Take time for a little bit of fluff and fun

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 2, 2003

Every now and then, you have to take a break.

While former Vice President Spiro

Agnew referred to journalists as "nattering nabobs of negativity," the fact is, most of us would rather not be. Negative, that is. Some might actually enjoy being nattering nabobs. Reality, unfortunately, has no candy-coating, and reality is what we are supposed to be covering.

Sometimes, every now and then, you have to take a reality break. So today, I'm leaving behind all major issues and and thought provoking aspects of grim reality and I'm jumping straight into that pile of marshmallow goo we in the industry call "fluff."

I'm going to write a movie review.

Sort of.

Go see Finding Nemo.

It is a rare movie indeed that can prompt belly laughs from adults, children and toddlers at the same time. It is a rare movie that can package slapstick, humor, just enough scariness to keep things going, and enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat, all wrapped around real issues and a "lesson" without making it preachy and dull. Nemo does all of this.

We are all flawed, it is simply the human condition. Rising above that condition requires eliminating the flaw or working with it until it becomes a positive thing. Nemo is about flaws, from the Marlin's overprotectiveness to Dory's forgetfulness. Nemo, who suffers a physical impairment, overcomes. Bruce the shark, who suffers from a fish addiction, attends a 12-step program.

And they will all make you laugh. When you leave the theater, your children won't be pondering the role of the handicapped in a world that seeks physical perfection.

They won't sit down and have long, intellectual debates over whether or not Marlin's reaction to his wife's death is Jungian or Freudian. They will laugh about Dory and the 47 different names she came up with, trying to remember "Nemo." They will stare at the dinner table, greedy eyes on the rolls like the eternally hungry but vocabularily-challenged sea gulls and go "Mine? Mine? Mine! Mine! Mine!" before doubling up in remembered giggles.

But like any good parable, the hidden messages will stay with them - the desire to succeed in spite of flaws, the need to protect and the need to let go, and the eternal importance of love and family.