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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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Ludovico of Casoria: Born in Casoria (near Naples), Arcangelo Palmentieri was a cabinet-maker before entering the Friars Minor in 1832, taking the name Ludovico. After his ordination five years later, he taught chemistry, physics and mathematics to younger members of his province for several years. 
<p>In 1847 he had a mystical experience which he later described as a cleansing. After that he dedicated his life to the poor and the infirm, establishing a dispensary for the poor, two schools for African children, an institute for the children of nobility, as well as an institution for orphans, the deaf and the speechless, and other institutes for the blind, elderly and for travelers. In addition to an infirmary for friars of his province, he began charitable institutes in Naples, Florence and Assisi. He once said, "Christ’s love has wounded my heart." This love prompted him to great acts of charity.
</p><p>To help continue these works of mercy, in 1859 he established the Gray Brothers, a religious community composed of men who formerly belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he founded the Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth for the same purpose.
</p><p>Toward the beginning of his final, nine-year illness, Ludovico wrote a spiritual testament which described faith as "light in the darkness, help in sickness, blessing in tribulations, paradise in the crucifixion and life amid death." The local work for his beatification began within five months of Ludovico’s death. He was beatified in 1993.</p> American Catholic Blog Father, there are so many times when I attempt to do something good, and disturbing situations arise, as if someone or some power is trying to stop me. Give me the grace never to be afraid or avoid doing good for fear of Satan. In Jesus's name, Father, I ask for this grace, Amen.


 
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