Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A rotten tomato for Stokes and Dove

I love being a critic and I love reading reviews by other critics, whether I agree with them or not. I accept and appreciate a wide range of perspectives and judgments. But some "critics" are as cynical and synthetic as the multiplex fodder they urge everyone to see, with positive reviews peppered with a glowing quote to be used in ads. And it infuriates me when someone purporting to advise parents on what is appropriate for children overlooks offensive material.

Janet Stokes of the Film Advisory Board, which appears to be a one-person operation, is quoted in the current ads for the hideously inappropriate Deck the Halls, calling it a "Christmas treasure." The Dove Foundation does not recommend the film, fretting over its use of "Jesus" as an expletive, a bet, and some clevage.

Neither one seems to find it relevant that it is a PG movie with grossly offensive homophobic humor: it is supposed to be funny that a cross-dressing man's lacy underwear is visible under his clothes, that a man meets his wife because he is a peeping tom and a young boy enjoys peeping at teenage girls, that men in a sleeping bag are naked for warmth, that men ogle pretty dancing girls ("Who's your daddy!") only to find they are their daughters ("Oh no! I'm your daddy!") so they race off to splash holy water in their eyes to purify themselves. The movie has humor about young teenagers dating sailors and faking IDs, a joke about a man exposing himself, and a reference to a stripper pole in the bedroom. The film is appalling and disgusting. And it is genuinely shocking that anyone who evaluates films for their suitability for children would fail to recognize that.


Michael said...

Don't you know some critics simply want their name in print on TV so they say something they really don't mean?

Nell Minow said...

Sure -- I've written before about Earl Dittman, the most notorious. But this is something different -- people who purport to do more than just express their opinions; they promise to give parents guidance on the appropriateness of the content for children. Their willingness to permit crude and homophobic humor while they cluck over less troubling content is evidence of poor judgment and, I think, questionable values.