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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

MacGruber

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

When a screenwriter resorts to making abortion the subject of a joke, Catholic viewers at least can be certain he has hit the comic skids. And so it proves with director and co-writer Jorma Taccone's "MacGruber" (Rogue), the consistently vulgar, intermittently gruesome expansion of a recurring "Saturday Night Live" skit that Taccone penned with Will Forte and John Solomon.

Forte plays the title character, an ever-cocky, frequently decorated but disastrously incompetent special agent in the vein of the "Pink Panther" franchise's Inspector Clouseau.

Ten years before the action begins, MacGruber—reacting to the brutal murder of his wife by his nemesis, evil arms dealer Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer)—faked his own death to retire to a life of contemplation. Thus, some of the opening scenes show MacGruber living in an American Indian village in the Southwest, meditating or perhaps praying in the community's Catholic-looking chapel and dressed in a Franciscan-like brown robe.

However, when Von Cunth—the obscene wordplay on whose name typifies the low humor on display in this tasteless action spoof—gets hold of a nuclear missile and plots to launch it on Washington during the State of the Union address, MacGruber answers the summons of his former commander, Army Col. Faith (Powers Boothe), and returns to action. He's eventually aided in his mission by Faith's subordinate, Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe), and by an old friend, undercover operative-turned-pop-singer Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig).

MacGruber's juvenile antics include distracting Von Cunth's thugs by wedging a celery stalk between his bare buttocks and waving it at them. The audience also is subjected to crude scenes portraying MacGruber's supposedly comic sexual encounters, and to the bloody results of his favorite combat technique: ripping open his adversaries' throats.

Theirs are not the only gorges adversely affected.

The film contains much gory violence, graphic premarital sexual activity, upper female and rear nudity, frequent sexual and scatological humor, more than a dozen uses of profanity and pervasive 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.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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