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Just Married

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
Just Married

from Film Forum, 01/16/03Just Married Has Critics Calling for an Annulment

The beginning of the year is typically the time when studios dump into theatres the poor products that stand no chance of winning awards. This year's top example: Just Married.

The film, directed by Shawn Levy, triumphed at the box office this week, ending the thee-week no. 1 run of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Brittany Murphy (8 Mile) and Ashton Kutcher (TV's That '70s Show) star is this lowbrow comedy about a couple whose honeymoon is sabotaged by disgruntled family members. You might think that religious press critics would be pleased to see a film in which the cavorting couple is actually married. Think again.

Gerri Pare (Catholic News) asks, "Can this marriage be saved? Or, more to the point, do we care? Levy lets the self-absorbed couple sulk, pout, and scream until the predictable sappy-happy ending when they come to their senses and lock lips once more. … At least the couple, presumably Catholic, decide to commit to marriage, but it's off-putting how casually they leap into bed, live together, and refer to past affairs so casually."

Denny Wayman and Hal Conklin (Cinema in Focus) write, "Most adults will probably look at this film as a youth-oriented comedy. The tragedy is that our youth-oriented culture may look at this movie as a training film of how to actually connect with one another in healthy romantic love. Each time Sarah and Tom reach the most painful point of struggle, they, like many people, believe that they may have made the wrong choice in marriage partners. Each of them thinks that maybe they should have waited for more time before getting married in order for them to be 'more mature.' What they fail to understand is that 'maturity' doesn't come about by the passage of time, but rather through successfully working through our pain and struggles."

Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) says the comedy "obsesses over sex. Characters discuss it, pursue it, and overhear it. Jokes are aimed at viewers tickled by flatulence, sex toys, body cavity searches, and a botched attempt at making love in an aromatically befouled airplane lavatory. The point about couples persevering through trials is good, but amid the myriad skewed values in this film, it may have all the adhesive properties of a sticky note."

Mary Draughon (Preview) agrees that it "may find favor with some teenagers and young adults, but its silliness will disappoint most mature viewers."