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ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN

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The animal crew is back, having survived one Ice Age and now confronting the melting of the polar caps. In Carlos Saldanha's animated family comedy, big manly mammoth Manny (voice of Ray Romano) can't find a mate and thus fears extinction. The female mammoth he does find, Ellie (voice of Queen Latifah), thinks she's a possum, challenging any thoughts Manny has for procreation, and endangering the survival of their kind. While Manny and the aqua-phobic Diego (voice of Denis Leary) provide their fair share of macho talk and walk, it's the scrappy, sly sloth Sid (voice of John Leguizamo) who puts the world's condition in perspective, telling them: "We're living in a melting world; you're gonna have to face your fears sooner or later." Overall, it's a much funnier and more educational film than the recent roving-animal hit, Madagascar, not to mention easier for kids to pronounce. Starts Fri., March 31. (BM)

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