“Welcome to Marwen” (Universal)

Steve Carell stars in a scene from the movie "Welcome to Marwen." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Universal)

By Catholic News Service

A dedicated effort from Steve Carell fails to redeem this painfully unengaging fact-based tale in which he plays an illustrator left unable to draw after a near-fatal assault by a group of thugs who takes up photography instead, playing out his own psychodrama in a miniature Belgian village he constructs in his yard and populates with dolls.

His figurine alter ego, a World War II fighter pilot, is surrounded, supported and protected by an ensemble of gun-toting tough girls, each based on a real lady in his life. The most prominent of these are a clerk (Merritt Wever) at the hobby store he patronizes and a new neighbor (Leslie Mann) for whom he swiftly falls. While the main character’s plight is one that ought to elicit sympathy, and there are vague undertones of Catholicism in his life, his eccentricities, including a fondness for wearing women’s shoes, are off-putting and his panic attacks are sometimes so over-the-top as to be unintentionally funny.

Director and co-writer Robert Zemeckis ill-advisedly devotes whole sequences to life among the Barbies and Kens whose interactions may work in stills but fall flat in this motion picture.

Glimpses of a violent, gory beating, brief rear and images of upper female nudity, a benign view of pornography, a couple of profanities, a few milder oaths, about a dozen crude or crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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