Father Figures  

Warner Bros.  

Threadbare comedy about estranged fraternal twins (Owen Wilson and Ed Helms) who belatedly learn from their mother (Glenn Close) that the man she long ago told them was their deceased father was, in fact, just a friend of hers, and that their real dad may be alive though her promiscuous past makes it impossible for her to identify for sure which of many candidates he might be. This discovery launches the siblings on a road trip during which they visit a series of contenders, the first being famed football star Terry Bradshaw, playing himself. Director Lawrence Sher’s formulaic feature delights but quickly sinks into a stupor from which only an energetic turn from Katt Williams as a hitchhiker does it briefly emerge. And the distasteful premise is matched by a worm’s-eye view of human sexuality throughout, although the resolving plot twist can be seen as vaguely pro-life. Pervasive sexual and some scatological humor, an incest theme, a premarital bedroom scene, about a dozen uses of profanity, a couple of milder oaths, constant rough and crude language. L; R  

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle  


Amusing comic adventure in which a quartet of teens (Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman and Morgan Turner) find themselves magically transported into an old video game where they inhabit the avatars they chose before the start of play (Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan). Most of the laughs come from the contrast between the characters’ real-life personas and the bodies and personalities they take on within their new environment. As they face and overcome a series of challenges in their quest to win the game, the only means of reemerging from it, the ensemble learns familiar Hollywood lessons about the value of teamwork and the courage required to pursue cherished dreams. Director Jake Kasdan’s film, more a variant on than a sequel to 1995’s “Jumanji,” and based, like its predecessor, on Chris Van Allsburg’s 1981 children’s book, keeps its conflicts almost completely bloodless. But some off-color gags and a considerable amount of vulgarity in the dialogue render this strictly grownup fare. Gunplay and other combat violence, some of it harsh but with minimal gore, at least one use of profanity and a couple of milder oaths, sexual and anatomical humor, a single rough term, a few crude and numerous crass words. A-III; PG-13 

Pitch Perfect 3 


Discordant and exceedingly unfunny musical comedy, directed by Trish Sie. The members of an award-winning a capella singing group (Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson and Anna Camp, among others) have graduated from college and entered the real world. Job prospects are slim, and they long to reunite and sing again. A USO tour offers that chance, and a silly romp through military bases in four countries ensues. The tour is also a competition to become the opening act for hip-hop artist DJ Khaled (playing himself), the contest filmed as a documentary by a duo who judged the ensemble in a previous tournament (Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins). Although the film reunites the cast of the 2012 kickoff and 2015 sequel, and features the expected toe-tapping tunes and lowbrow humor, it lacks originality and runs out of steam well before the end credits roll. An out-of-wedlock pregnancy, vulgar humor, sexual banter, a couple of crude terms. A-III; PG-13 

The Commuter 


Lively action sequences help mask the muddled premise of this Liam Neeson vehicle. He plays a police officer-turned-insurance-salesman who, on the very day he is let go from the latter job, finds his train trip home to the suburbs transformed into a test of character when a stranger (Vera Farmiga) offers him a large sum to identify one of his fellow passengers on the basis of a few scanty clues. It soon becomes apparent that she is not on the side of the angels and that her proposal is as much blackmail as bargain. With his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) and son (Dean-Charles Chapman) in danger, he turns for help to a friend and fellow cop (Patrick Wilson) who is still on the force but must largely fend for himself as he pursues his frantic search. Director Jaume Collet-Serra’s generally efficient thriller does present its protagonist with a fundamental moral dilemma. Yet the logical shortcomings of its story blunt the impact of its perfectly respectable ethical message. Much brawling and some lethal violence with brief gore, a scene implying use of pornography, about a dozen profanities, a couple of rough and several crude terms, an obscene gesture. A-III; PG-13

Paddington 2 

Warner Bros. 

This endearing blend of animation and live action finds the much-loved talking bear of the title (voice of Ben Whishaw) far from his roots in the Peruvian jungle, having settled into a cozy domestic life with the very British human family (led by Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins) that adopted him in the first film. But his routine of munching on marmalade sandwiches and helping his neighbors in small but thoughtful ways is rudely interrupted when he is wrongly convicted of stealing an antique book. Though imprisoned, he still manages to exert his trademark charm on his fellow inmates, including the jail’s initially ferocious hardened criminal of a cook (Brendan Gleeson). Writer-director Paul King’s follow-up to his 2015 original, which also features Hugh Grant as the egotistical actor who makes himself Paddington’s nemesis, is once again based on a series of books by Michael Bond. The warm goodness and jaunty joking are only slightly marred by some ridiculous wordplay that may have a few parents frowning momentarily, while the smallest members of the family may be scared by a few action scenes. Perilous situations, brief childish anatomical humor. A-I; PG </span id=”18″>

The Post 


Nostalgic account of The Washington Post’s publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 has Meryl Streep as publisher Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee fighting both the Nixon administration and their own notions of how journalists should behave around prominent public officials. Director Steven Spielberg, working from a script by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, aims to make a rouser along the lines of 1952’s “Deadline U.S.A.” and, according to that film’s formula of a crusading newspaper in financial peril triumphing over government secrets and crooked politicians, he succeeds. Scenes of military combat, fleeting rough language. A-III; PG-13 

USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classifications: 

A-I – General patronage 

A-II – Adults and adolescents 

A-III – Adults 

A-IV – Adults, with reservations 

L – Limited adult audience 

O – Morally offensive 

Motion Picture Association of America ratings: 

G – General audiences; all ages admitted 

PG – Parental guidance suggested; some material may not be suitable for children 

PG-13 – Parents are strongly cautioned to give special guidance for attendance of children under 13; some material may be inappropriate for young children 

R – Restricted; under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian 

NC-17 – No one under 17 admitted