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Silly season

Spring pimps for summer
By PETER KEOUGH  |  March 9, 2010

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THE LOSERS Zoe Saldana stars in the movie adaptation of Andy Diggle's graphic-novel CIA thriller.

Enough of taking films seriously — now that the Oscars are over, let's get dumb. Such is the studio strategy for the next three months or so, a period that starts out with such intellectual feasts as Hot Tub Time Machine and reaches the heights of the art with Shrek Forever After. Indeed, the closest thing to hard-hitting drama might be Sex in the City 2. If this is spring, what will summer, the season of escapism, be like?

Okay, I exaggerate. Niels Arden Oplev's adaptation of Stieg Larsson's novel THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (March 19) is in Swedish with subtitles, so how lightweight can that be? It's a mystery about a pair of oddball sleuths investigating the disappearance of a girl on an island owned by an inbred family.

But good luck, Niels, because you'll be up against the likes of Andy Tennant's THE BOUNTY HUNTER (March 19), a wacky rom-com in which the title tough guy must bring in his bail-jumping ex-wife. It stars Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. And there's also DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (March 19), Thor Freudenthal's adaptation of Jeff Kinney's graphic novel about a nerdy high-school student starring Zachary Gordon.

More easy-on-the-cerebrum fare comes from Steve Pink's HOT TUB TIME MACHINE (March 26), in which John Cusack, Rob Corddry, and other check seekers play friends who return to their youth via the title tub. Neither will any mental heavy lifting be required by HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (March 26), Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois's 3-D animated adaptation of Cressida Cowell's children's book about Vikings and the title saurians, with Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera giving voice.

So now it's Good Friday, and also the fourth day of Passover — time to reflect. What better way than by taking in a fantasy about pagan gods? Louis Leterrier's CLASH OF THE TITANS (April 2) hopes to offer divine performances from Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Sam Worthington in a remake of the 1981 Olympian adventure.

Okay — that's enough religion. Back to the drawing board — i.e., graphic novels. Sylvain White's take on Andy Diggle's THE LOSERS (April 9) stars Zoe Saldana and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as members of a CIA black-ops team seeking revenge on those who betrayed them. And for the kids, there's Matthew Vaughan's adaptation of Mark Millar's KICK-ASS (April 16), in which a high-school kid decides to become the title superhero. At least Nicolas Cage will get some dough for his debts.

Yet no matter how deep we sink into silliness, we can't escape the economy. Oliver Stone returns to the scene of his 1987 film with WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (April 23), in which Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan join Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas from the original cast. And everybody's favorite superhero/billionaire returns in IRON MAN 2 (May 7), along with director Jon Favreau and cast members Robert Downey Jr., Paul Bettany, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Not enough sequels? Mike Mitchell concocts a nightmare scenario for SHREK FOREVER AFTER (May 21) in which the ogre is as bored with the franchise as everyone else and so makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin that puts him in a Bizarro version of Far Far Away. You'll hear the familiar voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, and Eddie Murphy. And though we have no details — other than the weary return of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon — for Michael Patrick King's SEX AND THE CITY 2 (May 28), it seems from the trailer that they somehow end up in the desert. The Skirt Locker?

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