Family Filmgoer reviews ‘Identity Thief,’ ‘Side Effects’ and ‘Warm Bodies’
By Jane Horwitz,
Warm Bodies. Okay for high-schoolers and some middle-schoolers who can handle zombified gore, “Warm Bodies” blends non-tragic bits of “Romeo and Juliet” with a zombie saga and teen-friendly humor. R is a teen zombie who shuffles along, grunting, as words don’t come easily. His pal is M, and they and others go out looking for human brains to eat. R feels a connection to Julie after eating her boyfriend’s brain. He protects her from the other zombies; they become friends and gradually fall in love.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The movie pushes the PG-13 envelope when zombies get blown away gorily by humans or kill humans and eat their brains. The skeletal creatures called “bonies” also kill and eat other, fleshier zombies. The dialogue includes a little profanity, and there is mild sexual innuendo.
Identity Thief. Fans 17 and older of riotous, raunchy comedy will laugh at first, then wonder why “Identity Thief” doesn’t maintain the hilarity. Many parents will probably deem the film’s profanity and crude sexual language too strong for those younger than 17. Sandy Patterson is a nice family guy. His wife is pregnant with their third child. The boss is a jerk, so when high-level traders leave to start their own company, Sandy goes, too. Then his identity is stolen by Diana, a shopping addict. Police tell Sandy it could take a year to clear his name, so he goes to Florida to bring his nemesis back and get her to confess. Chaos ensues.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Crude, explicit sexual slang and strong profanity earn the R rating, along with comically explicit sexual situations, though no nudity. The mayhem in the film is more comic than graphic. Some characters drink till they’re blotto.
Side Effects. Fairly explicit sexual situations and sexual themes, along with an intense exploration of mental illness, make “Side Effects” too mature for most viewers younger than 17. Some older, more sophisticated high-schoolers, however, might enjoy this taut, handsomely wrought psychological thriller. Emily is married to Martin, who has just finished a prison term for insider trading. She should be happy to have him home, but she finds her old depression returning. Jonathan Banks becomes her therapist, prescribing various drugs. Separately, Banks agrees to join a pharmaceutical company’s study of a new anti-depressant, and he prescribes the drug for Emily.
The bottom line: The film is not for older teens struggling with depression. It includes a graphic stabbing death with considerable blood. Characters engage in one fairly explicit sexual situation with nearly full nudity. Characters misuse prescription drugs and utter occasional strong profanity.
Bullet to the Head. Too violent for most teens younger than 17, this crime story may interest older teens who like their crime sagas in the hard-bitten, noirish vein. James Bonomo is a Louisiana hit man who befriends a cop named Taylor Kwan. Both Bonomo and Kwan are after the same gangster. Crooked cops, gangster developers and thugs abound, and the bullets and blood fly.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Point-blank shootings involve much blood and gore. Characters use cocaine and drink booze. Naked women wander through a high-roller’s house party. An incredibly graphic autopsy scene shows a victim’s entire thorax cut open. Bullets are pried out of wounds and the wounds sewn up. The script includes strong profanity.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. This ill-conceived revenge fantasy, in which the adult Hansel and Gretel get even with witches, is too gory for most high-schoolers younger than 16. The script uses jarringly modern and strong profanity, and it brims with other anachronisms, such as Hansel injecting himself with a medieval-looking hypodermic for diabetes. Their guns and crossbows appear vaguely historic but shoot like modern assault weapons. Hansel explains that, after his and Gretel’s misadventure as children, they grew up on their own and became traveling witch hunters for hire.
The bottom line: One character is strung up and his body pulled apart, with gore flying. Other violence between witches and humans depicts hearts pierced or heads torn off, but the digital effects are so outlandish that none of it seems very real, so it feels less graphic. The film includes considerable strong profanity, back-view nudity and an implied sexual situation.
Movie 43. Not for anyone younger than 20, “Movie 43” is a collection of short, incredibly gross and sexually explicit comic films. They feature a surprising A-level roster of stars, including Dennis Quaid, Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Elizabeth Banks, Emma Stone, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell and more. Charlie is a wannabe screenwriter who invades a studio executive’s office to make a story pitch. The rest of the film cuts between their meeting and scenes from Charlie’s script.
The bottom line: There is no way in a family newspaper to go into more detail about the gross lewdness in “Movie 43.” Suffice it to say that it weaves sexual situations with toilet humor, psychological torment and occasional violence, and all of it is laced with profanity.
Horwitz is a freelance writer.