Parents' Guide to

Alex and Emma

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Uninspired -- neither romantic nor comic.

Movie PG-13 2003 93 minutes
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Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

A fairly boring movie, Kate Hudson always manages to light up the screen, but even her charm can't save this movie.

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Our review:
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ALEX AND EMMA gives us two stories, neither especially romantic nor comic. Hudson is so irresistibly charming that it is easy to forget how tepid and uninspired this movie is. It is always a delight to see Hudson's saucer-eyed smile and impeccable timing, but it would be just as entertaining to watch a 90-minute documentary of Hudson shopping for groceries. Luke Wilson is believably seedy but not a believable leading man. Alex tells Emma that he does not need to know where his story is going because the characters will take over. This was probably wishful thinking on the part of the four screenwriters behind this movie (including director Rob Reiner), because its first big problem is that the story -- in fact, both stories -- just keep stalling.

All romantic comedies have a fairy tale quality, so an element of fantasy is not just expected, but welcome. And it is not only acceptable in fairy tales for people to behave foolishly or to fail to ask simple questions; it feels psychologically true as a metaphor for the irrationality of falling in love. But this movie topples from fantasy to carelessness, abandoning the most basic elements of reasonableness in a way that is just sloppy. If Reiner wants to appear as the publisher-cum-fairy-godfather, that's fine. But absent some sort of magic wand, it is preposterous to the point of lack of respect for the audience to expect us to go along with the movie's set-up, from Alex's on-again-off-again gambling problem, writer's block, and romantic entanglements to the basic facts of how writers, editors, and publishers operate.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: June 20, 2003
  • On DVD or streaming: December 23, 2003
  • Cast: Kate Hudson , Luke Wilson , Rob Reiner
  • Director: Rob Reiner
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 93 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: sexual content and some language
  • Last updated: November 30, 2023

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