It’s Hollywood’s idea of a Catholic family: a neurotic devout Catholic wife married to a boozer who struggles with his alcoholism; her pregnant lesbian daughter who wants to “marry” her girlfriend; her adulterous lout of a son. The wife, played by Kathleen Turner, is up for “Catholic Woman of the Year.”
In real life, Turner is a left-wing atheist who serves on the board of directors of the Christian-bashing People for the American Way. This is her “Perfect Family.” She says her character tries to show the conflict between being a practicing Catholic and seeking to “live in the real world.” Movieline.com agrees, saying she plays “a religious dinosaur roaming a modern world.” Though the movie is riddled with intolerance toward Catholicism, Turner says, “I would hope tolerance” is the message that comes through. Variety concurs, adding that the film preaches “tolerance toward gays” (but not toward Catholics).
It is a staple of anti-Catholicism to say that Catholics are not independent thinkers. Predictably, Turner’s character admits, “I’m Catholic. I don’t need to think.” However, not all family members are stupid. Shockya.com notes that the pregnant lesbian daughter embodies “independent thinking and modern beliefs.” Why of course.
When asked about the portrayal of Catholicism, Turner says, “I thought we were pretty nice.” Sadly, she means it. The executive producer, Connie Cummings, agrees: “We didn’t want to take cheap shots or villainise anyone.” Rex Reed takes a different approach, saying, “The movie is almost guaranteed to offend the humorless.” Yeah, Rex, it’s too bad those Catholics can’t take a joke (quite unlike those homosexuals).
This blockbuster, which took 19 days to make, will open in a grand total of 13 theaters nationwide, eight of which are in California. One would have to be positively humorless not to get a chuckle out of that.