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The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

Everything isn’t awesome in this lackluster sequel
© Warner Bros. Animation The LEGO world is an apocalyptic wasteland after it’s invaded by the city-destroying DUPLOS.
      LEGO master builder Emmet (voiced by Christ Pratt) expects a prompt return to awesome after saving his world from evil President Business. Instead, a new and possibly more dangerous threat emerges as a new species invades the LEGO world.
      DUPLO blocks (the big LEGOS meant for toddlers) arrive in spaceships. Emmet tries to make friends with the invaders, but the babyish blocks throw tantrums that level city blocks. No matter how quickly Emmet and his friends rebuild, the DUPLO invaders destroy it faster. Finally the LEGOS give up and go into hiding.
      Five years later, the LEGO world is a wasteland. Everyone has skull tattoos and drives apocalyptic buggies through the vast desert that was once their world. All sparkly and fun things have been banned because they attract the destructive DUPLO invaders.
      Batman (Will Arnett) is not content to host his endangered species in his fortified Bat Cave. He has plans, most involving getting his best buddy/love interest Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) to move into a house he designed. 
      As for Emmet, Lucy thinks his optimism and innocence render him weak. She wants Emmet to grow up. 
      But when a DUPLO emissary kidnaps Lucy and Batman, only Emmet can find a way to save them.
      This rehash is, like its title, redundant. We get the same oversimplified messages, lickety-split pop culture references, old jokes and stale character interactions.
      A few elements, however, are new and inspired. As an amorphous queen Watevra Wa’Nabi, Tiffany Haddish is hilarious. She sings catchy tunes, quips with Batman and outsmarts nearly all the LEGO characters. She’s also a breath of fresh air when Emmet’s dopey nature and Lucy’s relentless gloom get stale.
      The other bit of inspired comedy is a spaceship crewed by velociraptors. These squalling dinos are surprisingly witty and, for nonverbal creatures, have great comic timing. A movie about the raptors’ adventures in space would likely be funnier than anything here.
      Director Mike Mitchell (Trolls) crafts brightly colored fun that will keep kids amused for two hours. Adults, however, won’t find as much to hold their attention.
Fair Animation • PG • 106 mins. 
~~~ New this Week ~~~
Alita: Battle Angel
       Dr. Ido (Christoph Waltz) picks through the garbage dumps of an apocalyptic world, seeking cyborg parts. He hits the jackpot when he comes across Alita (Rosa Salazar). Alita looks sweet, but she is a powerful cyborg with immense destruction capabilities.
      Repowered, Alita has no memory. Ido, who is raising her as a daughter, keeps her powers a secret. But as conditions worsen and ruthless bounty hunters search for Alita, Ido may have to tell his adoptive daughter who she was meant to be.
      A sci-fi movie about a tiny woman born to kick butt isn’t new territory. But this one might show you some amazing effects. Produced by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez, it uses an innovative motion-capture process to create the main character. 
      Tech is impressive; story and the acting less so. 
Prospects: Dim • PG-13 • 122 mins. 
Fighting With My Family
      The Knight family loves to fight. Raya (Florence Pugh) and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) grew up watching WWE tournaments in England and dreaming of becoming professional wrestlers.
      Eventually Raya and Zak try out for their dream job, expecting to become English wrestling sensations. Can the fighting Knights break into the American big leagues? Or are they doomed to be sidelined fans. 
      A great story about one woman living her dreams, Fighting With My Family should be funny and fun. Writer/director Stephen Merchant has proved his comic chops as a creator of The Office, producer Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has wrestling cred. For fans of quirky comedy or wrestling, this will be well worth the ticket. 
Prospects: Bright • PG-13 • 108 mins.
Happy Death Day 2 U
       Tree (Jessica Rothe) thought she’d finally escaped a repeating time loop by becoming a better person and defeating the maniac trying to kill her. So when she discovers her boyfriend’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) has invented a device that throws her into another loop, she’s upset. 
        Worse still, she’s in another dimension with a new killer.
        Can Tree survive another serial killer? Or is she doomed to die over and over again?
      This movie cleverly switches genres from slasher flick to sci-fi spoof, which gives the already thin premise a little room to grow. Despite little plot, the film entertains, thanks to another fantastic performance from Rothe, who makes Tree both hilarious and pugnacious.
       If you liked the first film, this sequel should entertain. 
Prospects: Flickering • PG-13 • 120 mins.
Isn’t It Romantic
      Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a cynic striving to make good at her New York architecture firm. She has no hopes for love and believes that romantic comedies have poisoned women into expecting too much from life.
      But after she hits her head, Natalie finds her life changed. Her closet is gorgeous, her apartment is filled with nice things and handsome men are interested in her. Her head injury has landed her in a romantic comedy. 
      Can Natalie find her way out of this predicament? Or is being the star of a romcom a decent gig?
       For romcom fans, this should be a fun send-up of the conventions that make the movies predictable and enjoyable. If it can avoid the trap of making its plus-sized star’s figure the brunt of all the jokes, it should be a good date-night flick for romantics. 
Prospects: Flickering • PG-13 • 88 mins.