A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the extensive swearing and raunchy discussion of sex make this a film for adults only. Plus, a serial killer is stalking the school and everyone smokes and drinks heavily. Parents should also know that women are treated as virginal, crazy, or pieces of meat in this film, so if girls do watch it, parents might want to discuss the portrayal of women afterwards.
What's the story?
Jerome Platz (Max Minghella) has always wanted to be an artist, mostly because, as he said in an elementary school class, artists like Pablo Picasso are "able to have sex with any beautiful woman [they] want just because [they're] so great." His thought process is not that much more refined when he arrives for his first year of art school. He tries hipster chicks, sheltered suburban girls, and trampy girls, all of whom his friend Bardo (the hilarious Joel Moore) charmingly calls "art skanks." But his heart belongs to the beautiful but mysterious Audrey (Sophia Myles). But can he win her heart, win the exhibition show at the end of the year, and finally be recognized as the great artist he is, all while evading the Strathmore Strangler?
Is it any good?
ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL is the beaten-down, cynical hipster brother of American Pie -- all about how to be popular and how to get laid, but with worse language and a far bleaker outlook on life. There are lots of memorable turns in this film. John Malkovich is great as a dippy and untalented art teacher who advises Jerome to "expand and explore" his artistic horizons, and then criticizes him for being "all over the map." Joel Moore, who was fabulously geeky JP in Grandma's Boy, makes another great turn as the perpetual freshman who knows the lay of the land.
There's a lot, plot-wise, to recommend this film, and lovers of dark comedies will relish it. But you have to wonder what's so appealing about Audrey, aside from her beauty. We never find out what she's doing at the school, or why Jerome even really likes her. She's got the least personality of anyone in this film, and for female viewers, that's likely to be a big disappointment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the film's cynical premise -- that the only way to be successful is to lie or be an untalented hack -- rings true. What do you do when jealousy or ambition get the best of you? Families can also discuss the raunchy treatment of sex in general and women in particular in this film. Why are films with such a raunchy approach to sex appealing? How do these portrayals of relationships compare to what you see in real life?
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