Capsule reviews of films opening this week:

"American Teen" _ Nanette Burstein's documentary doesn't tell you anything you didn't already know about high school. It can be a rough time, even if you're pretty and popular. Kids divide themselves into cliques. They can be mean to each other. Pressure can come from all sides _ from parents, coaches, fellow students and mostly from within. But the intimate way in which Burstein tracks the lives of a group of seniors in small-town Indiana brings this familiar subject to life, and it should make viewers feel nostalgic, regardless of how long it's been since they walked those crowded, chaotic halls. Burstein follows several traditional types at Warsaw Community High School: a bossy rich girl who runs the school; a basketball star hoping for a college scholarship; a band geek who longs for a girlfriend; an artsy young woman who dreams of becoming a filmmaker; and a heartthrob who falls for a girl outside the popular crowd. If this sounds like a John Hughes movie you've seen a million times before _ or all of them at once _ you're right. The poster for "American Teen" even features the five young stars arranged in the same pose as actors from "The Breakfast Club," which is probably too cute for its own good. But they're all so engaging, it's hard not to get drawn into their daily dramas. And except for some obvious staging on Burstein's part, their ups and downs, doubts and dreams, all feel vividly real. PG-13 for some strong language, sexual material, some drinking and brief smoking, all involving teens. 101 min. Three stars out of four.

_ Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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"Brideshead Revisited" _ An unimpeachable yet ultimately unmoving adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's classic novel about social ambition, religious conflict and doomed love. There's nothing wrong with director Julian Jarrold's film: The cast is fine, the production values solid. Everything is meticulously appointed in the traditional high style of a Merchant-Ivory period piece. As in "Becoming Jane," Jarrold's Jane Austen tale from last year, it's all beautiful _ but bland. The whole endeavor just rings a bit hollow, especially condensed to two hours, compared to the epic 11-episode miniseries from 1981. Maybe we've changed too, though. The ideas that homosexuality could serve as a source of torment, and that differences in class and faith could create irreparable rifts in a relationship, seem rather archaic now. And so the chief sources of tension in Waugh's novel, which might have been perceived as incendiary when it was published in 1945, have lost much of their punch. Screenwriters Andrew Davies and Jeremy Brock have made a few tweaks to the text (which the Waugh estate approved) but the meat of the story remains intact. Aspiring painter Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode, in the role that made Jeremy Irons famous) becomes enraptured by the aristocratic Marchmain family and, specifically, with their ancestral home, Brideshead Castle. Charles first meets the decadent dandy Sebastian (Ben Whishaw) while at Oxford and the two quickly fall into a close friendship. Then he becomes smitten by Sebastian's sophisticated sister, Julia (Hayley Atwell). Emma Thompson is, unsurprisingly, an intimidating force as the family's rigidly Catholic matriarch, Lady Marchmain. PG-13 for some sexual content. 120 min. Two and a half stars out of four.

_ Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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"Step Brothers" _ The title is "Step Brothers." You know, because there are two of them. But Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are essentially playing the same person, which is the movie's fundamental, irreparable flaw. As 40-year-olds who've never left home and are forced to share a bedroom when their parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins) get married, Ferrell and Reilly are stuck in the same state of arrested development. There's no odd-couple tension, no witty banter, just a prolonged, painfully unfunny game of one-upmanship in which each actor is trying to outdo the other in one-note obnoxiousness. You wouldn't want to spend two hours with one of them, much less both. Sure, they display slight personality differences _ Ferrell's Brennan wears vintage T-shirts with Pablo Cruise or The Judds on them, while Reilly's Dale prefers Yoda _ but they're cut from the same kitschy cloth. The humorously awkward chemistry these actors shared as NASCAR teammates in "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" is gone, because the script makes no room for it. Which is strange, because Ferrell co-wrote the screenplay with his old friend, director Adam McKay, with whom he collaborated on that previous comedy. (Reilly shares a story-by credit.) As you watch the movie, it doesn't take long to realize that their creative process consisted of sitting around, cracking each other up with adolescent gags, and then writing it all down. Whether the rest of the world will be doubled over with laughter seems irrelevant. R for crude and sexual content, and pervasive language. 112 min. One and a half stars out of four.

_ Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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"The X-Files: I Want to Believe" _ The makers of the new "X-Files" movie have done themselves a disservice in coming up with the elongated title, "The X-Files: I Want to Believe." Really, it just invites a whole bunch of bad jokes which, unfortunately, are justified. It's easy to imagine how they might go: I want to believe another "X-Files" movie is necessary, 10 years after the first one came out and six years after the pioneering sci-fi series went off the air. I want to believe it's worth my time and money, even if I wasn't a fervent devotee of the TV show. And I want to believe that Mulder and Scully still have the same chemistry they once did _ a big reason the series developed a cult fan base. Well, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson do slip comfortably back into the roles that made them superstars in the 1990s, but the movie itself from director and "X-Files" series creator Chris Carter never feels like anything more than an extended episode. In deference to the show's many mysteries and twists, we won't give anything away here. We'll just say the plot involves a missing persons case, severed body parts and some creepy hunts and chases through the snow. In writing the script, Carter and longtime collaborator Frank Spotnitz have come up with a stand-alone story, one that doesn't require expertise in "X-Files" minutiae to follow, although they've also left some nuggets for loyal fans along the way. Amanda Peet and rapper Xzibit co-star as FBI agents on the case, with Billy Connolly as a fallen priest who may or may not be experiencing psychic visions. PG-13 for violent and disturbing content and thematic material. 104 min. Two stars out of four.

_ Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic