Set in the 1970s, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, an adaptation of Chris Fuhrman’s posthumously published novel, tries to establish a casually organic, stand-by-me flow, even as it turns the adventures of two parochial-school friends into lumbering parables of lost innocence. We get Jodie Foster overacting as a one-legged nun, a tender courtship that dances around a Sinful Secret, and a disastrous prank to spring a cougar from the local zoo. It’s all way too heavy-handed, though nicely acted by Emile Hirsch, Kieran Culkin, and, especially, Jena Malone. In an innovative twist, the kids’ comic-book fantasies come to life in animated sequences (drawn by ”Spawn”’s Todd McFarlane) that are like the Bible gone madly Marvel.

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
  • Movie
  • 110 minutes