LET’S GIVE A WORD of sympathy to the nation’s film reviewers.

They’re just trying to earn a living; when they get invited to press junkets, they’re expected to deliver rah-rah quotes that can be used in newspaper ads and TV blurbs. And what is the reward for their efforts? The Federal Trade Commission is investigating these blurbs, trying to regulate truth in advertising.

How can the FTC question them? It’s quite possible that the critics actually liked these movies. (And who’s to say they’re wrong?) And just because you’ve never heard of these reviewers or the organization they write for, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist!

As if their government worries are not enough, the heartless Reel Life column annually gathers some of these newspaper quotes — and readers sometimes laugh at them. Can you imagine!

Here are some of the blurb highlights from the past year, mixing in some serious critics with the blurbmeisters. We’re doing this just to honor film critics everywhere. And to confuse the FTC.

NO HIGHER PRAISE POSSIBLE

Cineman Syndicate LLD, “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” — “One of the smartest and funniest comedies ever.”

Bill Zwecker, Fox-TV, “Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights” — “The funniest holiday movie of all time!”

Cary Berglund, KCAL-TV, “Death to Smoochy” — “One of the funniest, darkest, did I mention funniest films I’ve seen in forever.”

MINORITY REPORTS

Ted Baehr, Movieguide — ” ‘The Country Bears’ is fun, fun, fun.”

Anderson Jones, E! “The Rules of Attraction” — “The most electrifying, intensely entertaining movie you’ll see this year!”

Earl Dittman, Wireless magazines, “The Four Feathers” — “You will feel compelled to see it over and over again.”

I DON’T KNOW IF I HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY FOR THIS MOVIE

Mark S. Allen, UPN-TV, “Changing Lanes” — “This movie will challenge you and leave you questioning every fiber in your world!”

Jason Anderson, Eye.net, “Jackass the Movie” — “I laughed, I cried, I nearly hurled.”

Jeffrey K. Howard, ABC TV, “Wes Craven Presents ‘They’ ” — “I bit my tongue more than once.”

DOESN’T ANYONE HEED OUR CRITICS?

Joel Siegel, “Good Morning America,” “Full Frontal” — “Don’t miss this one.”

Christopher Heard, Reel to Real, “Windtalkers” — “A must see.”

Mark S. Allen, UPN-TV, “Big Fat Liar” — A must-see film!”

NOTICE SHE DIDN’T SAY ‘HIGHER’ LEVEL

Cathy Marshall, KATU-TV, “Showtime” — “Laugh-out-loud funny action comedy with Murphy and De Niro taking the buddy-cop storyline to a whole new level.”

PREMATURE EXCLAMATIONS

Harvey Karten, Wolf Entertainment Guide, “Beijing Bicycle” — “One of the finest imports of 2002!” (Jan. 25, 2002)

Nestor Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, “American Adobo” — “One of 2002’s best films!” (Jan. 27, 2002)

David Sheehan, CBS, “Dragonfly” — “The most rewarding movie of the year!” (March 3, 2002)

WRITTEN ON THE WIND

Roger Friedman, Fox News, “Green Dragon” — “The movie has Oscar written all over it!”

Robin Milling, WENN-Radio, “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” — “It’s got Oscar written all over it.”

Marilyn Beck, Tribune Media Services, “The Four Feathers” — “It has Oscar gold written all over it.”

Earl Dittman, Wireless magazines — ” ‘White Oleander’ has Oscar written all over it.”

Earl Dittman, Wireless magazines, “K-19: The Widowmaker” — “A cinematic triumph that has Academy Awards written all over it.”

THANK YOU

The following films ran no review blurbs: “The Adventures of Pluto Nash,” “Rollerball,” “Swept Away,” “Stealing Harvard.”

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