“Playing With Fire” (Paramount)
By Catholic News Service
Generally harmless but painfully unfunny comedy in which the superintendent (John Cena) of a group of smokejumpers (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane) gives temporary shelter at their rural headquarters to a teen girl (Brianna Hildebrand) and her two younger siblings (Christian Convery and Finley Rose Slater) after their family’s cabin, in which they’d been staying on their own, burns down. As he awaits pickup by their parents, applies to replace his retiring superior (Dennis Haysbert) and pursues a halting romance with an animal expert (Judy Greer), the kids get up to all manner of supposedly comic mischief.
The banality of their antics is only exceeded by the falsehood of the emotions worked up when Dan Ewen and Matt Lieberman’s script turns serious. A single risque exchange aside, director Andy Fickman’s film is acceptable for a wide audience. But even the least demanding moviegoers will likely find these proceedings all wet.
A veiled sexual reference, considerable scatological humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.