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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The main characters eventually improve their situation, using teamwork to find freedom, happiness, and self-respect, but the road they take to get there is quite iffy. Throughout the movie, their behavior is terrible, and they use underhanded means to bring down various hypocritical authority figures.
Positive Role Models
For the most part, these are the kinds of crude, underhanded characters that parents hope their kids never become -- although the hero, Tim, has a genuinely good heart and tries his best to uphold his personal values. But at the same time, the movie has a slightly condescending tone toward him.
Violence & Scariness
Characters get in fights on more than one occasion, though very often they're more like clumsy wrestling matches than choreographed fistfights.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Heavy, almost non-stop sexual innuendo. The main character has sex with two women and makes out with a third. The first woman reveals that she has other partners. The second woman is already married, and the third woman is a prostitute. There's no female nudity, but males are seen topless, and other states of undress are implied (though no genitalia are shown). A minor character dies (off screen) of autoerotic asphyxiation.
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Very frequent use of a wide and colorful array of swear words, including "f--k," "s--t," "t-ts," "p---y," "a--hole," "twat," "cornholing," "goddamn," "pube," "queef," "son of a bitch," "wiener," "d--k," "rug munchers," "muff diver," "poop chute," "c--k," "blow me," the "N" word," and "bastard," plus an exclamatory use of "Jesus Christ."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters pound shots of beer and/or hard liquor again and again, to the point of stumbling drunkenness. The main character smokes crack and enjoys it immensely. This is all played for comic effect.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this raunchy "hard R" comedy in the tradition of Animal House is about a group of men who cut loose and go crazy (some of them for the very first time) and then eventually take down a corrupt and hypocritical authority figure. The movie includes massive amounts of language, with some of the most creative and abundant swearing in ages. There's also heavy sexual innuendo and references to lots of sexual situations (multiple partners, adultery, prostitution, etc.). And there's heavy drinking, as well as use of hard drugs like crack. Thanks to a funny trailer and the presence of Hangover co-star Ed Helms, teens may be attracted to this envelope-pushing comedy, but it's really best left for adults. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Directed by Miguel Arteta CEDAR RAPIDS has a grungy, low-budget feel, but it's actually a perfect copy of Animal House's successful, decades'-old formula. Nerds cut loose, discover their true selves, and bring down hypocritical authority figures. The movie also uses its small-town setting more to ridicule its characters than to say anything funny or insightful about small-town life.
But while there's nothing surprising about the movie's story or plot, the characters are endearing and -- though not constantly funny, they're at least consistently funny. Cedar Rapids also has the fact that its characters are adults -- rather than teens -- setting it apart from other films in the Animal House mold. Although they may act like crazy college students, in their quiet moments, these are grown-ups with grown-up problems (divorce, loneliness, unsatisfying marriages, etc.). Overall, the movie has enough laughs and charm to ensure a good time ... for those mature enough to handle its content, that is.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.