Funny, or what?

Congratulations to movie critic Michael Elliott for making his way into Entertainment Weekly's feature story on the new movie The Artistocrats. EW quotes producer Paul Provenza on how the documentary is attracting opposition because of its subject matter (a skeleton of a vaudeville joke, onto which comedians add the most vulgar possible premises):

A week before the release date, Provenza is keeping his eye out for possible speed bumps. "We're on some Christian-enemies website or something," he reports, "and we actually had a review on a Christian website, which was really fascinating, because while the reviewer quoted verses of Scripture and talked about how we were the decline of everything decent in the world, he also said he laughed his ass off." Provenza likes it: "That's at least an honest critique."

In his review, Michael Elliott of ChristianCritic.com quotes Ephesians: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." Reached by phone, he says he's worried that the boundaries of decency today are being pushed farther than they should be. "I just wonder where all this is going to lead and how far will be too far," Elliott explains. But did he laugh at the movie? "Oh yeah," he admits convivially. "It's undeniably funny."

Two pieces of further background: Elliott uses the URL ChristianCritic.com, but calls his site Movie Parables; and Elliott writes that he developed "a passion for biblical research, utilizing resources and classes offered by The Way International, a biblical research, teaching, and fellowship ministry."

The Way International was, for many years, just as volatile a topic among conservative doctrine-watchers as The Aristocrats will be among Christian critics who count the number of vulgar words in every film they review.

In the same issue of Entertainment Weekly comes this tantalizing preview of a book by A.J. Jacobs:

Having conquered the Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Know-It-All author (and ex-EW staffer) A.J. Jacobs is moving on to a lighter tome but a heavier topic in The Year of Living Biblically. "The idea is that I'm going to spend a year of my life obeying the Bible as literally as possible. So, it's the Ten Commandments, but also the less-publicized rules, like not shaving the beard."

A laff riot is almost certain to ensue.

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