numbered cues in the film tell you when to scratch each "sniff" to smell whatever the characters are smelling. There's gross-out humor involving vomit and baby poop, but what do you expect?

The film introduces two new spy-kids-to-be. They are siblings Cecil (Mason Cook), who is hearing impaired but can boost his hearing aids to do all sorts of high-tech hijinks, and Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard), who is a master of practical jokes aimed at their stepmother, Marissa (Jessica Alba) or their dad Wilbur (Joel McHale), a TV personality with a show about catching spies. What Wilbur and his kids don't know is that Marissa is a retired spy herself.

When the villainous Time Keeper (Jeremy Piven) fires up his Armageddon clock, the world is in danger of stopping dead. Marissa gets called back to work at OSS headquarters with her new baby on her hip.

Kids under 9 may occasionally cringe when our young heroes are inside the huge Armageddon clock and nearly felled by its sharp gears. Littler ones may also get nervous when the kids swoop through the sky by "jet luge" or fall down big holes. The chatter about time travel and quantum physics may also leave younger kids in the dust -- as well as parents. The film pointedly bats home a message about parents spending more time with their kids and less on their careers.

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