It's all about chemical combinations and chemistry this week, as "Serving Sara," "Simone," "Undisputed" and "One Hour Photo" all hit theaters.
"Matthew's very funny," "Serving Sara" star Elizabeth Hurley said when quizzed about the chemistry between her and co-star Matthew Perry. "I've seen ['Friends'] and I've seen him in various movies. I always thought he looked like he's naturally very funny and I wondered if he [was]. And he is."
Hurley got a chance to test her own comedic chops against Perry's in Texas as they filmed "Serving Sara," a comedy about a process server who embarks on a road trip with a woman he's just delivered divorce papers to.
Robin Williams plays a man who has chemistry — albeit imagined — with an idyllic-appearing family and works with chemicals of the picture-processing type in "One Hour Photo," an independently-produced flick that allowed the "Patch Adams" actor to explore his darker side. He plays a photo lab manager who becomes obsessed with a family whose pictures he regularly develops. Similar to his serial killer turn in "Insomnia," Williams' performance as the "One Hour Photo" stalker sees him stepping away from his comedic roots.
"It's my other roots, my dark roots, the ones right about here," Williams joked, pointing to his head. "Those are the trained roots from Juilliard. ... The idea of doing a character like this goes way back. The idea of doing a script like this is very appealing."
Williams' "Insomnia" co-star Al Pacino goes the opposite direction — from heavy drama to light comedy — and messes with a different kind of chemistry in "Simone." The movie hinges around the interaction between a computer-generated actress, her director, her real life co-stars and the public at large.
Pacino plays a failing director who makes use of a completely digital actress in hopes of resuscitating his career. The public becomes enamored with Simone, thinking her to be a real person as her star eventually eclipses the director's own. He's driven to the brink of madness as he struggles to maintain Simone's illusion while simultaneously seeking a way to raise his own public profile.
And then there's the visceral, back-to-basics chemistry between Wesley Snipes ("Blade") and Ving Rhames ("Mission: Impossible 2") as two boxers who battle it out in a prison match in "Undisputed," which co-stars Master P and former "Yo! MTV Raps" co-host Ed Lover.
"Serving Sara," "Simone" and "Undisputed" will all be widely released, while "One Hour Photo" will play in select cities only — much like "Box Head Revolution," "Amy's Orgasm" (a comedy about a young author who falls for a shock rock DJ) and "Little Secrets."
All of them will be doing battle with the continuing box office might of Vin Diesel's "XXX" and M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" (see "Given Choice Between Bikinis And 'XXX,' People Want 'XXX' ").
— Ryan J. Downey, with additional reporting by Megan Hanley and Nick Zano