The Core

dir. Jon Amiel

Opens Fri March 28 at various theaters.

Before you roll your eyes and quickly move on to the next review, hear me out: The Core is not as bad as you have undoubtedly assumed. Seriously. Is it smart? Not really. Scientifically sound? Absolutely not----unless gigantic phallic symbols plowing their way through the Earth's crust at hundreds of feet per second can be backed up with some sort of official data. But what The Core does offer is a perfect example of mindless, escapist entertainment--the thrill of a summer blockbuster released in the spring. And for that, the film is worthwhile (if not at full price, at least as a matinee).

The premise: Due to our nefarious government, the Earth's core has stopped spinning, a rather unfortunate event that will lead to destruction--via the almighty wrath of nature--of the planet. What's the world to do? Dig to the center of the Earth, of course--through rock and molten lava and whatnot--in a wormlike shuttle and detonate some nukes to get the core whirling again. Yeehaw!

Essentially Armageddon deep beneath the soil, The Core rises above Michael Bay's asteroid blunder thanks to an exceptionally witty script and great performances by Stanley Tucci (as an egotistical science stud) and Aaron Eckhart (as a humble science stud). Filled with entertaining, unnecessary complications, along with surprisingly well-formed characters, the film somehow works--if not on an intelligent level, at least on a popcorn one. It is tight and entertaining and completely absurd, and a near-perfect way to squander 120 minutes, especially if you need a break from CNN and whatever real-life disaster is currently occurring.

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