Jewish World Review March 24, 2004 / 2 Nissan, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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Consumer Reports

The perils of film criticism; Dole-ing out compliments; but what about a cure for career lag?; more | NEW YORK — Was Rex Reed in the lobby during "Intermission"? I certainly wondered after reading the New York Observer film critic's enthusiastic rave of Irish director John Crowley's romantic comedy — which Reed last week called "a gritty tapestry embroidered with the light and dark chiaroscuro of wit and sorrow."

Problem is, the veteran critic so completely mangled the movie's main characters and plot that they are barely recognizable to fans of "Intermission." One fan e-mailed: "Reed writes that Colin Farrell plays Kelly Macdonald's boyfriend, when in fact Farrell plays a brutal criminal who beats her up and shoots the boyfriend. This is like confusing Anthony Hopkins with Jodie Foster in 'Silence of the Lambs.'

"No one who had watched the movie could make such a mistake. . . . Rex Reed is correct that the film is wonderful. Now I recommend that he go see it." On Tuesday, the 65-year-old Reed told me that he did see it — six months ago at the Toronto Film Festival.

"When I got back to New York, I had pages and pages of notes copied from press packets and menus and pieces of paper, and sometimes I just wrote from that verbatim," Reed explained. "You know how many movies I've seen since then? Hundreds!"

Reed continued: "In this case, it was pretty difficult for me to understand. I was writing all of this from napkins stained with chocolate. I think I was eating a Dove bar in the theater. I was really reaching back into my brain to try to remember what it was all about.

"This movie is playing three blocks from where I live, but I really didn't want to see it again. You know what? Maybe I should change my whole review and say, 'I don't like this movie at all.'"

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DOLE-ING OUT COMPLIMENTS: That was Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger at Michael's Monday telling former Sen. Bob Dole what a great admirer she is. "And I'm an admirer of you," Dole gallantly responded. Zellweger was having lunch at the bar with her publicist, Nancy Ryder. Dole, in the back room with Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, was in town shopping his book proposal about his World War II experiences and lunching with a rep from Rodale Press between meetings with Crown and a couple of other publishers. Dole's memoir, tentatively titled "A Veteran Remembers," will be based on around 400 recently discovered letters that he exchanged with members of his family at the time that he was severely wounded in Italy in April 1945 and during his subsequent recovery.

BUT WHAT ABOUT A CURE FOR CAREER LAG?: Apparently nobody is immune from jet lag — not even the movie stars who get around on private planes. "I don't really know how to deal with jet lag," Ben Affleck confides to InStyle magazine. "All I know is that if you travel to a place where you're 24 hours ahead or behind where you were, you kind of come out where you left off." Uma Thurman reveals that she fights jet lag "by getting out in the sunlight and drinking a lot of water." Tom Welling concurs: "Lots of water and sleep. The dehydration gets you." Scarlett Johansson advises: "Drink water, buy a Brookstone travel pillow, ask your doctor for a prescription of Ambien, and you'll be fine." Laura Linney advises: "Eat before you fly, don't eat anything on the plane, and drink only water, then take a two-hour nap. Trust me." Samuel L. Jackson says: "I try to sleep on the plane, and then I try to stay up until it's night where I am and go to sleep at the proper hour." And Demi Moore declares: "the best way to fight jet lag is to focus on the time zone I'm in — I just sort of get with it and get right into it."

GUESS WHO DIDN'T COME TO DINNER?: Given the feeding frenzy surrounding their recent obstruction of justice and conspiracy convictions, it was surprising to read in another gossip column that Peter Bacanovic was spotted publicly breaking bread with co-defendant Martha Stewart and several friends "at Jean-George Vongerichten's sexy new Spice Market." A very authoritative source tells me that the Domestic Diva and her former stockbroker haven't sat at the same dinner table in almost two years — let alone since Spice Market opened Feb. 13 in the Meatpacking District. "Peter Bacanovic hasn't had dinner with Martha Stewart in years," Bacanovic's spokesman Lou Colasuonno said Tuesday, adding that Bacanovic — who along with Stewart awaits sentencing in June — has been lying low on the West Coast for the past couple of weeks.

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02/13/04: John & Carolyn, redux; Zell Miller shows the flag; kill Quentin?; more
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07/21/03: White House smear?
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06/26/03: Rapping the beat
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06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
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© 2003, Creators Syndicate