A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Best Man Down is a dark comedy targeted at adults. There's occasional swearing (including "s--t"), a few scenes with drinking, including one person who gets incredibly drunk at a wedding, and a scene where a teenager sees her mom and her mom's boyfriend smoking crystal meth. There's one very brief scene that shows a man's naked backside as he gets out of bed after presumably having sex, plus a joke about a "boob job."
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What's the story?
Lumpy (Tyler Labine) is the best man of the groom, Scott (Justin Long), who makes a scene by drinking too much and being too loud at the wedding. His bride, Kristin, points out that Lumpy is Scott's old friend, not necessarily a best friend. But when Lumpy dies in a tragic wedding-night accident, the newlyweds have to cancel their honeymoon to plan a funeral instead. Soon, they discover that they barely knew the real Lumpy. The person who knew him best, it seems, is Ramsey, a teenage girl who lives in small town in northern Minnesota, who's stuck living with her waitress mom and her mom's brute of a meth-head boyfriend. Scott and Kristin set out to discover the connection between Ramsey and Lumpy, and learn some surprising secrets about the late best man.
Is it any good?
BEST MAN DOWN starts off seemingly like a predictable comedy about a loudmouth drunken boor of a pal, but improves as the film unfolds, revealing surprising depth. In fact, it appears at first like two unconnected films, but the parallel stories gradually merge as Scott and Kristin follow Lumpy's trail all the way to Ramsey's doorstep. That's when the story becomes unexpectedly emotional, even somewhat satisfying, as the teen slowly reveals the late best man's true character.
Still, parts of the film don't work. Coincidences pile too high; characterizations are thin (Kristin, especially, could've used some examination); and the pacing's stilted. Still, these can perhaps be overlooked. When the film finally gets interesting, it may feel worth the wait.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Lumpy's character. Why didn't Lumpy tell his friends about his life? Did your opinion of him change during the course of the film? What kinds of secrets would you keep from your friends?
Can you think of any other road movies that you like? What do they all have in common?
- In theaters: November 8, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: January 21, 2014
- Cast: Addison Timlin, Jess Weixler, Justin Long, Tyler Labine
- Director: Ted Koland
- Studio: Magnolia Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic material, drug content, some sexuality and brief language
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