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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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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog We all have fears, but we don’t have to be afraid. Jesus is always with us to protect us and give us courage. We only have to remember that the battle is the Lord’s. When Jesus gives us the victory, let’s be sure to thank Him and praise Him for what He has done.

 
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