One-time indie ace Gary Winick's 'Letters to Juliet,' typical of his Hollywood efforts, features a down-the-middle, batting-practice speed pitch just waiting for audiences to take a big swing at it. Amanda Seyfried plays a lowly but dedicated fact-checker for The New Yorker dreaming of writing for the magazine one day. She's engaged to a passionate chef (Gael Garcia Bernal) who is about to open a new restaurant just weeks before their marriage. Grade C-.
You couldn't hope for a higher caliber sexploitation movie than Chloe, even if the sex thriller falls flatter than a day-old quiche. Atom Egoyan rekindles his lurking soft-core desires with a tawdry script by Eric Cressida Wilson, whose 2002 film 'Secretary' transcended a cultural movement of sexual identity. Audiences will have no such luck with this formulaic suspense picture about sexual deception. Grade: C-plus.
Lasse Hallstrom's adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel 'Dear John' places his usual relationship melodrama against the topical backdrop of wartime service. Sparks' stories are known for sentimental and soap-lite scripting, but Hallstrom's marks the first time that, as a critic, I came to understand the pejorative meaning of "chick flick." Grade: D-.