Critics Not Thanking God It's Next Friday

How the weekend's top films were treated by Christian film reviewers

Racism was a hot topic at the movies this weekend of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. The Hurricane, enjoying its first week of wide release, was lauded for its condemnation of the institutional racism that kept boxer Rubin Carter flasely jailed for 20 years. But this weekend's box-office winner was the less noble-minded comedy Next Friday, attacked by several critics as "a stupid, petulant exercise in racism" (Eric Lurio of the Greenwich Village Gazette).

Next Friday ($14.5 million)

The only Christian critic who weighed in on the surprise hit sequel wasn't happy with it either. Preview's Paul Bicking took issue with its "flood of verbal filth and condoned drug use," exacerbated by "the stereotyped behaviors portrayed by popular actors." Mainstream critic Lawrence Van Gelder of The New York Times criticized Next Friday in the same vein, asserting that it's "feeding a stereotype of blacks as shiftless layabouts interested mainly in recreational drugs and irresponsible sex."

Stuart Little ($9.7 million)

Since no new Christian reviews for the mouse tale are available this week, I'll insert a review of my own. Like most Christian critics, I was charmed by this film, which details the adoption of a talking mouse in a human family. My only beef with the movie is its somewhat unambitious storytelling—especially in light of the imaginatively plotted Toy Story 2—that eschews much of the source novel by E.B. White. But since the movie's made more than $100 million already and there'll most likely be some sequels, the series as a whole might pick up more aspects of White's story. And though the movie as a whole doesn't achieve much depth, I was impressed by a comment Stuart made that he felt "an empty place inside" him, despite his ...

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