Dogma
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -4

In this new comedy from writer/director Kevin Smith, Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartelby (Ben Affleck) are two fallen angels doomed to forever walk the face of the earth. But a loophole in the dogma of the Catholic Church says that, if they can make it to a specific church in New Jersey, their sins would be forgiven. And after killing themselves, they would be taken back to heaven. This would, however, contradict Gods decree when He banished them from heaven and, in turn, end all existence. So Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) is enlisted by God to stop the two angels from getting to the church. Along the way she meets Metatron (Alan Rickman), who is the voice of God, and Rufus (Chris Rock), who claims to be the 13th Apostle. Smith tries to do too much with this film; and, while it starts off with some intelligence and originality, it quickly trails off into an adolescent offbeat comedic adventure. With the controversy surrounding its bizarre religious humor, DOGMA should garner some box office success early on.

Even before its release, DOGMA has been the subject of considerable controversial. The church-related story focusing on Catholicism as antiquated and oppressive, while supposedly done in good fun, will come across to many as very irreverent and sacrilegious. And although the film is not anti-God, it explicitly promotes religious pluralismmany ways to God. An overall theme surfaces, as well, of God dealing with humanity unfairly. These perspectives fail to take the entire Bible into account--which is to be expected--and tend to be presented in a simplistic manner. Much of the humor is sex-related with some very graphic references to conventional and unconventional sexual behavior. In one scene, an angel pulls his pants down to reveal that it has no reproductive organs. This seems to have been done more for shock value than comedic effect. And graphic violence includes several shootings and the bloody aftermath of a mass homicide. Language is atrocious, with 96 f-words, 46 s-words, and 13 regular profanities. In light of the pervasive offensive content and irreverent humor, our assessment of DOGMA is dogmatically negative.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair and John Evans
Distributor: Lions Gate Films, 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 501, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Summary
Crude Language: Many (37) times - Mild (14) Moderate (23)
Obscene Language: Many (156) times (f-word 96, s-word 46, other 14)
Profanity: Many (10) times - Regular 13 (G 1, GD 1, J 4, C 1, JC 1, Sweet J 2, For G sake, C sake, Swear to G); Exclamatory 3 (My God, Oh God, Good Lord)
Violence: Many times Moderate and Graphic (woman killed with hockey stick, men/women hit, punched, beaten; implied mass shootings-dead shown; people shot point blank, stabbed, decapitated; neck broken; woman bleeds heavily)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Once (male rear outside); Near Nudity: Several times (woman in underwear, stripper in undergarments, see through t-shirt, angel pulls down pants - no reproductive organs)
Homosexual Conduct: Few times (reference to a person acting homosexually)
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Many times (references to sex/unconventional sex, genitals, self gratification; sexual motion made)
Drug Abuse: Many times (smoking, alcohol, drugs)
Other: Religion portrayed comically/irreverently, Catholic church viewed as antiquated and bigoted, pluralistic religious views, theme of God as unfair to humans; giant feces attacks people
Running Time: 130 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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