Share this article

print logo

British-style wit in 'Pirates'

"The Pirates! Band of Misfits" (PG): Many of the verbal jokes and even the sight gags in this laugh-out-loud British animated comedy -- an ingenious blend of stop-motion puppetry, computer animation and 3-D -- will, alas, go over kids' heads. The film comes from some of the people who brought us "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (G, 2005) and "Chicken Run" (G, 2000), and the humor is along those lines.

The cheeky tone and historical references are more likely to amuse grown-ups and will require a lot of parental explaining for kids younger than high school age. Yet there's little in the film that is inappropriate for those 10 and older, save a lone throwaway line uttered by the Pirate Captain (voice of Hugh Grant), who reminisces about how he used to enjoy running people through and killing babies. It's British-style wit, but may give American parents and kids pause. It is 1837. The British Empire rules the waves, except for a few pirates still out pillaging. Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) hates pirates. Out on the high seas, the Pirate Captain and his crew are headed to Blood Island, so the Captain can enter the Pirate of the Year contest. He's a rather unsuccessful pirate, so he goes back out to pillage more ships. He encounters a scientist named Charles Darwin (David Tennant), who notes that the Captain's pet "parrot" Polly is actually a dodo bird. Darwin brings the Captain and his crew to London for a science contest and things get out of hand.

The dialogue includes very mild sexual innuendo as with a character named "The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate," who is a female crew member in disguise. A few mild curses such as "hell's barnacles!" are heard.


"The Five-Year Engagement" (R): Too sexually explicit and comically profane to recommend for under-17s, "The Five-Year Engagement" is nevertheless a deeply humane and refreshingly comedic adult take on the difficulties of maintaining love when careers pull people apart. Tom (Jason Segel) is a gifted San Francisco sous chef. His fiancee Violet (Emily Blunt), a British transplant, is a budding social psychologist. They met, we're told in a flashback, at a New Year's Eve costume party where Violet came as Princess Diana and Tom came as a pink superhero bunny. It was love at first sight. Violet doesn't get the university job she'd hoped for near San Francisco. Instead, she gets an offer from the University of Michigan. They postpone their wedding and Tom gamely follows her there, but hates it and sinks into a depression. Seeing how happy Violet's sister (Alison Brie) and Tom's former colleague (hilarious Chris Pratt) are together, Violet and Tom again set a date. That falls through when Tom learns the professor (Rhys Ifans) Violet works with has kissed her. It takes the five years of the title for the two to realize they need to be together.

In a cringe-making moment of comic mayhem, a child accidentally fires a loaded crossbow. The film includes a couple of very explicit sexual situations and an instance of nonsexual backview nudity. The language is often highly profane and sexually explicit.