Careful What You Wish For

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Careful What You Wish For Movie Poster Image
Nick Jonas stars in clichéd thriller with sex, language.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Sometimes things aren't what they seem, and it pays to be a little bit skeptical. When there's trouble, bad decisions can make things worse.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Doug is a hardworking high school student with college dreams who's seduced by his neighbor's wife. While she seems nice at first, she may have an ulterior motive. Stereotypical portrayal of high school boys and older women, as well as attractive younger women and the older men they marry


A man is murdered off screen; two characters struggle to figure out how to dispose of the body. 


A high school student has sex with an older woman; they're shown passionately kissing and seemingly removing their underwear. Her naked backside is glimpsed a few times. Some discussion between teens about sex. Skimpy swimsuits, etc.


Infrequent swearing includes "s--t."


A character munches on Doritos in one scene. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink beer. An adult smokes and sometimes drinks bourbon. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Careful What You Wish For is a sometimes-racy thriller about a high school student (Nick Jonas) who gets involved with his wealthy neighbor's wife (Isabel Lucas) and soon finds himself embroiled in more than he expected. While there are plenty of scenes that show the pair passionately kissing and in bed (and other places) together, there's little nudity onscreen beyond her naked backside. She also wears skimpy swimsuits, etc. A dead body must be disposed of, teens drink beer, and one character smokes; there's some language, too (mostly "s--t" and the like). Some viewers may be bothered by the stereotypes the movie buys into regarding high school boys and older women, as well as attractive younger women and the older men they marry.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBlanca M. November 15, 2016

Careful what you wish for

I'm not gonna lie... I'm a huge Nick Jonas fan!! I honestly don't know how to feel about this movie. I mean it had it's good parts but it ju... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byxMovieReviewer_ June 17, 2016

Mature and disturbing affair thriller has sex and nudity but is fine for older teens.

My rating:PG-13 for sexuality and nudity, brief strong language, and drug content.

What's the story?

High school student Doug (Nick Jonas) gets involved with his wealthy neighbor's attractive young wife, Lena (Isabel Lucas). And when her husband (Dermot Mulroney) turns up dead, Doug soon becomes involved in much more than he expected. While Lena is poised to collect a huge life-insurance payout, Doug realizes that all signs make him look like the killer -- so he must try to clear his name. 

Is it any good?

There's little that's a mystery in the purposefully mysterious Careful What You Wish For -- and there's also very little that's original. "You have no idea what he's capable of," says one character. (Actually, yes, we do.) Equally troubling is the film's sexism; it relies on cliches about high school boys and older women, as well as attractive younger women and the older men they marry. Jonas is a sort-of bright spot -- although the material leaves much to be desired, he shows some promise with his fairly grounded (if muted) portrayal of Doug.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Careful What You Wish For compares to other thrillers with similar themes. What makes them thrilling? Does a film have to be violent to have tension?

  • Did you notice any cliches and/or stereotypes in the movie about older women and younger men? And about younger women married to older men? 

  • What do you think Lena is trying to accomplish? Is it a good plan? Could Doug have made better choices? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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