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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

This Means War

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine star in "This Means War."
Ill-conceived cinematically, and pervaded by a misguided view of human sexuality, the action and romance blend "This Means War" (Fox) quickly fights itself to a stalemate.

Director McG tracks the rivalry between two CIA agents and best friends, FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy), after they both fall for perky consumer goods tester Lauren (Reese Witherspoon). While her suitors bring the resources of the spy world to bear in an increasingly frantic effort to thwart each other, confused Lauren turns for advice to her closest pal Trish (Chelsea Handler). Trish's pointers, though meant to be comic, are more often low-minded. Indeed, the occasional one-liner aside, the humor on offer here rarely works.

Suave FDR — named, and nicknamed, for the 32nd president — is the footloose playboy type. Tuck, the divorced father of a young son, is not only out of practice at playing the field; he's also shown, early on, to be anxious for reconciliation with ex-wife Katie (Abigail Leigh Spencer).

The path to a generally moral -- though not unmixed — wrap-up sees FDR sufficiently smitten with Lauren to consider a committed lifestyle. Still, Timothy Dowling and Simon Kinberg's script takes it for granted that a dating couple reach the bedroom together long before they get anywhere near the altar. And, since Lauren is a partner in two such pairings simultaneously, we are left in at least temporary suspense as to how many beds she may be occupying in sequential short order.

The fairly transparent effort to craft a date movie with appeal to both genders, moreover, means that the main duo's competitive wooing is interspersed with explosions, gunplay and hand-to-hand combat. The springboard for introducing these elements is a subplot about an international arms dealer named Heinrich (Til Schweiger) whose machinations FDR and Tuck have been assigned to foil.

"War ... what is it good for?" demanded a classic 1970 Motown tune. In the case of this onscreen dust-up, the answer is, not a whole lot.

The film contains considerable action violence, skewed sexual values, brief semigraphic premarital sexual activity, a few instances of profanity, some adult humor and references, at least one use of the F-word and about a dozen crude or crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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



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Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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