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In mid-1970s Savannah, two bright but rebellious boys, Francis Doyle and Tim Sullivan, fight boredom, hormones and harsh teachers as they struggle to find something meaningful beyond the walls of their parish school. Francis, an exceptional artist whose imaginative forays into a fictional universe of good and evil fill his notebooks with comic-book imagery, creates a netherworld of superhero alter egos for the two boys. When the ultra-strict Sister Assumpta seizes their artwork one day, the boys embark upon an obsessed trail of revenge that ultimately changes their lives. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys', directed by Peter Case, is a coming of age story about two boys, Francis (Emile Hirsch) Tim (Kieran Culkin) who supplement their boredom at Catholic school and their home lives by playing pranks and working on their own comic book. Their main nemesis in life, who they turn into the villain in their book, is their teacher, Sister Assumpta. (Jodie Foster)
I wish that I could add more to the synopsis, but there's not a lot more to tell. The film centers around the hijinks of these characters, then tries to throw in some character development that generally go absolutely nowhere.
Most of the film is spent planning a prank on the Sister that goes awry, but after awhile it becomes so boring that when the climax of the film arrived I didn't remotely care. 'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys' has been praised for its creativity and the mixed genres, (the film turns into a Todd McFarlane produced form of anime at times) but even these moments were just plain boring. Jodie Foster, as always, is wonderful in the film, but despite the fact that she is supposedly the evil nemesis, she has an aggregate screen time of perhaps ten minutes, so there wasn't enough of her to truly enjoy.
Generally, films that deal with topics such as incest, ghosts, and untamed youth are at least thought-provoking, but 'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys' didn't provoke anything in me but boredom. 'Coming of age' films have been done many times before, but they can still be effective if done well. (See a film as recent as 'The Virgin Suicides') Unfortunately 'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys' doesn't come remotely close to approaching effective, or well done. I expected more out of a Jodie Foster production and am disappointed I didn't get even an average film.
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