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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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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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