A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Big Time Adolescence, like The Edge of Seventeen, is a mature coming-of-age comedy. It centers on 16-year-old Monroe (Griffin Gluck), who starts making poor choices under the influence of stunted slacker Zeke (Pete Davidson), who used to be Monroe's older sister's boyfriend. Zeke gives Monroe alcohol and marijuana and later sets the teen up to sell drugs at parties thrown by older high school kids. Teens drink, smoke pot (sometimes while driving), and talk about drugs. A man snorts cocaine in a bar bathroom. A teen drives his car into a ditch and abandons it, and an angry father punches his teen son. Language includes frequent use of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as "p---y" and "d--k." A teen boy reports to friends that he kissed a girl with lots of tongue and she rubbed against his penis. He later loses his virginity to a friend's ex-girlfriend offscreen.
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What's the story?
BIG TIME ADOLESCENCE centers on the woes of a 23-year-old slacker named Zeke (Pete Davidson) and his terrible influence on his ex-girlfriend's far younger brother, Monroe (Griffin Gluck). At 16, Monroe is a naive kid who finds the seemingly charismatic Zeke very appealing. Zeke pays flattering attention to the younger boy, but -- as a drop-out who's working low-wage jobs until he gets bored and deals marijuana on the side -- he's hardly the role model Monroe's parents would wish for. Seemingly for fun, Zeke encourages Monroe to drink to the point of vomiting and offers him hits from the marijuana he's constantly smoking. Monroe turns it down until he's trapped in a car with Zeke and a friend. Putting his pleasure before Monroe's welfare, Zeke agrees to close the windows and fill the car with smoke, which gets Monroe high. He arrives home nearly incapacitated to his caring but appalled parents, who are hosting a dinner party. Mom and Dad now are certain that the relationship with Zeke has become toxic and a threat to their son's welfare. Unknown to them, Monroe is eagerly supplying marijuana (provided by Zeke) and alcohol to high school friends in order to be invited to parties thrown by seniors.
Is it any good?
It can be hard to watch a good kid make so many terrible decisions, but under the capable direction of Jason Orley, that's the movie's strength -- it makes us care. Big Time Adolescence's script presents the older Zeke with understanding and even affection, almost admiring his completely uncensored and uncalculating ways. Zeke's drug-induced irresponsibility is clear but, in this compassionate view, it doesn't rule out forgiveness for harming Monroe, a kid he really likes. Davidson is perfect as the fast-talking trainwreck of a human who's as easy to like as he is to dislike and pity. Davidson makes us believe that all that irresponsibility doesn't erase the good in Zeke.
Nevertheless, as the film ends, a clever camera angle suggests that Monroe will grow out of Zeke's influence and leave the eternally adolescent friend behind. And it's noteworthy that although the female roles here are peripheral, all of the girls portrayed are self respecting and far too smart to continue with oblivious guys who insist on playing games.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what about Zeke was appealing to Monroe in Big Time Adolescence. Do you think it's OK for a 23-year-old to be friends with a 16-year-old? Why or why not?
What do you think about the movie's portrayal of drugs and alcohol? It is realistic? Do you think that Zeke has a substance abuse problem? Why or why not?
At first, Monroe takes Zeke's advice on how to get a girl to like him. But how does Monroe feel about the advice when he sees how it affects the girl he likes? What do you think Monroe learns from the experience?
- In theaters: March 13, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: March 20, 2020
- Cast: Pete Davidson, Griffin Gluck, Oona Lawrence, Sydney Sweeney
- Director: Jason Orley
- Studio: Neon
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: drug content, alcohol use, pervasive language, and sexual references - all involving teens
- Last updated: May 21, 2020
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