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Movies: July 8, 2011

What’s in theaters, including ”Bad Teacher,” ”Cars 2,” and more

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Bad Teacher
R, 1 hr., 29 mins.
The basic joke is that Cameron Diaz, as a gold-digging teacher, is playing the most off-putting character of the year. But there’s so little bounce to the black comedy that the audience is left stranded. —OG

Beginners
R, 1 hr., 45 mins.
A beautifully shaded drama about a father (Christopher Plummer) who comes out at 75 and his straight adult son (Ewan McGregor). —LS

A Better Life
PG-13, 1 hr., 38 mins.
Demián Bichir gives a superb slow simmer of a performance as Carlos, an illegal immigrant in L.A. —OG

Cars 2
G, 1 hr., 47 mins.
Pixar’s animated wheelie friends are back in a less-than-thrilling sequel, despite overseas locations and Michael Caine as the voice of a James Bond-y spymobile. —LS

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
R, 1 hr., 29 mins.
The comedian really can’t stop — either kvetching about his breakup with NBC or craving applause. That’s what makes this doc so interesting. —LS

Green Lantern
PG-13, 1 hr., 54 mins.
In this F/X-driven origin story, Ryan Reynolds is likable as a cosmic crime fighter, but mostly he just stands around in his pulsating emerald-green muscle suit. —OG

The Hangover Part II
R, 1 hr., 42 mins.
Pretty funny. Once again, we have to work backward to find out what happened to the Wolfpack. —OG

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
PG, 1 hr., 35 mins.
Playing a real estate shark who inherits six penguins, Jim Carrey conveys a hidden sweet spot of warmth. —OG

Super 8
PG-13, 1 hr., 51 mins.
J.J. Abrams directed this spectacularly well-made story about kids, aliens, and the effect of E.T.– era Steven Spielberg on the summer moviegoer in all of us. —LS

X-Men: First Class
PG-13, 2 hrs., 11 mins.
As pre-enemies Professor X and Magneto, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are a casting triumph. —LS