WASHINGTON (June 2, 2000) -- Road Trip is a journey in bad taste according to the Catholic Communication Campaign's toll-free movie review line for the week of June 2-8. The assortment of vulgar sight gags and innuendos adds up to a trip that's off-the-map for viewers in search of humor. Unfortunately, another comedy added to the review line this week, Big Momma's House, isn't much funnier.
The movie line number is 1-800-311CCC. Movies are evaluated according to artistic merit and moral suitability by the U.S. Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting. The list includes the following theater releases and their classifications:
- Mission: Impossible 2 -- Because of recurring stylized violence, implied affairs and minimal crass 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. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Mission: Impossible 2 is a diverting action flick in which American spy Tom Cruise and a sultry cosmopolitan thief (Thandie Newton) set out to avoid an international crisis by preventing a secret-agent-turned-terrorist from releasing a deadly virus. The glossy sequel's plot is more streamlined than the original and is tautly edited, but all the razzle-dazzle only adds up to a lightweight thriller.
- Big Momma's House -- Because of brief violence, an implied sexual encounter and sporadic innuendo, fleeting rear nudity, crude toilet humor and recurring crass 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, Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. In Big Momma's House an FBI agent (Martin Lawrence) goes undercover as a hefty Southern grandmother to catch a brutal bank robber, but finds himself falling for the robber's ex-girlfriend (Nia Long). Except for a few genuine laughs, the derivative comedy plays as a star vehicle for Lawrence, loaded with predictable scenes.
- Dinosaur -- Because of some scenes of predatory violence, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Dinosaur is a visually superb animated adventure set in prehistoric times after devastating meteor showers force a herd of dinosaurs to search for their nesting grounds while pursued by larger predators. Although the narrative is skimpy and the pace sometimes lumbering, the spectacular computer-generated digital images are extraordinarily lifelike.
- Shanghai Noon -- because of intermittent stylized violence, implied sexual encounters, fleeting drug use and brief crass 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. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. In Shanghai Noon an imperial Chinese guard (Jackie Chan) travels to America in 1881 to save the kidnapped princess (Lucy Liu) he loves and is unexpectedly aided by an easygoing outlaw (Owen Wilson) in learning the ways of the wild west. With its kicky kung-fu action and East-meets-West antics, the action-comedy is light-hearted fun with its confrontations and innuendo not to be taken seriously.
- Running Free -- the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. Running Free tells the tale of an abandoned colt that eventually finds freedom in the harsh deserts of Namibia, Africa after being adopted by an orphaned stableboy in a 1914 southern African mining town. Beautiful shots of wildlife and desert grandeur don't offset a shaky, unconvincing plot and the goofy narration by Lukas Haas as the colt. Brief wartime explosions.
- Road Trip --because several sexual encounters, sporadic nudity, intermittent drug use, comic depiction of suicide and recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Road Trip is a gross-out comedy following four college kids from New York to Texas in pursuit of a video tape accidentally mailed to a girlfriend of one of the students that shows him in bed with someone else. The brainless plot uses an onslaught of tedious vulgarities and dumb sight gags to depict higher education as an excuse for drunken and lewd behavior.
- The Absent Minded Professor -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America is G -- general audiences. The Absent Minded Professor is a mildly amusing 1961 Disney movie with Fred MacMurray as a daffy science professor who discovers a potion that enables people and objects to defy the laws of gravity. The resulting silliness might best be appreciated by the very young.
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, of the 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 can also 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.