TV film fare -- week of May 14
NEW YORK (OSV News) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of May 14. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, May 14, noon-1:35 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "The Guilt Trip" (2012). Warmhearted comedy about the relationship between a buttoned-up chemist (Seth Rogen) and his doting widowed mother (Barbra Streisand). Secretly hoping to reunite New York-based mom with a boyfriend from her youth who now lives in San Francisco, the researcher invites her along on a cross-country business trip during which he'll be pitching a cleaning product he invented. Though not all the adventures that ensue make for family viewing, notably an unintended stop-off at a roadside strip club, the vibrant mutual affection between the two main characters shines through as they try to reconcile their ill-matched temperaments. By turns amusing and touching, director Anne Fletcher's film -- which sees both its stars in top form -- is enjoyable fare for grownups. Brief partial nudity, numerous adult references, a couple of uses of profanity, at least one rough and about a dozen crude terms. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Sunday, May 14, 5-8 p.m. EDT (Lifetime) "The Help" (2011). This deftly acted drama compellingly portrays the efforts of a rebellious white Southerner and would-be journalist (Emma Stone) to write a book documenting the lives of a group of black housemaids (most prominently Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer) in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s. To complete this secret and potentially dangerous project, the novice reporter braves the opposition of her good-hearted but traditionally minded mother (Allison Janney) and the wildly racist thinking of her privileged peers (personified most viciously by Bryce Dallas Howard). Writer-director Tate Taylor's adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel uses vivid characterizations to bring the Civil Rights-era struggle for human dignity alive. But a harsh scatological plot development marks this as off-limits for younger viewers, who might otherwise benefit from its generally uplifting story, and will even be off-putting for many adults. Graphic scatological theme, brief violence and medical gore, veiled sexual references, a half-dozen uses each of profanity and crude language, a few racial slurs. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Wednesday, May 17, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "My Man Godfrey" (1936). Classic screwball comedy in which an empty-headed socialite (Carole Lombard) wins a posh scavenger hunt with the help of a jobless, homeless "forgotten man" (William Powell) who's then hired as butler for her wacky rich family and in the process transforms them and himself. Director Gregory La Cava has a lot of fun with a top cast, but the Depression-era story is treated with social conscience as well as comic wit in its portrayal of a person's worth as more than wealth or position. Some romantic situations. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Thursday, May 18, 8-9:45 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Gold Rush" (1925). Classic silent comedy with Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp searching for gold in the Klondike where he gets snowed in with a starving prospector (Mack Swain) and has a bittersweet romance with a dance hall girl (Georgia Hale). It's Chaplin at his best, with memorable comic highlights including a tilting cabin perched on the edge of a precipice, a Thanksgiving dinner made out of a boiled shoe and a charming dance performed by bread rolls. Delightful family fare. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, May 20, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. EDT (AMC) "2012" (2009). In the disaster movie to end all fiasco flicks, a doomsday cataclysm results in billions losing their lives as the earth's crust breaks apart, dismantling civilization and rearranging the continents. Director Roland Emmerich gives his special-effects wizards license to test the limits of the technically plausible and morally palatable, while asking moviegoers to take heart as the scenario affords a White House geologist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and a divorced science-fiction writer (John Cusack) the chance to exhibit altruism, even as their exploits are interspersed with disturbing apocalyptic imagery, including the destruction of St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Considerable crude and crass language, much profanity, an obscene gesture, a few instances of sexual innuendo. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.- - - John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News. Follow him on Twitter @JohnMulderig1.