Family Filmgoer reviews ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits,’ ‘Think Like a Man,’ ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ and more

April 27, 2012
10 and older

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (PG). Much of the humor in this laugh-out-loud British animated comedy will, alas, go over kids’ heads. The cheeky tone and historic references are more likely to amuse grown-ups and will require a lot of explanation for kids younger than high-school age. Yet there’s little in the film that is inappropriate for those 10 and older, save a lone throwaway line uttered by the Pirate Captain, who reminisces about how he used to enjoy running people through and killing babies. The Pirate Captain and his merry crew are headed to Blood Island so the Captain can enter the Pirate of the Year contest. He encounters a scientist named Charles Darwin, who notes that the Captain’s pet Polly is actually a rare dodo bird. Darwin brings the Captain and his crew to London for a science contest and things get quite out of hand.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The dialogue includes very mild sexual innuendo, as with a character named “The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate.” A few mild curses such as “hell’s barnacles!” are heard. A subplot about rich people who like to eat the meat of rare, exotic animals could disturb kids.

PG-13

Think Like a Man. This is an adult romantic comedy despite the PG-13 rating, and better suited to high-schoolers and grown-ups. Parents may find it too sexually charged and occasionally profane for middle-schoolers. Based on comedian Steve Harvey’s advice book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” it follows the romantic follies of several men and women who have key problems in their relationships. The women get copies of Harvey’s book and start using his advice to trick the men into stepping up. Then the men get the book and try to fight back.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The movie includes several steamily implied but non-explicit sexual situations, implied drug use, moderate drinking, midrange profanity and a lot of sexual innuendo.

The Lucky One. Teen girls (and their moms) are the target audience for this romantic drama, based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, and they’ll like it just fine. Logan believes the photo of an unknown woman he found somehow saved him in Iraq. He traces the photo to Beth, a divorcee who runs a kennel in Louisiana and lives with her 7-year-old son, Ben, and her grandmother. Logan can’t bring himself to tell Beth why he’s there.

The bottom line: Scenes depicting violence in the Iraq War, threats by a jealous ex-husband and strongly implied sexual situations make the film iffy for preteens. The film includes a couple of strongly implied sexual situations, which involve bare bottoms. Characters occasionally use barnyard epithets and get drunk and belligerent. A character’s apparent drowning is not graphic.

R

The Five-Year Engagement. Too sexually explicit and comically profane to recommend for under-17s, “The Five-Year Engagement” is nevertheless a deeply humane and refreshingly comedic adult take on the difficulties of love. Tom is a gifted San Francisco sous chef. His fiancee, Violet, is a budding psychologist. It was love at first sight. Violet gets an offer from the University of Michigan. They postpone their wedding, and Tom gamely follows her there but hates it and sinks into a depression. It takes the five years of the title for the two to realize they need to be together.

THE BOTTOM LINE: In a cringe-making moment of comic mayhem, a child accidentally fires a loaded crossbow, and Violet gets an arrow in the thigh. We see Tom shoot a couple of deer on hunting trips. The film includes a couple of very explicit sexual situations and an instance of nonsexual, back-view nudity. The language is often highly profane and sexually explicit.

The Raven. Film fans 17 and older who love mysteries both real and fictional will be drawn to this film and probably disappointed. We meet Edgar Allan Poe on a park bench in the snow, seemingly breathing his last due to an undetermined cause. We learn that a series of vicious murders were occurring in Baltimore. Police detective Fields recognizes the killer’s MO as echoing Poe’s stories. Fields doesn’t really suspect Poe but does insist that the alcoholic writer help find the killer by imagining what the killer will do next. Then the woman he loves is abducted by a cloaked figure who buries her alive. It gets worse. The true killer, the motive and everything else about the film feel painfully contrived.

The bottom line: The story of “The Pit and the Pendulum” is reenacted to bloody visual effect, as a man’s torso is sliced in two — much blood. We see a severed tongue. Other victims are shown with throats slit. The script uses occasional profanity, including one use of the F-word, and some toilet humor. Poe drinks constantly. His “morbid melancholy” is discussed. It is implied that he and his girlfriend have an intimate relationship.

Sound of My Voice. For art-house film buffs 16 and older, “Sound of My Voice,” a relatively mild R, offers intriguing bits to mull over and argue about afterward. But this low-budget thriller about a couple who infiltrate a cult has problems holding interest and maintaining credibility. Peter and Lorna arranged to become members of a bizarre cult led by a charismatic woman named Maggie. Maggie tells her followers that she is from the future. Peter and Lorna are sure she’s a fake, but they, too, are not immune to Maggie’s mind-controlling wiles.

The bottom line: The script includes occasional use of strong profanity, sexual language and a non-graphic discussion about the past sexual abuse of a child. A brief sexual situation between adults is not explicit. People in the cult force themselves to vomitonce. The abduction of a child is discussed and planned.

Horwitz is a freelance writer.

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