Picks and Pans Review: Honey

updated 12/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, Joy Bryant

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This strictly-for-teens movie must set a record for midriff baring. It's a rare shot in which Alba's shapely midsection isn't both showing and undulating. It's not entirely gratuitous, given that Alba (TV's Dark Angel) is playing a dancer. When she gets her big break choreographing hip-hop videos, she doesn't snub her nice-guy suitor (Phifer), her homies or the needy kids back in her Bronx neighborhood. This is routine stuff, but every generation needs its Flashdance. (PG-13)

ANIMATED

The Triplets of Belleville

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Weird, wacky and pretty darn wonderful. That sums up this wildly fanciful, animated French film—featuring minimal dialogue—about a devoted grandmother's search for her kidnapped grandson. Aimed as much at adults as at children (it's probably too bizarre for younger kids), The Triplets of Belleville is a surrealistic journey that covers more colorful terrain than the Tour de France route one of its main characters sets out to conquer.

The bicycle racer would be the optimistically named Champion, whom we first meet when he's a sad little boy. An orphan, he has been adopted by his squat grandmother, Madame Souza. After she notices how he loves to ride his bike, the grandmother helps Champion train to become a racer. Eventually he enters the Tour de France but is kidnapped by criminals. Madame Souza, accompanied by her faithful hound Bruno, sets off to find her grandson. Along the way she encounters the three daffy "triplets" of the title, an aging trio of former music-hall singers who join in the rescue operation.

Triplets was written and directed by Sylvain Chomet. He exaggerates characters' physical traits (the adult Champion resembles a toothpick with a huge nose) but imbues them with enormous humanity. (PG-13)

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