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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Life may seem like a mess, and maybe it is, but sometimes it has to be for you to figure out what you truly want. Also, surprises don't have to destabilize us forever; often, they help us find balance and get on better footing.
Positive Role Models
Portia cares a lot for her high school applicants, even when her job requires her to be impassive. Despite her rigid ways, she's open to new information, even if it's not so flattering or is hard to deal with, and she wants to learn from her past mistakes. That said, she's very competitive with a fellow female admissions counselor, which could be seen as reinforcing stereotypes of rivalries between women.
Violence & Scariness
A woman fires a shotgun at a man she thinks may be harassing her daughter. (He's not.) A woman screams at a male character.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Adult characters kiss (the first time, accidentally) and take a shower in separate but adjacent stalls. (All viewers see are their shoulders.) Sexual encounters are implied (a couple is shown kissing/groping/starting to remove clothes before and then buttoning back up after, but not during). Some frank sexual references and humor related to a woman's prosthetic breasts (her character previously had a double mastectomy).
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One "f--k," plus occasional use of "s--t," "screw," "prick," "damn," "twat," "a--hole," "hell," "ass," "crap," "goddamn," "oh my God," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Lots of Princeton name-dropping and crest-flashing (and many scenes feature clothing and paraphernalia in Princeton orange). Also plenty of mentions of other schools, including Harvard, and private high schools like Hotchkiss, Deerfield, and Andover. Plus Lipton, VW, and U.S. News & World Report.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some scenes feature college students (and the occasional high school student) drinking at parties.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Admission, though overall a humorous peek behind the curtain of college admissions, does tread in somewhat serious waters, dealing with a woman's (Tina Fey) past catching up with her (in the form of a son she gave up for adoption) even as she's abandoned by a longtime lover. It's all played for laughs, of course -- as is the seriously stressful business of trying to get into college -- but tweens and teens who aren't involved in the admissions cycle might not appreciate the jokes quite as much. Expect some swearing (mostly "s--t" and "damn"), frank references to sex and drinking (primarily in college, where a teenager is shown attending a party with students who are partaking, though he doesn't drink himself), and sometimes-scathing discussions about high school seniors and their college applications. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Like some of the high school seniors it depicts frantically attempting to impress during the interminable, stressful college application period, Admission tries a little too hard. Scenes are loaded with please-laugh, please-like moments: An uptight woman's mother is a sexual free spirit, leering at others openly while her daughter cringes; a guy helps a cow give birth (and he has no idea how); high school students openly deride a college admissions officer's presentation (and she responds with witty comebacks). It's all a little too much, frankly, leaving with you with the sense -- perhaps the same sense that an admissions officer gets when reading an overbaked application -- that all isn't as great as it tries to appear.
Fey and Rudd aren't the problem: They're funny, they have great comic timing, and they share an easy rapport. Perhaps it's that the film has too much good material to mine: The college application process alone has plenty of potential, and although Admission tries to capitalize on it, it does so with jokes we've heard before. It would have done better to take advantage of its behind-the-curtains point of view (as it is, except for a satisfying scene in which the admissions officers duke it out over applicants, debating the merits of each one, we don't see much that's new or surprising). While not everything on the big screen needs to be refreshing, the fact that the leads are charming and funny isn't enough to make Admission stand out above the crowd.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.