2 Days in the Valley

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
2 Days in the Valley Movie Poster Image
Flawed crime comedy pairs sex with violence.
  • R
  • 1996
  • 104 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Some, but not all, of the bad guys get their comeuppance, which undercuts the half-hearted attempt to end on "crime doesn't pay." For a few of the characters, it kind of does pay.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the large cast are criminals shown committing crimes like murder, robbery, and kidnapping. Of the few who aren't criminals, only the young vice cop Wes shows a sense of morality. Susan, the only noncriminal female, is a doormat who lacks self-esteem until Dosmo teaches her to value herself.


Lots of gunshots and wounds, some at point-blank range, with lots and lots of blood. The only other gore is a brief depiction of a gunshot going through a leg. A photo of a nude, female murder victim in a sexy pose with breasts visible and her chest and the bed drenched in blood. A cop pulls a gun on some golfers, originally played partly for comedy, with a now-uncomfortable sequence where he's poised to shoot an unarmed black man with hands in the air. A big fight scene with punches, choking, banging heads, and bloody noses and mouths. A nurse holds a dying woman's very bloody hand prominently. One character attempts suicide, played for comedy or at least not treated seriously, by pointing a gun to his own head several times.


Sex and violence paired in a photo of a female murder victim covered in blood, nude with breasts visible, and posed alluringly; in a sex scene with prominent bare breasts, roughhouse-style choreography, and the lovers talking about murder during foreplay and the actual (simulated) sex itself; when a man tries to force sex with a woman; and in a kissing scene where the woman is injured and covered in bloody clothing. Bare breasts visible in several scenes, including a close-up of a man with an ice cube in his mouth rubbing it on a woman's nipple. A scene of a man getting a massage shows a hand going up the leg under a towel; he makes pleasurable noises and says it feels good, then his erection is clearly noticeable under a towel. He and the masseuse talk about what more she can do for him. A sculpture makes simulated sex noises like moaning and grunting. One location has paintings with bare breasts visible in the background.


"S--t," "whores," "pisser," "f-g," "pr--k," "bulls--t," "f--king," "son of a bitch," "motherf--king," and the racial slur "slanty-eyed whores."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many characters frequently smoke. A woman is forcibly injected with a drug to knock her out. A man drinks brown liquid from a fifth-sized bottle.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySam M. October 4, 2017


26 F words. We see an erection tent under a towel as a man gets a massage. A legnthy scene of foreplay with womans breasts visible throughout including a close... Continue reading

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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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

Themes & Topics

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