Shot during the freefall that led to the current economic crisis, Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience (Magnolia) beautifully dovetails of-the-moment improvisation about the financial collapse with the story of a young woman who herself is a fading commodity. Real-life porn star Sasha Grey plays a high-priced call girl with appropriate reserve, though real-life film critic Glenn Kenny gets the best scene as a online “erotic connoisseur” who wants sleazy concessions in exchange for a positive notice…

American Beauty director Sam Mendes doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in his formalist body, which makes him an odd choice to direct a road movie like Away We Go (Universal), and he can’t quite square the offbeat comedy of the first half with the emotional weight of the second. Yet the film works anyway, thanks in large part to the tenderness between its two stars, John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, and a touching through-line about an expectant couple figuring out what kind of parents they want to be…

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Though the title evokes a deliciously cheesy ’50s sci-fi movie, Monsters Vs. Aliens (Paramount) is like a lot of other CGI animated efforts from DreamWorks—a gag delivery system wrapped in colorful special effects. It’s lively and sometimes dazzling, but also more than willing to lazily distract its audience rather than trying anything new…

What happens when you cross a standard-issue Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy with a zany Steve Zahn independent quirkfest? You get Management (Image), a strangely charming, wildly unconvincing comedy about a hapless slacker (Zahn) who stalks his way into Aniston’s buttoned-down heart. Zahn is a daft charmer as a misfit on a mission, while Fred Ward and Margo Martindale lend this featherweight idiocy a hint of gravity as Zahn’s hard-working parents…

Kevin Spacey’s long, sad slide into irrelevance continues with Shrink (Lionsgate), a micro-budgeted independent comedy-drama about a grief-stricken therapist (Spacey) who self-medicates with marijuana and booze while administering to patients only slightly more fucked-up than himself. Shrink flies giddily off the rails even before Spacey has a live, on-air televised nervous breakdown opposite talk-show host Gore Vidal. Yes, that Gore Vidal.

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