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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Bridesmaids

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Those who watched the seemingly flawless nuptials uniting Britain's newly minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will find a very different wedding experience awaiting them with the arrival on the big screen of the ill-tempered comedy "Bridesmaids" (Universal).

As written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, director Paul Feig's stumble toward the altar starts with a graphic, commitment-free bedroom scene and proceeds to lift the veil -- to supposedly humorous effect -- on other uninviting matters such as the symptoms of food poisoning.

Wiig stars as Annie, a failed bakery owner who finds the downward spiral of her fortunes accelerating after her lifelong best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) becomes engaged and asks her to serve as maid of honor.

What follows is a frantic rivalry pitting Annie against Helen (Rose Byrne) -- another of the attendants and a newfound pal of Lillian's who, Annie fears, may displace her in the bride-to-be's affections -- as well a series of disastrous misadventures for the titular ensemble as a whole (which also includes Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey).

Since most of these calamities are directly attributable to Annie's misguided efforts to best rich, glamorous and fanatically organized Helen, Lillian -- not surprisingly -- begins to lose patience with her old buddy. So, too, will many viewers.

One glimmer of hope in Annie's life is her budding romance with Irish-born local policeman Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd). But their potentially winning relationship -- Rhodes, for instance, thoughtfully encourages Annie to start baking again -- turns prematurely physical after only a few social encounters.

This is in keeping with the long-standing, utterly loveless affair linking Annie with wealthy, frivolous Ted (Jon Hamm). As revealed in that opening scene, which also features some obscene dialogue, their bond is strictly zoological.

Although Annie's willingness to play along with this base arrangement is presented as a symptom of her lack of self-respect, that doesn't prevent the screenwriters from trying to make comic hay out of it.

On the whole, then, this is one wedding that deserves a bad reception.

The film contains explicit nonmarital sexual activity, much sexual and scatological humor, a same-gender kiss, at least a half-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 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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Katharine Drexel: If your father is an international banker and you ride in a private railroad car, you are not likely to be drawn into a life of voluntary poverty. But if your mother opens your home to the poor three days each week and your father spends half an hour each evening in prayer, it is not impossible that you will devote your life to the poor and give away millions of dollars. Katharine Drexel did that. 
<p>She was born in Philadelphia in 1858. She had an excellent education and traveled widely. As a rich girl, she had a grand debut into society. But when she nursed her stepmother through a three-year terminal illness, she saw that all the Drexel money could not buy safety from pain or death, and her life took a profound turn. </p><p>She had always been interested in the plight of the Indians, having been appalled by what she read in Helen Hunt Jackson’s <i>A Century of Dishonor</i>. While on a European tour, she met Pope Leo XIII and asked him to send more missionaries to Wyoming for her friend Bishop James O’Connor. The pope replied, “Why don’t you become a missionary?” His answer shocked her into considering new possibilities. </p><p>Back home, Katharine visited the Dakotas, met the Sioux leader Red Cloud and began her systematic aid to Indian missions. </p><p>She could easily have married. But after much discussion with Bishop O’Connor, she wrote in 1889, “The feast of St. Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and the Colored.” Newspaper headlines screamed “Gives Up Seven Million!” </p><p>After three and a half years of training, she and her first band of nuns (Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored) opened a boarding school in Santa Fe. A string of foundations followed. By 1942 she had a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states, plus 40 mission centers and 23 rural schools. Segregationists harassed her work, even burning a school in Pennsylvania. In all, she established 50 missions for Indians in 16 states. </p><p>Two saints met when Katharine was advised by Mother Cabrini about the “politics” of getting her Order’s Rule approved in Rome. Her crowning achievement was the founding of Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic university in the United States for African Americans. </p><p>At 77, she suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. Apparently her life was over. But now came almost 20 years of quiet, intense prayer from a small room overlooking the sanctuary. Small notebooks and slips of paper record her various prayers, ceaseless aspirations and meditation. She died at 96 and was canonized in 2000.</p> American Catholic Blog Our task during these forty days is to examine our lives in light of God’s Word and see where we’ve allowed darkness to creep in, where we’ve taken the bait of the diabolical fisher of men. It’s time to use the sword of the Spirit to cut through his web of deception, to free ourselves from the net that holds us as prey.


 
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