By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
Russel Crowe is one of the best actors of this generation, elevating even substandard material to “watchable” status (case in point: 2010's dismal Robin Hood). His performance drives The Next Three Days, a never boring but frequently ridiculous prison-break thriller that finds Crowe's college professor planning to “bust out” his wife (Elizabeth Banks, Catch Me if You Can), who he's convinced has been framed for murder. Though occasionally moving, nerve-wracking, and thrilling, The Next Three Days takes itself far too seriously for a film that strains believability as frequently as it does, drifting at times into laughable melodrama (a near-disaster on the freeway is a perfect example of this; you'll know it when you see it). Crowe anchors the film, giving it an emotional honesty that patches up a great many of its flaws, including peripheral characters that are woefully underdeveloped. (GRADE: C+)
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR FAMILY?
The Next Three Days is rated PG-13. It has one f-word, an onscreen murder that is not particularly bloody, a briefly vulgar conversation, and two scenes of passionate kissing leading to implied sex between a husband and wife (the film cuts away before becoming risque). A violent shootout occurs with questionable implications for the protagonist, though he does take pains to preserve innocent life.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
Love your wife with all your heart; cleave unto her and no other. Husbands should love and sacrifice for their wives.
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Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.