Movie reviews: ‘Blended and ‘X-Men’

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star in “Blended.” — Credit: WARNER BROS.

Blended (Warner Bros.)

This that rarity of rarities, a sincere family film, and since it stars Adam Sandler, whose trademark is scatological gags, it's more than a bit of a surprise. At the same time, director Frank Coraci and screenwriters Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera hew to a rigid formula now common for the genre: Each child's problem is dealt with individually and completely, without condescension.

There's an exotic element, too, with blended families developing bonds at a high-end safari resort in South Africa. And there's even an old-fashioned approach about sons needing fathers to teach them lessons about toughness, and daughters needing a mother's uniquely compassionate understanding.

The normal physical changes for adolescents are dealt with forthrightly, without descending into any crude remarks. Life is dealt with as it occurs. Mature adolescents shouldn't have trouble with any of this.

The film contains frank mentions of bodily functions, light sexual banter and fleeting crude language. (A-II, PG-13)

 

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Fox)

Time travel meets a gleefully loopy version of American history in this film with many surreal moments but also some thoughtful moral commentary on whether it's a good idea to alter the path of history or accept an immutable destiny.

The plot, loaded with the kinetic action sequences familiar from the first six films in the series, is quite simple. It's 2023 and the planet has been devastated by the Sentinels, fire-breathing robots first unleashed 50 years earlier. As doom descends on the mutants known collectively as X-Men, the elderly versions of Dr. Charles Xavier and Magneto argue about the need to rewrite history.

Discussions about how a single event changes the future mingle with arguments between the younger Xavier and Magneto about how best to deal with Raven/Mystique. Director Brian Singer and screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Jane Goldman eventually surrender existential angst to the plethora of special effects, including a flying stadium.

The film contains gun and physical violence, fleeting rear male nudity, a reference to nonmarital sexual activity, and fleeting rough and crude language. (A-III, PG-13)

—CNS/USCCB

 

CNS classifications: A-I — general patronage. A-II — adults and adolescents. A-III — adults. A-IV — adults, with reservations. L — limited adult audiences, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. O — morally offensive.


Voices

Spiritual, but not religious? Who to blame for declining church attendance

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

It’s no secret that today there’s been a massive drop-off in church attendance. Moreover, that drop-off in church-going is not paralleled by the same widespread growth in atheism and agnosticism. Rather, more and more people are claiming to be spiritual but not religious, faith-filled but not churchgoers. Why this exodus from our churches?

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