Picks and Pans Review: Also Playing

updated 12/24/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/24/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR Gliding along on the potent charm of Tom Hanks (left, with Julia Roberts), War tells with comic brio how a debonair Congressman from Texas single-handedly pushed through funding for a covert war in Afghanistan two decades ago against the Russians. Written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and directed by Mike Nichols (Closer), the film is breezily entertaining, though the next day you'll barely recall it. Roberts is slyly amusing as a sexy socialite. (R)

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THE GREAT DEBATERS Denzel Washington (right) both stars in and directs a worthy drama, which tells the true story of how a debate team at a small, black Texas college won national fame in the mid-1930s. The film raises issues still relevant today and boasts a bright young cast, including Jurnee Smollett and Denzel Whitaker. (PG-13)

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P.S. I LOVE YOU This mawkish misfire about a new widow proves that Hilary Swank (flanked by Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon) sadly lacks the "adorable" gene needed to be a romantic comedy heroine. (PG-13)

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