Notes from the Back Row 

Time travel by remote and by man of steel

Remember that time, last Easter, when you accidentally said that word that rhymes with ‘stunt" at the dinner table? At your new girlfriends’ parents house? Remember how pissed off said girlfriend was and how she refused to talk to you for the rest of the evening, followed by a week of no sex? Ever wish you could rewind back to that day and use another word, like "snapper’?

Well now you can, if you’re Adam Sandler in his latest magical-remote-control, time-traveling movie Click , which opens Friday at the Village 8.

Sandler stars as an architect with a hot wife, some kids and a dog. He’s overworked and underappreciated by his boss (David Hasselhoff) and for some reason he’s not all that technologically savvy.

After purchasing a ‘universal’ remote control from a kooky-but-totally-awesome Christopher Walken, Sandler learns he can control not only every appliance in his life, but his actual life as well. He can pause, fast forward, tint and rewind reality. This simple premise touches on emotions and daydreams already imbedded in anyone who’s ever spent a weekday afternoon watching the remote rather than the TV and Sandler’s timing and delivery of the film’s many childish jokes is pretty good.

Click is like It’s a Wonderful Life meets Back to the Future complete with the schmaltzy ending of the former and Doc’s wild hairstyle of the latter. While the film does jump around a lot (to be expected in a time-travel picture), is pointedly lowbrow, and quite ‘80s obsessed, Sandler can still make you chuckle and wish you could travel back in time to right some wrongs, stare at slow-motion boobs bouncing, and then eventually learn how to be a better person.

Speaking of better people, the best one of all has a flick out next week, with a special sneak preview on Tuesday at 10 p.m. That’s right kids, it’s not a bird or a plane, it’s Superman.

Superman Returns begins, aptly enough, with the man of steel returning to earth after five years of searching for his home planet or more of his kind. Supes crash lands in Kansas and soon finds out that the times they have a ‘changed.

Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) is pissed off that he left her and she’s very anti-superman now, with a new boyfriend and a young son who may or may not have sprung from Superman’s seed to boot. To make things worse, old nemesis Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) has some Kryptonite and is looking to cause a little havoc.

Director Bryan Singer ( Usual Suspects, X-Men 1 and 2) plays it pretty smart, figuring since Superman is a household name he may as well just continue on with the mythology rather than re-invent it. The action sequences are spectacular, the acting solid, and for all you people that can’t enjoy a movie without looking for hidden subtext, the Superman/Jesus parallels are in there, complete with a voice-of-god father figure. In fact, you Da Vinci Code fans (all three of you) can stay up all night drawing lines and squawking about the Lois Lane/Mary Magdalene connection.

Superman Returns is good and simple, almost comic book-ish in its delivery (obviously aimed at the teen audience). Rather than humanize Supes (like they did to Spider-Man) Singer portrays him as a god, sent to protect the one thing he can never be, human. Of course being god-like has it benefits.

Especially if you say a bad word at the dinner table, don’t have a universal remote, and have to fly around the earth backwards ten times in order to travel back in time to patch things up and use another word, like "the pastrami cowgirl."

AT VILLAGE 8 JUNE 23-30: Over the Hedge; X-Men: Last Stand; Cars; The Break-up; The Da Vinci Code; Garfield: Tales of Two Kitties; Fast and Furious 3; Lake House; Nacho Libre; Click; and Superman Returns (preview Tuesday 10 p.m., starts Wednesday.)

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