Lightroom wont save metadata to more than one file at once

I've got a whole bunch of files in a catalogue that have had the metadata changed locally.  I want to overwrite with the metadata thats in my LR cat.  When I select them all and choose metadata>save metadata to files the little "!" dissapears from only file ata time.  I matters not which module I'm in or if I go library > save metadata. Of course I'm on a deadline.  Argh!
EDIT: I tried deleting the local XMP files and I get the same result


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