Big Time Adolescence

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Big Time Adolescence Movie Poster Image
Coming-of-age comedy has lots of alcohol, drugs, swearing.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie tells us that "All it takes is 10 seconds of stupid to ruin your life." But the story's action suggests the opposite: that people are resilient and that seemingly large mistakes can be useful learning experiences that put people who might be heading in the wrong direction back on track.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Naive Monroe falls under Zeke's spell, enthralled with the older guy's good-time, drug-infused slacker life -- a stark contrast to the straight and narrow of Monroe's caring parents.


A 16-year-old boy smoking weed drives his car into a ditch and abandons it. The police find it the next morning and threaten him. An angry father punches his teen son.


A young woman is seen after sex in a car with her childhood boyfriend. A teen boy reports to friends that he kissed a girl with lots of tongue and she rubbed against his penis. He later has sex with a friend's ex-girlfriend off screen. A high school sophomore asks a friend to bring condoms to a party.


Tons of swearing, including "f--k," "s--t," "jerk off," "p---y," "bitch," "ass," "d--k," "penis," the "'N' word" (heard in a song lyric), "pissed," "sucks," "hell," and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Multiple scenes of underage drinking at teen parties. A 16-year-old boy is encouraged to drink so much by older guys that he falls over and vomits. He drinks a combination of whisky, orange juice, cough syrup, and beer. The drug Molly is mentioned, along with its purported benefits in combination with having sex. The same 16-year-old boy sells weed and alcohol to older high school kids in order to get invited to their party. A 23-year-old quits his job when he starts getting a 16-year-old to sell weed for him. After Monroe is grounded for coming home stoned, his older friend urges him to ignore his parents and sneak out to deliver alcohol and drugs to a party. A 16-year-old boy smoking weed drives his car into a ditch and abandons it. A man snorts cocaine in a bar bathroom. Monroe turns down drugs until he's trapped in a car with Zeke and a friend. They close the windows and fill the car with marijuana smoke, which gets Monroe high.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycin_gb August 18, 2021


Awesome film. Very educating
Teen, 15 years old Written bymoritanyc March 14, 2020

Good Lesson

This movie follows the adventures of Moe, a 16-year-old who is heavily influenced by his college-age stoner friend to make bad decisions mostly surrounding subs... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byThefriendliestbeagle May 12, 2020

Learning opportunity

Although the movie has very strong parts to it. The last 30 minutes shows what happens when you are under the influence and how it can really affect you. I thin... Continue reading

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?

Movie details

For kids who love coming-of-age tales

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