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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Prom

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Like the rite of passage for which it's named, "Prom" (Disney)—a wholesome but ho-hum high school-set romantic comedy—conjures opportunities and problems that seem to matter a great deal more to its youthful participants than to more mature outside observers.

Still, if the characters onscreen appear to have little to worry about, the same can also, fortunately, be said for parents dispatching or accompanying youngsters to director Joe Nussbaum's low-key, carefully choreographed social square dance.

Do-si-doing their way through the buildup to the big night—as they discover, renew or lose love—are a variety of teen couples led, in a classic case of attracted opposites, by clean-cut class president Nova (Aimee Teegarden) and mild bad boy Jesse (Thomas McDonell).

Nova—who seems destined to be her alma mater's answer to Martha Stewart, or perhaps Albert Speer—has devoted so much time and attention to prom preparations that she's crushed when the storage shed housing all the decorations goes up in smoke. And things seem to only get worse when the principal, as a means of punishing the rebel, assigns brooding, motorcycle-riding Jesse to be her helper in the Herculean task of reconstruction.

Despite the chopper—and a haircut reminiscent of Arlo Guthrie, circa "Alice's Restaurant"—Jesse turns out to be an OK guy who, in turn, discovers all the virtues initially hidden by Nova's emotional corset stays.

Concealing something else is Mei (Yin Chang), the distaff half of the school's longest running duo. Mei can't bring herself to tell her boyfriend Justin (Jared Kusnitz) that she's been accepted to a college she fancies more than the one they had planned to attend together.

Then there's goodhearted music nerd and promising lacrosse player Lucas (Nolan Sotillo). Not to be held back by his peas-in-the-pod friendship with even dorkier Corey (Cameron Monaghan)—who likes the same bands, but lacks coordination—Lucas aspires to win the affections of his fetching classmate Simone (Danielle Campbell). To do so, however, he'll have to overcome the rivalry of the lacrosse captain himself, Tyler (De'Vaughn Nixon).

Well, this is the movies after all.

Though Katie Wech's script varies what often feels like trivializing realism with such Hollywood flights of fancy, it does gather some emotional momentum as it proceeds. And the closest thing to problematic material comes with a brief dust-up between Jesse and a trio of louts who harass his mother at the diner where she toils as a waitress.

"Prom," in sum, registers as appropriate and agreeable—if not especially enthralling—entertainment for all.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested.

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



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Pedro de San José Betancur: Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the "St. Francis of the Americas," Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala. 
<p>Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change. </p><p>“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy. </p><p>Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established. </p><p>Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent. </p><p>Other men came to share in Pedro's work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro's death. A Bethlehemite sisters' community, similarly founded after Pedro's death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion. </p><p>He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve <i>posadas</i> procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night's lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries. </p><p>Pedro was canonized in 2002.</p> American Catholic Blog We sometimes try to do everything on our own, forgetting that the Lord wants to help us. Let's never be afraid to admit that we are weak and can't do things on our own. St. Paul gives us a great example: "On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses" (2 Corinthians 12:5).


 
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