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Think Different

Could it be that this year's crop of summer movies requires a brain cell or two?

American Wedding For all the so-called immorality that goes on in the American Pie movies, it now seems that in this third one, long-suffering protagonist Jim (Jason Biggs) will end up marrying the first and only girl he's ever had sex with (Alyson Hannigan). Cast members who've gotten progressively more expensive (Mena Suvari, Tara Reid, Chris Klein, Shannon Elizabeth, Natasha Lyonne) have been jettisoned, but Fred Willard (yes!) joins the series as Hannigan's dad. Bob Dylan's less famous son Jesse (How High) directs. (Universal)

Gigli At last you get to see it, folks: the movie that brought Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez together. What's the plot? Glad you asked: "B.Af" is Gigli, a hit man assigned to kidnap a retarded kid (Justin Bartha) and hold him for ransom. "J.Lo" is the lesbian hit woman assigned to baby-sit Gigli when it seems he won't be up to the job. Both become better (heterosexual) people thanks to the innocence and purity of their mentally challenged prisoner. Sounds like a blast, right? (Sony)

Freaky Friday Now in its umpteenth remake, the old "parent trades bodies with child" routine gets handed off to Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan (who also starred in the remake of The Parent Trap). Curiously, director Mark S. Waters made his debut with the perversely incestuous Parker Posey flick The House of Yes, so it'll be interesting to see if he can sneak any twisted subtext past the Disney folks. (Disney)

American SplendorThe popular favorite at this year's Sundance Festival mixes drama and documentary in its look at the life of Harvey Pekar, who chronicles his own true life story in a comic, also called American Splendor. Pekar appears as himself in the real-life segments; Paul Giamatti plays him in the re-enactments. Sounds like a tricky balance to pull off, but all indications are that the husband-and-wife directing team of Shari Berman and Bob Pulcini has done so with aplomb. (Fine Line)

Freddy vs. JasonThe walking corpse of a drowned redneck with Down's syndrome heads to Elm Street to take on a Kentucky Fried child-murderer who exists only in dreams. Fans of '80s slashers have awaited this showdown for more than a decade; given that most of the Freddy movies are pretty good and the Jason ones shoddy, there's a 50-50 chance of suckitude, especially since the producers totally dissed Kane Hodder by recasting Jason (with another stunt guy, no less). However, Hong Kong director Ronny Yu does have a track record of stylishly resurrecting '80s horror icons -- Bride of Chucky rocked. (New Line)

OT: Our Town Scott Hamilton Kennedy's video documentary about inner-city high schoolers putting on a play for the first time in 22 years isn't exactly objective, given that he cohabits with the gorgeous drama teacher at the movie's center. It's the kids' tale, though, and a triumphant one at that -- any pitch for the value of the arts in schools is a welcome one, especially when it's as eloquent as this. (Film Movement)

Uptown GirlsBrittany Murphy plays a New York socialite who becomes nanny to impress her boyfriend. Originally called Molly Gunn, which could have led to a cool sequel called Molly Gunn 2: Gunn Control. There's still hope. (MGM)

Thirteen Evan Rachel Wood stars in this shocking tale of juvenile delinquency in Los Angeles. Shocking, that is, if it never occurred to you that teenagers do drugs, have sex and use profanity. Co-screenwriter Nikki Reed is only 14, which puts her mental age a good two years higher than that of the average studio scribe. (Fox Searchlight)

Casa de los Babys Who cares what this one's about? Any movie with that title has to be worth a look. Okay, turns out it's directed by John Sayles, which makes it even more of a must-see. And check out the cast: Marcia Gay Harden, Lili Taylor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah, Mary Steenburgen and Rita Moreno. The story involves six women who go to South America to adopt babies, then find out that the law requires them to live there. (IFC)

Ken Park Self-appointed chronicler of juvenile delinquency Larry Clark teams up once again with his Kids screenwriter Harmony Korine (himself a former juvenile delinquent, currently minus only the "juvenile" part, except perhaps in sensibility). The story involves skaters, but this is no Grind -- expect Clark's usual heavy doses of underage sex, violence and profanity designed to titilla…er, shock you out of your suburban naïveté. (Monograph Films)

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