Alex and Emma

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Alex and Emma Movie Poster Image
Uninspired -- neither romantic nor comic.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

A death is played for grisly humor.


Character in peril.


Graphic sex scene for PG-13, other sexual situations.


Some strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has sexual references and situations, including a comic but graphic sexual encounter with partial nudity that is strong for a PG-13. Characters have sex without any meaningful commitment. Characters drink and use strong language. There is peril and violence in a comic context but constituting a genuine threat and a death (from natural causes) that is played for grisly humor.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe October 6, 2010
A fairly boring movie, Kate Hudson always manages to light up the screen, but even her charm can't save this movie.
Teen, 16 years old Written bygreenworld101 May 16, 2009
i will say that the sex scene is way to inaproprate, and i wish that they did not have it in there. But for the rest of the movie i loved it. it was a new type... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byladybug! April 9, 2008


Alex and Emma is one of those movies that you think will NEVER end. Its all about this guy, Alex (LUKE WILSON) who is writing a book, but wants Emma (KATE HUDSO... Continue reading

What's the story?

Alex (Luke Wilson) is a successful novelist who is into some very mean loan sharks for $100,000 in gambling debts. He has just 30 days to get them the money, and the only way to do that is to complete his novel and get the rest of the advance from the publisher. The problem is that he has not started. He hires a stenographer named Emma (Kate Hudson) so he can dictate the entire novel to her. As he tells her the story of a love triangle set in the 1920s (with characters also played by Hudson and Wilson), the story in the book both reflects and influences the relationship between the writer who is telling the story and the woman who is listening and writing it down.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about differences between love "with laundry" and without.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romantic comedies

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