Touch
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -3

Paul Schrader, screenwriter for The Last Temptation of Christ, has adapted this satirical comedy from a novel by Elmore Leonard. It's an often muddled story about a young man with miraculous healing powers. Juvenal (Skeet Ulrich), a counselor at a Los Angeles rehabilitation center, discovered his abilities as a monk at a Brazilian mission. Visiting a recovering alcoholic, Juvenal gives sight to a blind woman. This interests Bill Hill (Christopher Walken), a former charlatan minister now selling mobile homes. Hill enlists Lynn Faulkner (Bridget Fonda) to check into the rehab center and find out more about Juvenal. She discovers he's a stigmatist, as the crucifixion wounds of Christ appear on his hands and side whenever he heals. Captivated by his supernatural gifts, Lynn falls for Juvenal and they become lovers. Meanwhile, Hill negotiates with a TV talk show host and a reporter to financially capitalize on Juvenal's talents. Also wanting to use Juvenal is August Murray (Tom Arnold), a Roman Catholic whose group is pressuring that church to eliminate all modern, non-traditional forms of worship. Touch could have been an interesting examination of the unbridled exploitation of supernaturally gifted people in today's world. But that aspect is strangely subdued, and the relationships and comedy are not enough to hold anyone's interest.

Not overwhelmingly vicious towards religious believers, Touch nevertheless finds ways to ridicule them. Juvenal's motives are mostly pure, but he strays into the sin of fornication with Lynn. Their love scene implies sex and includes male and female rear nudity. Even with his religious background, Juvenal can be spiritually naive. He says his power is "not something I can explain," and doesn't know if God is its source. August is an over-exaggerated, comical religious fanatic who fantasies about murdering Lynn for destroying his plans. Juvenal stops August by pushing him off a balcony. A stripper whose son was healed insists she's still a Catholic. Language is less than heavenly, with many crude words, 10 regular profanities and eight obscenities. Touch is the latest attempt by Hollywood to portray believers in a demeaning fashion. Hopefully it will fail just as miserably as similiar films that have portrayed Christians in an unfavorable light.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Distributor: United Artists, 2500 Broadway St., Santa Monica, CA 90404-3061

Summary
Crude Language: Many (12) times - Mild 5, Moderate 7
Obscene Language: Several (9) times - s-word 7, f-word 1, other 1)
Profanity: Many (16) times - Regular 10 (G-d 7, J 1, C 1, G 1), Exclamatory 6
Violence: Few times -- Mild and Moderate (implied beating, man falls off balcony, man flogged and doused with boiling water, man cuts hand, bleeding stigmata, woman shot with bloody wounds)
Sexual Intercourse: Implied once with unmarried couple
Nudity: Rear male and female nudity once; near nudity with couple intertwined in bed, low-cut dress, woman in underwear
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Crude sexually related jokes
Drug Abuse: Few times (alcohol, smoking)
Other: Man has healing powers, displays stigmatic wounds, touches woman's breast to heal her; priest with weak bladder; religious fanatic
Running Time: 97 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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