“I don’t have to think. I’m Catholic.” — UPDATED

That’s the side-splitting punchline Kathleen Turner delivers in the new movie “The Perfect Family.”

Are you laughing yet?

[Crickets chirping.]

Judging from the trailer, the movie traffics in stereotypical insults and anti-Catholic bigotry that would be offensive if they weren’t so predictable, cliched and obvious. But don’t take my word for it.  See the clip below.  It opens Friday. (Awaiting Bill Donohue’s press release on this in 3, 2, 1…)

YouTube Preview Image

UPDATE: Variety has a review, with more details:

Although peppered with too-infrequent but unforgettable one-liners delivered by Turner (“I don’t have to think, I’m Catholic!”), the script by Paula Goldberg and Claire V. Riley more often derives mild physical comedy from innocuous jokes on ritual piety: Mrs. Cleary hastily kicks some spilled communion wafers under a pew, then gobbles them up to hide the evidence…

…As a woman who slowly comes to realize she is destroying what she loves most, Turner’s tour-de-force perf meshes the absurdity of her actions with the desperation of her cause. But Deschanel’s lesbian-daughter role, in particular, is diminished by the pic’s graceless lurching from genteel “Sister Act”-type humor to impassioned, melodramatic gay-rights advocacy.

The pic’s main agenda, preaching religious tolerance toward gays, is rarely presented as even remotely humorous (turkey-baster gags notwithstanding) and often clashes with the pic’s comic setups.

Comments

  1. Gabriel McAuliffe says:

    Depressing.

  2. Is she quoting St. Thomas Aquinas?

  3. It is amazing how the current culture, especially the movie industry, gets such traction from these old cliches and stereotypes about faithful Catholics. Father Barron has a timely discussion of “faith and reason” over on the Word On Fire website:
    http://www.wordonfire.org/trackback/a2443982-875f-4c1e-a8c7-9d9dfdf26256/Fr–Barron-comments-on-Faith-and-Reason.aspx

  4. You obviously have not watched “The perfect Family” and you judge the whole movie from the trailer!
    If you had watched the movie (which is my case) you would never have written that “the movie traffics in stereotypical insults and anti-Catholic bigotry”. Because it is just the opposite.

  5. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    I made clear I was drawing my conclusions from the movie’s trailer. Which, I also made clear, I found offensive.

    I’m happy to be proven wrong. I’ll be interested in seeing how what is depicted in the trailer is transformed into a positive, affirmative, pro-Catholic message.

    DGK

  6. At the beginning, Turner’s character has, like some people (not all), and in a lot of areas (not just faith), a very rigid and conservative view about catholicism and being catholic. But as the story goes on, we see various catholic people as well as priests who are very open and do not judge. And there is a very, very positive image about church towards the end of the movie.
    Also, the director mentioned several times that while Turner’s character is a catholic, she could have followed any other religion, she had no intention to bash catholicism. And Kathleen Turner and Emily Deschanel recently said the same thing in an interview.
    When I watched the movie, there was a Q&A session after, and some people said they were catholic and did not take the movie as offensive.

  7. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Too bad the trailer resorts to selling itself by mocking us.

  8. I will agree with you in that the trailer can be misleading, especially if you have no other information about the movie (which I had from reading some articles and interviews).

  9. teomatteo says:

    So I ask…. what is the purpose of a trailer?

  10. Larry Smith says:

    I would have to agree with Deacon Kandra about the trailer; it does seem to infer that Catholics who follow Church teachings are clownish. What concerns me is when I read or hear *catholic people as well as priests who are open and do not judge*, that usually means they will disagree with Church teaching on an issue and then they are celebrated for their *openness*. So, if Cl01 has seen the movie, do they still adhere to and proclaim Church teaching? Or is it the usual *conversion* to the norms of what society is doing at the time?

    Thanks, but based on the trailer (which is supposed to let me know what the movie is about), I think I’ll pass on this one.

  11. IntoTheWest says:

    I could easily see this movie being made with a fundamentalist, Bible-belt stereotype instead of Turner’s character, and I, too, can only go by the trailer. I hope the picture ultimately provides a broader, truer perspective on Catholicism, but I’m not holding my breath.

    I do find it ironic, however, that one production company involved is called “Certainty Films”.

  12. Larry Smith’s comment is spot-on. From the trailer, I’d be willing to bet fifty bucks that it follows the standard precepts of Hollywood Christian-bashing 101: all the petty, vicious, narrow-minded, and hypocritical characters will be the “rigid and conservative” ones who actually practice and/or vocalize specific doctrines of Christian faith; all the characters who are “very open and do not judge” (meaning, those who have evolved away from actual beliefs toward that amorphous blob known as “spiritual but not religious”) will be revealed as saintly by the end of the third act.

  13. Brought to by Hollywood.

    You know, the guys who are actively pushing the ‘Christians are the redneck, evolution denying, homophobe, intolerant group forcing women to have back alley abortions’ meme.

    It used be that Hollywood had white Europeans as the terrorist bad guy in the movie, Christians have now taken over that roll in most tv shows and movies. We are the default butt of their jokes now.

    Again the LGBT angle is always there:

    “With her gay daughter (Emily Deschanel) about to marry her life partner, her unhappily married son (Jason Ritter) having an affair with the local manicurist, and her own marriage to a recovered alcoholic coming apart at the seams, Eileen decides to take action, ramping up her meddling to hilarious new heights.”

