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Mona Lisa Smile

Release Date: 
12/19/2003
Rated: 
MPAA: PG-13
Star Rating: 
5 out of 10
We’ll say one thing for Mona Lisa Smile—it’s a great setup for a porn flick.

Julia Roberts plays a rabble-rousing teacher at uptight Wellesley College for women, where she tries to teach her innocent, totally hot charges about life, love, and sudsy group bubble baths. (At least that’s what we saw.)

Smile wants desperately to be a girl-power Dead Poets Society but ultimately succumbs to the gravity of the chick-flick formula—and the star power of Roberts, who seems followed by heavenly soft light in every scene she hogs. But for all her scene chewing and famous snort-cackling, this is the movie in which Roberts passes the torch to three up-and-coming starlets. Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, and Maggie Gyllenhaal play, respectively, the Bitch, the Brain, and the Slut. All three are competent in their often two-dimensional roles, with Gyllenhaal standing out. And we’re not just saying that because we’re dating her. (Shhh…don’t let her know.)

There are worse ways to pacify your girlfriend than sitting through this two-hour tub of popcorn feminism. If anything, it will cancel out your dragging her to see The Matrix: Revolutions.