Picks and Pans Review: Also Playing

updated 05/24/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/24/2004 01:00AM

Breakin' All the Rules

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It's boy cons girl and vice versa in a genial but familiar romantic comedy. A likable Jamie Foxx stars as a magazine editor in L.A. who, after being dumped by his girlfriend, writes a how-to bestseller laying out rules for breaking up. He promptly falls for his cousin's girlfriend (Gabrielle Union), and she for him, though they keep playing time-wasting games with each other until love conquers all. Morris Chestnut, Jennifer Esposito and Peter MacNicol costar. (PG-13)

A Slipping Down Life

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Although it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999, the theatrical release of this wishy-washy but well-acted adaptation of a 1970 Anne Tyler novel was held up until now by a behind-the-scenes dispute. Life adds another polished link to actress Lili Taylor's chain of quirky characters. Here she is compelling as a troubled young woman who carves the name of a local rocker (Guy Pearce) into her forehead to show her devotion. (R)

Strayed

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A 17-year-old orphan attaches himself to an attractive widow (Emmanuelle Béart), as she and her children flee occupied Paris for the countryside at the start of WWII. A twisted kind of love and, eventually, betrayal follow in an intriguing drama from director-cowriter André Téchiné. (In French with English subtitles) (Not rated)

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