One critic's trash is another critic's treasure, or so it seems from this week's crop of mostly polar reviews from Christian critics: Meet the Parents, Girlfight, Best in Show, and Dancer in the Dark all received high praise and harsh appraisals.
Meet the Parents's $28.6 million haul this weekend set a new record for October debuts, crushing the old mark held by Antz ($17.2 million). The majority of Christian critics were as wowed by the film as audiences. "Imagine a marriage of Nora Ephron romanticism and the insane physical humor of the Farrelly brothers," writes Focus on the Family's Bob Smithouser, "operating in a kinder, gentler mode. That may be the best way to describe Meet the Parents, a heartfelt, yet manic comedy." The story focuses on Greg Focker (Ben Stiller), a young man trying desperately to win the affection of his girlfriend's father (Robert De Niro) but making one mistake after another. "This movie holds together because of two strong leads," says World magazine, "and a hyperactive pace in which one wild event piles on top of another. … Most of the action comes off as strangely believable, especially since audiences are set up to sympathize with the Stiller character." Holly McClure of Crosswalk.com also liked the truthful moments behind the laughs. "This hilarious comedy captures the fear, angst and painful paranoia of seeking approval from future in-laws," McClure says, "and, in the process, discovering truths about yourself." The film also included some positive messages about marriage—"it champions the permanence of marriage," says Smithouser—and about telling the truth. "Honesty plays a big part in the film's theme," notes Preview's Mary Draughon. "Greg and Pam lie to her parents about ...1
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