New movie releases this week include Katherine Heigl’s return to the big screen, plus The Promise, Truman, and more
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., April 21
A bush-league hockey team seems a likely prospect for one of George Roy Hill's buddy-buddy movies, but Nancy Dowd's script gives it a different slant. Under her jaundiced eye, the male characters are fair game for mockery — their swinging single's sportsclothes, their toupees, their tempers and head-knockings — while the females are treated with the sort of sympathy bestowed on M.I.A. wives. (The only exception among the men is a college graduate who is the team's conscientious objector. He, naturally, is suspected of being more woman than man i.e., a "pussy" — and he confirms these suspicions by performing a striptease in the midst of a good healthy melee.) Hill and Dowd do not seem decided on what sort of movie they want to make, as they decry violence and at the same time depict it in an amoral, fun-for-all, Looney Tune style. The best embodiment of the movie's two-faced tendencies — and its most entertaining figures — are the myopic Hanson Brothers, three gung-ho goons who, in spite of their identical bookish eyeglasses, go into every game with their knuckles wrapped in tinfoil and spoiling for a fight. Paul Newman, Jennifer Warren, Michael Ontkean. 1977.