“Birds of Prey” (Warner Bros.)

Margot Robbie stars in a scene from the movie "Birds of Prey." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Warner Bros.)

By Catholic News Service

Intended as a tart treat, this DC Comics adaptation instead comes across as a sour exercise in random mayhem. Margot Robbie plays Harley Quinn, the psychiatrist who fell for Batman’s nemesis, the Joker, while treating him at an asylum. After the two split, she finds herself vulnerable without his protection and is targeted by a gangster (Ewan McGregor) who agrees to let her live if she can retrieve a diamond purloined from his top henchman (Chris Messina) by a young pickpocket (Ella Jay Basco). Her pursuit of the gem puts her at cross purposes with the police detective (Rosie Perez) investigating the kingpin and with a mysterious assassin (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) whose weapon of choice is a crossbow.

With a semi-psychotic, smart-alecky antihero at the heart of its proceedings, director Cathy Yan’s action adventure lacks any sense of moral direction.

Skewed values, pervasive violence, some of it gory, drug use, references to a lesbian relationship, a couple of profanities, a few milder oaths, relentless rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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