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Madonna Gets the Gate, and Bad Reviews

10/11/2002 12:00PM

There's good news and bad news for Madonna and her husband, British film director Guy Ritchie, at the start of this weekend.

First, the good: The two are no longer in trouble with the local landmarks committee over some large iron gates that the couple put up outside Ashcombe Estate, their English country mansion, Reuters reports.

Madonna, 44, and Ritchie, 34, who purchased the property last year, had the 12-foot high gates erected in June as a means to insure their privacy, only to be informed by the town council that they would need to seek retrospective permission for the addition. The reason was because their mansion, a $14.1 million, six-bedroom pile built in the 18th century, is a landmarked building.

But now the council has approved the gates, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Friday. A member was quoted as saying, "It was decided they did not have an adverse affect on the ... building."

Meanwhile, on the subject of approval, Madonna and Ritchie didn't get much of it for their new movie "Swept Away," which opens in theaters this weekend.

"The movie, lambasted in Ritchie's England, is as awful as you've heard and as bad as you've imagined," says Washington Post film critic Desson Howe. "The acting at the beginning borders on the laughable."

The New York Post gave it no stars, while A.O. Scott in The New York Times quickly dismissed it as "a soggy and superfluous motion picture."
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