Eppler: "Detective Pikachu" and "Long Shot" work for intended audiences

I saw "Pokémon: Detective Pikachu" at an Alamo Drafthouse Cereal Party with my wife and son.I only mention it because the movie plays like a box of Trix on the screen - brightly colored, sweetwith little nutritional value and just for kids.

This was my first Pokémon experience, and going in I didn't know the difference between a Mewtwo, a Ditto or a Yingee-Lingee. I made one of those up,and if you know which one,congratulations- this movie is for you.

In all seriousness, I enjoyed the first half of this movie more than I expected.I likethe look of it, the neo-noir feel, and Ryan Reynolds' droll wisecracking as the title character. Justice Smith deserves some credit here, too, for a very earnest performance.

But before long, the actual mystery gets into a bunch of Pokémon mythology and action that made my eyes glaze over a bit - like a "Transformers" movie with a little more heart. But my five-year-old son had a great time watching it - and that's something.

For the grown-ups, "Long Shot" is a traditional-style romantic comedy but with modern sensibilities. Charlize Theron as a Secretary of State planning a run for President and Seth Rogen as her speech writer.

Their chemistry pops off the screen, oddly, and the dialogue is fast, witty and sharp.It's way funny, sweetly romantic and packs a few sharp barbs about current political discourse. It's the date movie of the year so far - don't let it get lost in the summer shuffle

RATINGS:"Pokémon: Detective Pikachu" * * 1/2

"Long Shot" * * * 1/2


* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing* * Mediocre - You can do better

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