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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Extensive discussion of political ideas, mostly in order to mock "liberal" political beliefs; topics discussed include school prayer, left-leaning academia, Islamic terrorism, pacifism, the separation of church and state, 9-11, and much more. The film also features a segment of a fake film on "radical Christian terrorists" which suggests that Islam is an intrinsically violent religion in a way that Christianity is not. A blind child is depicted for comedy purposes.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent, extensive slapstick falls and blows to the head; firearms are used against zombie-like ACLU lawyers; depictions of, and jokes about, suicide bombing. Crosses and bibles are used as weapons. Depictions of wartime violence; footage from World War II. A "dirty bomb" attack on Detroit is depicted. A disembodied set of buttocks is viewed on an autopsy table. Discussion of the 9-11 attack and depiction of its aftermath. A security-screening rectal exam is depicted on screen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing; discussions of sexual activity; jokes about promiscuity, homosexuality, cleavage, and lust.
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Occasional strong language, including "ass," "s--t," "douchebag," "son of a bitch," "damn," and "balls." A platoon of Nazi soldiers chants "I don't know but I've been told/Kill the Jews and take their gold." A depiction of an America in which the Civil War was never fought involves racial language, including the "N" word.
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Products & Purchases
Some brands are visible, like Big Gulp and Twinkies; Bill O'Reilly and country singer Trace Adkins make cameos as themselves.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink beer and wine; some drug paraphernalia is briefly visible; cigars are smoked.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this independent comedy from one of the directors of Airplane! is designed to articulate politically conservative ideas and criticisms -- specifically alleging that the movie industry is liberal through and through. It depicts suicide bombing and terrorist acts in a broadly humorous light and paints pacifism as a naive, dangerous luxury. There's extensive crude and coarse comedy (including jokes about sex), plenty of pratfalls, strong language ("s--t," the "N" word), and some drinking and smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
AN AMERICAN CAROL is an incredibly uneasy mix of broad, slapstick comedy and ham-handed political commentary. For example, a scene mourning the victims of 9-11 is followed within seconds by the film's lead character banging his head repeatedly on some church bells. And the film, directed by Airplane! helmer David Zucker, seems to know exactly how uneven it is, with the characters themselves commenting on unlikely and uneven moments -- like a musical number led by a group of academics commenting on the left-wing "bias" of academia. Star Farley, the brother of deceased funnyman Chris Farley, is a fairly shameless comedic performer, and he throws himself into his pratfalls and stunts with vigor, but he doesn't have the acting skill to make us believe in, or care about, his ultimate transformation.
The film's throw-it-all-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks methodology results in scenes like a visit to a parallel America in which the Civil War was never fought and slavery is still legal, with the massed slaves singing the traditional Hebrew folk song "Hava Nagilah." There are also jokes about suicide bombing, terrorism, and murder -- and the mix of violence and comedy is remarkably uncomfortable. The contrast is huge; the comedy payoff miniscule. Culminating in a stop-the-bombs finale at a Madison Square Garden concert for America's troops -- and in Malone's reformation from a documentarian responsible for films like Die, American Pigs! to a filmmaker interested in showcasing the greatness of America -- An American Carol has a definite position and point of view, but it doesn't have a lot of laughs.
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Our Editors Recommend
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