WASHINGTON (April 14, 2000) -- A Catholic priest and a Jewish rabbi are challenged in Keeping the Faith, an amusing entry on this week's Catholic Communications Campaign movie review line (1-800-311-4CCC). The toll free listing also features the first rate Paul Newman in a less than first rate Where the Money Is.
The 1-800-311-4CCC movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The April 14-20 list includes the following theater releases and their classifications according to moral suitability. Movies are evaluated according to artistic merit and moral suitability by the U.S. Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting.
- 28 Days -- Because of a substance abuse theme, implied sexual encounters, some crass language and an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. 28 Days is a pedestrian seriocomedy in which a successful writer and notorious party girl Sandra Bullock is sentenced to rehab for driving under the influence and so must come to terms with her addiction to alcohol and her cynical outlook on life. Despite creative cinematography, the shallow film fails to capture both the real pain and humor of recovery while the few honest moments are lost in melodramatics.
- Rules of Engagement -- Because of some gory military violence, intermittent profanity and frequent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In Rules of Engagement a decorated Marine colonel (Samuel L. Jackson) facing court-martial for murder after a Marine rescue mission at a foreign embassy leaves civilians dead persuades his retired Marine buddy (Tommy Lee Jones) to defend his actions. The feel-good film blends action with fiery courtroom exchanges in superficially exploring the harsh reality of life-and-death decision-making under fire.
- Keeping the Faith -- Because of questioning of priestly vows, the rabbi's affair, fleeting crass language and an instance of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Keeping the Faith is a problematic yet witty comedy about two dynamic young men of faith, one a rabbi (Ben Stiller) and the other a Catholic priest (Edward Norton) whose friendship is threatened when their childhood friend (Jenna Elfman) returns to New York City, and both fall for her. The portrayal of a conflicted priest is occasionally off-putting, but his vow of celibacy and his accompanying doubts are dealt with in an earnest manner that does not undermine his priestly commitment.
- Return to Me -- Because of fleeting profanity and crass language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Return to Me is a surprisingly delightful romantic comedy in which a widower (David Duchovny) falls in love with a transplant recipient (Minnie Driver) who, unbeknownst to him, has received his late wife's heart. Although somewhat predictable, the lighthearted film offers an appealing look at romance and second chances, with honest, funny dialogue and good performances.
- Where the Money Is -- Because of a brief sexual encounter, some crass language and an instance of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Where the Money Is is a disappointing drama about a famous bank robber (Paul Newman) who fakes a stroke to break out of prison but his game is discovered by a cunning nurse (Linda Fiorentino) who offers her silence in exchange for his expertise on one last heist. Despite a winning performance by Newman, the flawed film romanticizes a life of crime with unconvincing plot twists, characters who are caricatures and a contrived ending.
- American Psycho -- Because of recurring violence with gore, including nudity and graphic sexual encounters, recreational drug abuse, some profanity and frequent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. American Psycho is a repelling tale of a late 1980's Wall-Street yuppie (Christian Bale) who despises his associates and is able to murder women, colleagues and cops with gleeful impunity. Attempts to satirize the greedy excesses of the me generation are overwhelmed by the remorseles main character's killing sprees and the film's core nihilism.
- Anchors Aweigh -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Anchors Aweigh is a musical romance with shy sailor Frank Sinatra and his slick buddy Gene Kelly on a four-day shore leave in Hollywood where they meet aspiring singer Kathryn Grayson and promise her an audition with a famed pianist they pretend to know. The thin plot offers plenty of period nostalgia along with some well-staged musical numbers, notably Kelly's dance with animated mouse Jerry from the MGM "Tom and Jerry" cartoon series.
The classifications are A-I - general patronage; A-II - adults and adolescents; A-III - adults; A-IV - adults, with reservations (an A-IV classification designates problematic films that, while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a safeguard against wrong interpretations and false conclusions); O - morally offensive.
The movie reviews are produced by the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) Office for Film and Broadcasting, which each week provides full length movie reviews, brief capsules and film classifications of new theater releases.
Reviewers include Gerri Pare, Director, and Anne Navarro, Officer, USCC Film and Broadcasting Office.
The capsule reviews are available on the World Wide Web. They can be found on two sites: http://www.nccbuscc.org and http://www.CatholicDigest.org/stops/movies/index.html.
Reviews of movies classified by the USCC also can be found in Our Sunday Visitor's Family Guide to Movies and Videos, edited by Henry Herx and available in bookstores for $29.95 per copy. They can also be ordered direct from OSV by calling 1-800-348-2440 or ordered online at www.osv.com.