A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 2 Days in the Valley is a crime comedy that pairs sex with violence in several scenes and isn't for kids. There's a large cast of mostly criminals, no real positive messages, and only one or two characters with positive traits. It features lots of gunplay, people getting shot, large amounts of blood, and a man trying to force sex with his ex-wife, as well as a simulated sex scene with bare breasts visible, an erection noticeable under a towel, lots of deep kisses, and several scenes with women's breasts visible. Strong language includes "f--k" and variations, "f-g," and "bulls--t." Many characters frequently smoke.
What's the story?
Over the course of 2 DAYS IN THE VALLEY, a large cast of seemingly random and not-too-savory characters are drawn into the same orbit around murder and money. There's the mafioso down on his luck (Danny Aiello), the veteran cop coming loose at the hinges (Jeff Daniels), the Olympic skier (Teri Hatcher), the cool-headed assassin (James Spader), the whiny art dealer, and of course the femme fatale (Charlize Theron). Whose side anyone is on, and who will get away with what, is anybody's guess.
Is it any good?
Despite a strong cast and easy-to-follow weaving together of characters, director John Herzfeld doesn't hone in on anything enough for it to be a success as a spoof or as a straight-up crime thriller. 2 Days in the Valley seems to have trouble deciding which it wants to be and ends up being not quite enough of either. Too many of the scenes played for comedy fall flat, so that it works a little bit better as a straight-up crime thriller. The strong cast is good, but a lot of the appearances will resonate more with parents and grandparents than with kids (Eric Stoltz, Keith Carradine, Marsha Mason). That, and the pairing of sex and violence in several scenes, means it's not a good choice for family viewing, but adults in the mood for a crime thriller with a few chuckles here and there may enjoy it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in 2 Days in the Valley. Why is there so much? Does it add to the story?
What about all the sex and nudity? Is it gratuitous, or is there a point to showing it? Does it seem realistic?
Why do so many movies and TV shows create characters we root for even though they do terrible things? What are some other famous antiheroes? Why are characters like that so popular?
- In theaters: September 27, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: August 7, 2001
- Cast: Danny Aiello, Jeff Daniels, Teri Hatcher, Charlize Theron
- Director: John Herzfeld
- Studios: Rusher Entertainment, Redemption Productions
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Violence, sexuality, and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.