The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys

Co-produced by Jodie Foster, this artful and surprising film of Chris Fuhrman's 1970s-era novel also features the actress as Sister Assumpta, an Irish nun with a peg leg and zero tolerance for trouble. Which is what she gets from altar-boy pals Tim (Kieran Culkin), who wants to sic a cougar on her, and Francis (Emile Hirsch), who works with Tim on a brutal, kinky comic strip featuring Nunzilla.

The Catholic Church will be pleased to know that nothing sexual goes on with Sister Assumpta or the chain-smoking Father Casey (Vincent D'Onofrio). Still, first-time director Peter Care crafts something darkly funny and touching from a coming-of-age fable that might have drifted into formula without deeply felt performances from Culkin and Hirsch and dazzling animation from Todd McFarlane (Spawn) that brings the boys' comic fantasies to jolting life.

From The Archives Issue 899: July 4, 2002
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