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Challenging subject proves a surprise success

Obvious Child (15)

OBVIOUS CHILD: Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy star in the new comedy.
OBVIOUS CHILD: Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy star in the new comedy.

Obvious Child (15)

HHH

Dir: Gillian Robespierre

With: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy

Runtime: 85 minutes

GILLIAN Robespierre must love a challenge. Here, she has set herself the task of building a comedy around an abortion. Surprisingly, the film that results is not as horribly ill-judged as one might fear.

That is due in large part to Jenny Slate, the likeable star of Parks and Recreation, who plays Donna, a stand-up comedian who finds herself dumped by her boyfriend, out of a job, and pregnant. It won't be for everyone, and Donna's comedy is of the smile a minute rather than laugh a minute kind, but there's a lot of talent on display here, both behind and in front of the camera.

Let's Be Cops (15)

HH

Dir: Luke Greenfield

With: Damon Wayans Jr, Jake Johnson

Runtime: 104 minutes

MEET Ryan and Justin, two friends who had promised ­themselves that if they had not made it in Los Angeles by the time they reached the age of 30 then they would go home to Ohio.

With that milestone now passed the pair are forced to confront the fact they are still losers.

However, then a mix-up over a fancy dress party and the donning of Los Angeles Police Department uniforms appears to open up a whole new, thrilling world of protecting, serving, and eating doughnuts - until reality collars them.

While Damon Wayans Jr and Jake Johnson are amiable enough comics, the whole idea runs out of juice after the length of an episode of ­Starsky and Hutch.

Also, the laughs in Let's Be Cops are simply not there.

Night Moves (15)

HH

Dir: Kelly Reichardt

With: Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg

Runtime: 113 minutes

DIRECTOR Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy, Meek's Cutoff) is a past master at the American indie, making gently paced, thoughtful films that linger long in the memory.

Unfortunately it is not a style that suits what is meant to be a gripping environmental thriller.

Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard and Dakota Fanning play the three activists who want to take their protest to a level beyond writing to the local paper, only to find themselves tested later on.

Moves like treacle, with only the ever excellent Sarsgaard quickening the pace now and then.

If I Stay (12A)

HH

Dir: RJ Cutler

With: Chloe Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley

Runtime: 107 mins

TARGETING the same teenage audience that wept buckets for the superior The Fault In Our Stars, If I Stay is an overly manipulative heartbreaker that fails to do justice to the talent of leading lady, Chloe Grace Moretz.

Based on the popular young adult novel by Gayle Forman, the film picks up as a promising young cello player is involved in a car crash that leaves her comatose and choosing between life and death. The sombre melodrama that ensues is heavy on cliché, overly downbeat and curiously uninvolving. Moretz struggles to endear, while her romance with Jamie Blackley lacks spark. It's left to old pro Stacy Keach to deliver the emotional clout as a crestfallen grandpa, but he alone cannot prevent audiences from sinking into a different kind of despair. Reviewed by Rob Carnevale

The Keeper of Lost Causes (15)

HHH

Dir: Mikkel Norgaard

With: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Fares Fares

Runtime: 97 minutes

MORE Euro noir for those who just cannot get enough of murder on the Scandinavian express. This time, Jussi Adler-Olsen's Department Q novel is given the cinematic treatment.

All the usual suspects are here, from maverick cop (The Killing's Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and moody photography to a super keen sidekick and mercurial boss, but the cold case that is reopened turns out to be a toasty one.

Cameo, Edinburgh, and Cineworld, Renfrew Street, Glasgow from tomorrow; Glasgow Film Theatre, September 5-11

Mystery Road (15)

HHHH

Dir: Ivan Sen

With: Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving

Runtime: 121 minutes

WHEN a young Aborigine woman is found dead in the outback Detective Jay Swan lands the case. Recently returned to the town after a spell in the big city and a relationship break-up, Jay uses his local contacts to discover more, only to come up against prejudice and stonewalling.

While there is nothing startlingly original about Ivan Sen's crime drama, Pedersen's quietly charismatic performance and the sun-baked Australian setting make it a trip worth taking.

Glasgow Film Theatre and Filmhouse, Edinburgh, from tomorrow

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