    The only healthy relationship in the movie is the gay one.

    The director’s last movie was about Prop 8 in California.

    Director Anne Renton: “When Prop 8 was passed in California, I turned to a short film that I had just made, called Love Is Love.”

    Source: HuffPost Gay Voices: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charlotte-robinson/anne-renton-the-perfect-family_b_1451543.html

    Kathleen Turner interview on the movie: “To me, organized religion is primarily man putting words in God’s mouth. “

  14. So…this is an “abusive relationship” – type trailer? One in which the victim “grows” by abasing him/herself to suit the demands of the abuser — for which the reward is a pat on the head at movie’s end.

    she had no intention to bash

    Just trying to help, which is what abusers always say.

  15. Deacon Tom,
    Right on. When I hear a line like this, my first reaction to the scriptwriters is, “I’m calling your bluff.” This meme, much like the ‘recovering Catholic’ meme, is more than just ‘tired’. There’s something about them that rely on facade and game-playing. Keep the meme-play going, lest we are forced to deal with our problems. It’s kinda like the postmodern flip side of the repressed family that never talks about its problems or secrets and sits around the dinner table pretending everything is hunky dory.

    It’s not just that these memes about the ‘unthinking Catholic’ are silly and untrue; it’s more strangely that no one *believes* that these memes actually resonate with anything resembling the truth.

  16. Kathleen Turner, to me your acting career is primarily writers putting words in your mouth.

  17. Yawn.

    If you think Hollywood gets the Catholic wrong, you should ponder how many times they shoot science in the foot. If I judged the film industry based on the quantity of error, I’d say that scientists have a lot more to complain about.

    I don’t understand the fuss on this. Nobody owes us good PR. Nobody owes us an accurate representation of the faith. We have the lived life of believers–that’s Church teaching directly derived from the Gospels.

    Don’t believe Hollywood on religion or science. Don’t believe conservatives on liberals, or vice versa. Go to the source. Seems simple. No need to denigrate Ms Turner as an actor–none at all. Best to keep it classy.

  18. There is no “reply” button after Larry Smith’s comment so I can’t reply directly.
    Also, English is not my first language, and maybe I do not convey very well what I have in mind.
    Anyways, I can see now how most people here, if not everybody, are negative about the movie and the story it tells (without even having watched it), and will only take what is negative in various reviews and articles or turn lines into negative, so I will stop replying on this blog.

  19. About the only “mainstream” humorist who gets what’s funny in religion is Garrison Keillor. As for the rest of them, you really should understand what a reach for them it is to even make it to offensive — usually they make a “joke” about religion and it’s just utterly clueless.

  20. The fuss? Could you imagine for a nanosecond a movie like this but the butt of the jokes was on Muslims or Jews? Not in Hollywood.

  21. Jews, yes. You find a lot of self-directed humor by Jews to their own culture.

    Humor is difficult. The best comedians are the ones who include themselves in the joke. Cheap comedy pokes at others. I see a lot of bitter humor from Catholics directed at others. We’re far from the best-behaved where appropriate humor is concerned.

  22. IntoTheWest says:

    All actors’ careers are primarily writers putting words in their mouths. And so much of religion is theatre…

    Plus, she’s not the first to observe that organized religion often is men putting words in God’s mouth. If the movie is awful, it’ll be awful and will fade away. If it’s good, if it has some redeeming qualities, or a surprising message, great.

    I don’t think being dismissive, much less outraged, about a trailer for a movie no one’s seen yet helps de-bunk the assumed stereotype about Catholics.

  23. K Gerard says:

    Kathleen Turner is chair of Planned Parenthood’s Board of Advocates, so I’m not expecting open-minded treatment of the Church.

    http://www.kathleen-turner.com/biography.php

  24. K Gerard says:

    One of screenwriters of the movie, Claire V. Riley, attended Catherine McAuley High School in Brooklyn, where she apparently learned enough about the Eucharist to have a character in the movie kick hosts under a pew. I think it is time to comprehend that the Catholic school system in the U.S. seems to do more to harm the church than help it. The schools create a social environment in which bashing Catholic values gives one “street cred”, and then they use a generally good education to advance in careers in which they rebel against Catholic values. (Many teaching staffs are complicit in this as well.)

  25. RomCath says:

    catholic is spelled with a Capital C

  26. Deacon Terry Howard says:

    Get a grip!

  27. K Gerard says:

    Correction: she went to Catherine McAuley High School in Portland, Maine. But seriously: someone kicks the Eucharist in a movie? What if it was a Koran?

  28. Amara Shields says:

    Look i am an athiest so I don’t believe in Catholicism or any other kind of religious views, I just do not see the harm in this movie. Suck it up Catholics everyone has their belief systems mocked in their lifetimes as I have by countless religious people that mock my belief in Darwin and evolution and not creation like them. I just thought believe what you wanna believe but stop being so narrow-minded and closed off to the possibilities

  29. Hollywood often is unrealistic about science in moviesand occasionally has a mad scientist, but the don’t go out of there way to make scientists looks like a bunch of evil bigots.

    Apparently this movie is only opening in like 8 theaters nationwide and looks to bad a liberal propaganda picture with an emphasis on gay issues. All this seems to add up to academy awards nominations, unfortunately.

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