Are You Here

  • Review Date: August 21, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Flawed friendship dramedy has plenty of drugs, some sex.
  • Review Date: August 21, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

True friendship is vital, but, as one character says, it's rare to find it among adults, so it must be nurtured.

Positive role models

Steve and Ben have been best friends since childhood and truly care about other. But they're also dysfunctional together, supporting each other's flaws and enabling self-destructive behavior. They both have to grow up at the same time in order to see both their own issues and the issues in their relationship.

Violence

Some bickering between friends and family members. A man upsets a dining table in a fit of pique. One scene shows a man slaughtering a live chicken.

Sex

One character is a reckless womanizer who tries to bed almost anyone, including co-workers, strangers, and grieving widows. He's a regular with prostitutes and often peers out the window at a female neighbor when she's changing clothes. A few scenes show nude women, and one long sequence includes a naked man seen from behind. Also some kissing and suggestions of sexual activity about to happen.

Language

Frequent profanity, including everything from "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole" to "tw-t," "bitch," and "d--k."

Consumerism

Some beer brands are shown on camera, including Bud Light.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The two main characters smoke pot almost constantly, one to self-medicate his mental illness, the other to mask his profound unhappiness. They also drink heavily, everything from beer to whiskey, at home, at bars, at work, wherever.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Are You Here centers on the friendship between two not-so-emotionally healthy guys (Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis) who've known each other since childhood. One is immature, constantly stoned, and quick to pursue every woman he sees, while the other is mentally ill and reluctant to address his condition with real treatment. Their friendship is challenged when one inherits a substantial amount of money and it's not clear he can handle his newfound wealth. Expect plenty of marijuana use and drinking, as well as frequent swearing (everything from "f--k" and "s--t" to "bitch" and "a--hole"). Some scenes include nude women, and one long sequence includes a naked man seen from behind. There's also some kissing and suggestions of impending sexual activity.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Ben (Zach Galifianakis) and Steve (Owen Wilson) have been friends since they were little kids, and now that they're adults, the mostly functional (though emotionally stunted) Steve spends a good portion of his time and energy caring for Ben, who's clearly suffering from mental illness but refuses to be treated for it. Theirs is a true friendship that has stood the test of time (and loads of ill-conceived adventures), but it's also an unhealthy relationship. And it's thrown even further awry when Ben's father dies, leaving him a significant inheritance that's he's incapable of managing. His sister, Terri (Amy Poehler), is determined to contest the will, and the complicated situation is made even more so by Angela (Laura Ramsey), the very young widow of Ben's late dad, who seems to feel connected to Steve.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

ARE YOU HERE, the first movie directed by Mad Men's Matthew Weiner, aims high but falls pretty far down in its efforts to make big statements about too many big topics. There's friendship, addiction, the perils of ignoring mental illness, and inter-sibling issues to explore, not to mention a streak of environmentalism. In short, it's a lofty film that's a sprawling mess.

The one saving grace is the rapport between the two leads, and the story of their characters' deeply committed friendship. The film's take on the two is honest and unflinching. But that's not the case when it comes to the way that relationships with women are rendered. Newly widowed Angela is a flimsily conceived character; Poehler's role as the bitter sister who always wants to tell her disturbed brother off is also skimpy. Eventually, the guys do figure out, in a manner of speaking, their respective paths, but do we care about their journey? Not really.

Families can talk about...

  • Parents can talk about how the movie portrays drinking and drug use. Why do the characters turn to substances so often? Are there realistic consequences for using them?

  • What do you think about Steve and Ben's friendship? How do they help each other, and how do they hold each other back? Is it a believable relationship?

  • What did you think about Angela and her relationship to the two men? Does she care for Ben? Or Steve? Or neither?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 22, 2014
DVD release date:September 30, 2014
Cast:Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler
Director:Matthew Weiner
Studio:Millennium Entertainment
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Friendship
Run time:113 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, drug use and some sexual content/nudity

This review of Are You Here was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Educator and Parent Written byjohnswanson October 30, 2014
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Tons of sex, nudity, language, and drug use.

This movie is certainly not for kids. Although kids will be interested in seeing Owen Wilson and Zach Galifanakis because they are very funny, parents don't be tempted to let your kids watch this. Besides the constant pot smoking and harsh language, Wilson sleeps with and lusts after almost every woman he comes into contact with. There is tons of nudity as well. While this movie is a semi-pleasant film for adults, put the kids to bed before you watch this one. As a warning, the ending to this movie is awful so be prepared.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools