Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris
Frown on 'Smile'
By BILLY NORRIS
Published December 22, 2003
[Photo: Columbia Pictures]
Julia Roberts stars as an idealistic art history teacher in Mona Lisa Smile.
Mona Lisa Smile
Summary: Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts) moves to New England from California to take a job teaching an art history class at the prestigious all-girls Wellesley College in the 1950s. Her independent style clashes with the tenets of Wellesley, which equate success with marrying into a wealthy family, and she tries to influence her bright students into believing they are capable of much more.
My view: This film is incredibly dull. The plot is lacking in direction and forward motion. There's not a whole lot in the way of anything interesting that will keep you focused, never mind entertained, for the nearly two hours of endless droning. When glancing around the theater, I caught much of the audience struggling to stay awake, which was my first instinct as well. I had higher expectations for this movie given the star-studded cast that also included Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Marcia Gay Harden and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Mona Lisa Yawn would have been more suiting.
Recommendations: I can't really come up with a good reason to see this movie . I've seen worse, but this one is among the lower rank.
Grade: D (for dull or dud - you choose).
- Billy Norris, 16, is in the 10th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.