Bad Parents

 
(i)

 

Dark satire with profanity, sex, and mature themes.
  • Review Date: February 18, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Bad Parents is a dark satire with extremely negative messages about the pettiness of helicopter parents, who gossip, insult each other, have affairs, and back-stab to get their kids into the "A team" in club soccer.

Positive role models

Adults are largely portrayed as competitive, backstabbing, petty, and power-hungry as they live vicariously through their children's success or are crushed because of their failure. Kids are largely absent and/or oblivious to the drama, but presented fairly realistically otherwise.

Violence

In the opening and closing scenes, a man is shown lying on the grown, dead, with a flag stuck into his chest, but there is no blood shown.

Sex

No sex is explicitly shown, but the movie contains frequent jokes, innuendo, and sexually suggestive content. In one scene, a woman says she'd rather her husband come home from his lover than his soccer buddies. A man tries to initiate intercourse but is rebuffed. A woman watches a television talk show about women in the porn industry. A woman makes a joke about performing oral sex on her husband before showing him the $900 handbag she bought. A woman appears to become extremely aroused by listening to a man speak with a British accent speak by phone while eating a banana, then lights a cigarette afterwards. A soccer mom and coach are shown embracing as if having an affair. A woman decides to have cybersex, and her computer screen depicts an instant messaging conversation with explicit descriptions of her clothing and arousal. A woman shows up at the soccer coach's office wearing only a fur coat and opens her coat, shown from behind.

Language

Frequent use of profanity ranging from f-bombs to milder profanity such as "ass" and "s--t." Elsewhere, demeaning or insulting language is recurring, from expressions such as "You don't have the balls," "douchebag," "bitch," and insults regarding appearance and ability. Some off-color language as well, such as when a man uses the expression "he was just raping the Street" to describe someone making money hand over fist on Wall Street. A man who isn't good at sports is called a "male flight attendant."

 

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional scenes of adults drinking beer or wine responsibly at gatherings; however, one adult character is shown multiple times giving slurred rants after drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bad Parents is a dark satire about youth soccer that is not appropriate for kids. The story is told through the parents' perspectives, and uses frequent profanity (including "f--k"), sexually suggestive content (jokes about oral sex, cheating, cybersex references, and more), and mature themes to portray the overzealous pettiness of helicopter parents desperate to see their kids succeed in team sports at any cost. There is very little soccer actually played and kids are only peripherally present.

What's the story?

Former advertising exec and self-proclaimed post-feminist woman Kathy (Janeane Garofalo) has moved to the suburbs to be a stay-at-home mom. Upon enrolling 7-year-old daughter Jenna in soccer to cut the day-to-day drudgery of suburban life, Kathy transforms from skeptical parent to obsessed soccer mom, increasingly more consumed with the local politics, gossip, backstabbing, and all-around pettiness of club moms like Melissa (Cheri Oteri). Before she knows it, she's head to head with despicable coach Nick (Christopher Titus). Will the sports-induced madness drive her crazy, or can she rein it in before she loses her cool?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Bad Parents is a dark satire about a so-called epidemic we're all likely to have seen or heard about: the hyper-competitive sports parents who relentlessly pressure their kids to succeed, live vicariously through their successes, and have no concept of healthy rivalries. But here, this already cliched depiction gets the even more over-the-top take, rendering this film a totally nuance-free zone of mockery. Every parent is a terrible, selfish jerk, a whiny brat, a horrible loser, only made worse by the coach's relentless arrogance. Because characters are so bluntly rendered, there is almost no room for any good lessons or solutions or thoughtful meditations.

Add in the frequent profanity and sexually suggestive content (jokes about oral sex, cheating, cybersex references, and more), and you have a movie only suitable for parents, yet one that manages to treat their concerns like caricature. That said, parents who've found themselves in the terrible trenches of toxic junior soccer leagues may find a stress reliever here anyway -- thanks to good performances from comedian Christopher Titus as the arrogant coach, and Saturday Night Live alum Cheri Oteri as the deranged, cheating soccer mom, there are a few good (very adult) laughs. Just make sure the kids are asleep.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about satire. Satire uses exaggeration to make a point about society's shortcomings, but it has to be realistic. Does the film feel based enough in reality to be relatable or useful?

  • Competitiveness can be a useful motivator that produces good results, but unhealthy competition can be tremendously damaging. How can you tell the difference? Does the film make a point of drawing that line clearly?

  • What might make certain people become consumed with living through their children's successes? Did the film offer a solution to the epidemic of toxic competition in kids' sports? If so, what was it? If not, what might a solution be?

Movie details

DVD release date:August 13, 2013
Cast:Janeane Garofalo, Christopher Titus, Cheri Oteri
Director:Caytha Jentis
Studio:GAIAM
Genre:Comedy
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Quality

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