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Blame it on “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”

Blame it on “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” (photo)

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For those of you who are so over awards season and can’t wait to get to the January dumping grounds, may I suggest “Extraordinary Measures”, hitting theaters January 22nd, in which Harrison Ford’s non-Indiana Jones-related career dies a little more.

“Extraordinary Measures” is, as the title gently hints, Based On An Inspirational True Story — that of John Crowley, who raised $27 million in venture capital to start a company to create treatment for his two kids, afflicted with a fatal disease that affects less than 10,000 people worldwide.

If his story were filmed accurately, it’d basically be one of a dad trying to keep a straight face while becoming an ad hoc businessman. But I suspect that “Extraordinary Measures,” with Harrison Ford as a quirky but brilliant scientist and “What Happens in Vegas” director Tom Vaughan at the helm, will be less “Lorenzo’s Oil” and more triumph-over-adversity fodder.

“Extraordinary Measures” is the first salvo from the newly launched CBS Films, which was begun for curious reasons. After Viacam and CBS split, CBS’ Showtime channel no longer had access to the Paramount pipeline and felt the need to generate its own product — both to plug back into Showtime and to be promoted on all the radio/TV stations owned by CBS.

Their official plan is to make mid-budget films (these days laughably defined as under $50 million) and aim for the same success as “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” Yup. That’s what was laid out by executive Amy Baer.

But the real strategy appears to be to churn out generically hooky movies with mid-tier or lapsed stars — before 2010 is out, we’ll have a new J.Lo romcom, a “Beauty and the Beast” update starring Vanessa Hudgens (“Beastly,” heh) and a Dwayne Johnson/Billy Bob Thornton thriller.

12162009_extraordinarymeasures4.jpg“Extraordinary Measures” has the added benefit of its accompanying website’s “Inspirational Quilt.” If one heartwarming triumph over adversity isn’t enough for you, you can go to the quilt and click on the many “inspirational” videos loaded thereon. Anyone can submit one, the votes will be tallied, and the winner will get $10,000 donated to the charity of their choice.

It’s pretty clear that most of the videos so far were uploaded by the charities in question, sometimes with the same videos they have on their websites. But hey, $10,000 for the public good is probably the best thing that’ll come of this film.

Here’s the trailer. Dad to scientist: “All the researchers out there say you’re a genius on the verge of a scientific breakthrough.” “He’s really eccentric, but his science is way ahead of everybody else’s.” Good to spell that stuff out. Also, it’s kind of all made-up but you saw that coming:

[Photos: “Extraordinary Measures,” CBS Films, 2010]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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