WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

For most people, getting married is like sticking one's tongue to a frozen flagpole. It looks cool when all your friends are doing it, but when it's you, you just end up feeling stuck. So says the Rev. Frank, who recognizes that his job as a minister is to help people break out of this mentality and forge healthy marriages. So far, so good.

Enter Ben Murphy and Sadie Jones, whose painfully awkward meeting at Starbucks somehow induces love at first sight. They float through the early weeks of their relationship: first date ... first kiss ... first "I love you." Things progress quickly to a proposal, and then life gets interesting.

Ben suggests a destination wedding in the Caribbean, but Sadie has her heart set on getting married at St. Augustine's Church. It's where her parents got married and it's the stomping grounds of Frank, whom she's known since childhood. When Ben agrees to Sadie's choice of locale, he has no clue that he's also agreeing to Frank's premarital counseling program, which is—to put it mildly—one of a kind.

With available wedding dates in short supply, Ben and Sadie opt for a ceremony just three-and-a-half weeks away, so the pre-marriage course gets kicked into high gear. Rule No. 1: Write your own vows. Rule No. 2: No sex before the honeymoon (and Ben can't imagine anything more shocking). Rule No. 3: Learn how to fight like a husband and wife. Add in a crash course in parenting, assisted by a set of creepy-looking robot babies, and Ben and Sadie begin to wonder if a walk down the aisle is really what they were meant for.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Sadie's parents are celebrating their 30th anniversary when Ben proposes, so the permanence of marriage is paid a tribute. In addition, some of the lessons that Ben and Sadie learn are relevant and contain real wisdom: You don't really know each other until you've had a disagreement. Husbands need their wives to respect and trust them to make good decisions. Wives need their husbands to initiate and take a leadership role. Communication is key. Good marriages are possible, but they take a lot of work...

Spiritual Content

It's great that Ben and Sadie learn these things, but how they learn them through Frank's course is beyond me. Despite some wise words being spoken about marriage, much of what we see on the screen is very disrespectful of marriage as God created it.

It's no surprise that funnyman Robin Williams makes a very irreverent reverend. Frank's leadership is part biblical teaching, part sacrilege, part crass wisecrack. To wit, his definition of adultery reads as follows: "Adultery is going out for milk when you have perfectly good jugs at home." He also says that the commandment against coveting a neighbor's wife "starts with coveting; ends with the clap [Chlamydia]." Less offensive commandment paraphrases include, "Mom and Dad are the bomb," and "Be chill, don't kill." Frank tells his pupils that at their next lesson they're going to go on a field trip to "learn the evils of gambling firsthand."

When Sadie comes back to church after a long hiatus, Frank tells her, "[When] you forget about God, don't worry, He doesn't forget about you." And when Ben proposes to Sadie, he says he wants to ask her "in front of God and [her] family." Nice thoughts. However, God's and Jesus' names are more often invoked comically, or as exclamations. For example, when Ben is surprised by Frank's pint-sized prodigy, he shouts, "Jesus!" to which the choir boy responds, "Jesus didn't scare you. I did."

Sadie tells Ben, "We are so going to hell" for being late to premarital counseling because they were having sex. Frank carries on the misinformation campaign about the afterlife when he tells Ben that people think he's a "big scary pastor who can send you to hell." He also makes big drama of a healing ceremony, only to say that that kind of thing never works anyway and that he'd be surprised if it did.

Sexual Content

This film's worldly ideas about sexuality bare themselves early through a montage of Ben and Sadie's first weeks of dating. He accidentally touches her breast. She makes a joke about "skipping to second base" and suggests they kiss to "go back and take care of first base." The first time he says "I love you" is followed immediately by their first (implied) sexual encounter. Later, we see them (fully clothed) engaging in foreplay.

Ben and Sadie move in together before they're engaged. And while cohabitation is verbally denounced (the choir boy tells Ben and Sadie that the divorce rate is higher for those who have lived together before marriage), the overall attitude of the film's characters is one of acceptance.

Likewise, Frank's no-sex challenge is presented without any moral context. There's no hint of God's design for sexuality, so the requirement comes off as legalism—or possibly even a comical kind of torture invented by the clergy. And it is definitely played for laughs. Ben's friend, Joel, balks at the rule, exclaiming, "No sex! I thought that was supposed to happen after the honeymoon." Also, Sadie's desire to live up to the challenge coupled with Ben's incredulity at it makes more than a few awkward moments, capped by an embarrassing conversation between Frank and Sadie (in Ben's presence) about what she really likes in bed.

Some of Sadie's tops and dresses are low-cut, and Frank appears briefly in a towel. Joel suggests strippers for Ben's bachelor party. Sexual dialogue between Ben and Sadie is overheard by Frank, who has bugged their bedroom. And sexual one-liners are scattered throughout the film. Reference is made to a pupil of Frank's having two moms.

Violent Content

While Ben is lugging around the twin robot babies, one of them goes into "melt-down mode." He responds by shaking it and then beating its head on a table until it pops off. Later, he punches Frank in the face.

To illustrate the pain of labor, a nurse pinches Sadie and stomps on her foot. Ben and Sadie get into a tug-of-war over a pool stick and he ends up falling backward into a table of food. And he's hit in the face by a baseball which produces a bloody nose. A scooter hits a car.

Crude or Profane Language

The f-word is implied in the command "get the flock out of here," and it is spoken (but partially bleeped) during the end credits in conjunction with "mother." There are a couple s-words and a handful of milder vulgarities ("h---," "a--," "d--n," "b--ch"). God's name is misused close to 20 times; Jesus' two or three times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Drinks are served at the Joneses' anniversary party. Sadie's sister seems to be drinking to cope with her grandmother's insults. Ben and Joel have beers and cigars on Joel's garage roof, as Joel's children look on. Wine is served at a cheese-tasting party. Drinks are distributed at one of Frank's group counseling sessions, which takes place in a bar.

Other Negative Elements

At the aforementioned group therapy session, the topic is "how to fight fair." Ben and Sadie learn that their new-relationship sweet talk isn't realistic, but they're also taught that really fighting like married people includes lots of insults and no resolution.

In an attempt to pay back Frank for the havoc the minister has caused in his life, Ben breaks into the man's house in search of some bit of personal history that will "bring him down." Sadie drives a car blindfolded and barely escapes numerous collisions.

Conclusion

If you've seen the trailer for this film, you've pretty much seen it all—most of the funny stuff is in there, as well as hints at its irreverence and crudity. The whole thing comes off in 90 minutes, and though it wraps up with a few decent marriage insights, it leaves moviegoers wondering how in the world those pieces of wisdom are related to the film they've just seen. Rather than being a sweet, funny story about building a strong foundation for marriage, License to Wed's overall effect is more about giving viewers license to cohabit—while cracking up over the sometimes sleazy sentiments of those who already do.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!