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Summer movie preview: No grown-ups allowed

Summer movie preview: No grown-ups allowed

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In the summer, kids run wild, including at the movie theater. This year's warm-weather releases include such kiddie flicks as the animated fairy-tale finale "Shrek Forever After" (May 21) and the long-awaited plaything parable "Toy Story 3" (June 18); animalistic comedies like "Marmaduke" (June 4) and "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" (July 30); and teen-centric vehicles like the kung-fu remake "The Karate Kid" (June 11) and the vampire romance "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" (June 30).

Families are likely to embrace the sibling slapstick of "Ramona and Beezus" (July 23) and the caretaker comedy of "Nanny McPhee Returns" (Aug. 20). And the arrested-development demographic will be out in force for the superhero sequel "Iron Man 2" (May 7), the video-game adaptation "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" (May 28), the comic-based horror-Western "Jonah Hex" (June 18) and the human-prey adventure "Predators" (July 9).

Trend-spotters may notice that several of this summer's movies are about young people saving the world. In M. Night Shyamalan's "The Last Airbender" (July 2), based on an animated TV series that had the misfortune of being titled "Avatar," a mystical tyke must harmonize the four opposing forces of nature. In "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (July 16), student Jay Baruchel learns that teacher Nicolas Cage is an ageless wizard who's been protecting humankind from evil since the days of King Arthur.

Yet this summer's most manly movies have an undercurrent of immaturity and make-believe. The "Iron Man" franchise is about a millionaire playboy who spends his free time inside the world's coolest toy. Action flicks like the big-screen version of "The A-Team" (June 11) and Sylvester Stallone's all-star shoot-'em-up "The Expendables" (Aug. 13) are loud reminders that boys will be boys. And what is the Russell Crowe/Ridley Scott "Robin Hood" (May 14) but a big-budget game of bows-and-arrows?

Jonah Hill stars in two summer movies about dudes who refuse to grow up. In "Get Him to the Greek" (June 4), he's the baby sitter of hedonistic rock star Russell Brand. In "Cyrus" (July 23), Hill is a basement-dwelling dweeb who is threatened by mom Marisa Tomei's new boyfriend.

In "Solitary Man" (May 21), Michael Douglas is a sexagenarian still playing the field. In "Dinner for Schmucks" (July 23), Paul Rudd hosts a party to toy with nerd Steve Carell. In "Get Low" (July 30), codger Robert Duvall stages his own funeral so he can finally start living.

When Adam Sandler and his pals make a class-reunion comedy called "Grown Ups," (June 25), you can bet the title is ironic.

And where are the women? In the case of "Sex and the City 2" (May 27), they're in the Middle Eastern emirate of Abu Dhabi, where the sisterly sophisticates still manage to find handbags and boytoys. In "Just Wright" (May 14), physical therapist Queen Latifah lassoes a new boyfriend who plays games for a living in the NBA. In "Eat, Pray, Love" (Aug. 13), Julia Roberts is a divorcée who finds love with a younger man on the tropical island of Bali.

Another trend worth noting this summer is that an unusual number of the big movies are newborns, not based on existing franchises. We may not have heard much about Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in the romantic actioner "Knight and Day" (June 25), Steve Carell in the villainous 'toon "Despicable Me" (July 9), Leonardo DiCaprio in Christopher Nolan's dream-thieves fantasy "Inception" (July 16) or Angelina Jolie in the espionage thriller "Salt" (July 23), but Hollywood is betting that they'll grow on us.

Other summer movie releases (local dates are subject to change)

May 7

"Babies" • A globe-spanning documentary about four adorable infants and their mommies.

"Mid-August Lunch" • An Italian comedy about a hectic holiday get-together.

"The Secret of Kells" • An animated Oscar nominee based on Irish pixie lore.

May 14

"Exit through the Gift Shop" • A puzzlebox documentary about guerrilla artists.

"Letters to Juliet" • Amanda Seyfried plays matchmaker in an Italian city that inspired Shakespeare.

"The Square" • In a noir thriller from Australia, a construction worker is seduced by a dangerous woman and a bundle of cash.

May 21

"Holy Rollers" • Jesse Eisenberg is a young Hasidic Jew working as a drug courier.

"MacGruber" • SNL's Will Forte demolishes a gimicky action series from the '80s.

"The Secret in Their Eyes" • An Argentine romantic thriller that won the Oscar for best foreign film.

May 28

"Survival of the Dead" • George Romero resurrects his zombie franchise.

June 4

"Killers" • Newlywed Ashton Kutcher punks wife Katherine Heigl with a deadly secret.

"Mother and Child" • Naomi Watts, Annette Bening and Kerry Washington face the consequences of adoption.

"Splice" • Genetic scientists Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley cook up a mutant.

June 11

"Winter's Bone" • A Sundance winner, shot in Missouri, about a meth dealer's daughter.

June 18

"The Killer Inside Me" • Texas deputy Casey Affleck has murder on his mind.

July 2

"The Girl who Played with Fire" • A dragon-tattooed hacker girl investigates Swedish sex traffickers.

"I Am Love" • Wealthy wife Tilda Swinton has an spicy affair with a young Italian chef.

"Twelve" • Pot-dealing rich kid Chace Crawford gets burned.

July 7

"The Kids are All Right" • Julianne Moore and Annette Bening meet the donor who fathered their two children.

July 30

"Charlie McCloud" • Zac Efron must choose between the girl he loves and loyalty to his brother's ghost.

"The Extra Man" • Kevin Kline teaches Paul Dano how to be a gigolo.

July (date to be announced)

"Grease Sing-a-Long" • This participatory re-release for teen angels and beauty-school dropouts premiers at the Hollywood Bowl before spreading nationwide.

Aug. 6

"Middle Men" • Luke Wilson stars in a true story about Internet porn pioneers.

"The Other Guys" • Desk-bound detectives Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg imitate action heroes, badly.

"Step Up 3D" • The urban-dance franchise kicks it up a notch.

Aug. 13

"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" • Indie rocker Michael Cera battles the evil ex-boyfriends of his new love.

Aug. 20

"Lottery Ticket" • A pricey piece of paper precipitates panic.

"The Switch" • Jason Bateman contributes sperm to pal Jennifer Aniston, but not in a good way

"Takers" • Detective Matt Dillon goes gunning for a gang of hunky thieves.

Aug. 27

"Going the Distance" • Drew Barrymore and Justin Long take their romance to the next level.

"The Last Exorcism" • A phony preacher comes face to face with a truly bedeviled woman.

"Piranha 3-D" • Tiny, toothsome terrors traumatize a trendy town.

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