NEW YORK (CNS) — The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service.
Feel-good nonsense about a rowdy naval officer (Taylor Kitsch) who has to grow up fast when he’s called upon to save the world from a seemingly invincible force of invading aliens. He’s aided, initially, by his steadier older brother and navy comrade (Alexander Skarsgard) and later by the shore-side efforts of his would-be fiancee (Brooklyn Decker). She’s a physical therapist for wounded vets (most prominently real-life Purple Heart-winner Gregory D. Gadson) whose admiral father (Liam Neeson) takes a dim view of her relationship with our hero. And music star Rihanna gets thrown into the mix representing the tough-as-nails distaff side of the duty roster. Director Peter Berg’s action adventure, which is supposed to have something to do with the titular Hasbro game, pulls out every patriotic stop and waves every flag within reach, offering a largely harmless, if quickly forgotten, diversion for mature viewers. Much action violence and some painful slapstick, at least one use of profanity, about a dozen crude and a handful of crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
“The Dictator” (Paramount)
Foul language and gross-out sludge predominate in director Larry Charles’ comedic portrait of a composite, but Moammar Gadhafi-like tyrant (Sacha Baron Cohen) from the fictional North African nation of Wadiya. After his scheming uncle (Ben Kingsley) uses his absence on a state visit to the United Nations as the opportunity to stage a coup, replacing the outrageously bearded goof with a more pliable imposter, the true leader finds himself wandering the streets of Manhattan, whiskerless and penniless. Taking an alternate identity, he befriends, and eventually romances, a hippy-dippy vegan collective grocer (Anna Faris), muddles his way into a job at her food store and plots to retake his title. Besides the blatantly sexist and racist jokes in which the script trades, there are gags playing on such ripe-for-comedy subjects as rape, pedophilia, prostitution, AIDS, abortion, necrophilia, suicide and homosexuality. Occasional violence, strong sexual content including pervasive sexual humor, fleeting full nudity, a same-sex kiss and an explicit endorsement of aberrant acts, frequent rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
“What to Expect When You’re Expecting” (Lionsgate)
This fruitless reproductive comedy awkwardly juggles the stories of five expectant couples (most prominently Cameron Diaz and Matthew Morrison, Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro) as they prepare for four deliveries and an Ethiopian adoption. Director Kirk Jones’ fictionalization of Heidi Murkoff’s bestselling advice book veers between vulgar humor and trite sentimentality and showcases misguided contemporary attitudes toward sexuality, pregnancy and parenthood. Errant values, including a benign view of cohabitation, out-of-wedlock pregnancy and in vitro fertilization, pervasive sexual and biological humor, some scatological humor, an implied aberrant sex act, brief rear and partial nudity, a couple of instances of profanity, at least one use of the F-word, much crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.