Crash Pad

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Crash Pad Movie Poster Image
Charming lead performance in quirky but mature comedy.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 93 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Not really a "message movie," but one of the central takeaways is that couples who can survive difficulties -- even adultery -- should do the emotional work to stay together, because a mature relationship is worth the work. Also messages about being romantic, listening, and paying attention to your partner/spouse.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Not many role models here: Morgan cheats on her husband with a younger man who doesn't realize she's married; Stensland is so heartbroken that he stops working, showering, or doing anything but watching TV. He's a romantic but also unrealistic. Grady wants to get revenge on his wife but ultimately doesn't go through with committing adultery.

Violence

Stensland gets into a fistfight with a much larger bar patron. He's hurt and passes out, and wakes up with a huge shiner. Grady pulls a gun on Stensland and threatens to kill him but doesn't.

Sex

Lots of graphic conversation about sex, and one post-sex sequence with extended partial nudity, including a man's buttocks, pubic hair, and everything but his actual penis, which he's covering up. Explicit conversations about sexual positions, acts, and preferences. Adultery is a central theme.

Language

Very frequent strong language: "f--k," "motherf----r," "c--t," "c--k," "bitch," "ass," "a--hole," "damn," "Jesus Christ," "goddamn," "p---y," "t-ts," "s--t," "bulls--t," "balls," "bastard," etc.

Consumerism

Apple, Dawson's Creek, eBay.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink, often excessively and to the point of sickness. Two men attend a fraternity party on a college campus (with students who are likely under 21), and Stensland drinks a lot. Stensland vomits, nearly passes out, and wakes up with a hangover a few different times. Stensland and Grady each smoke marijuana using a bong.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crash Pad is an odd-couple comedy about an alpha-male man (Thomas Haden Church) who temporarily moves in with the slacker younger guy (Domhnall Gleeson) with whom the first man's wife (Christina Applegate) had an affair. The comedy is strictly for mature viewers, as it has lots of explicit descriptions of sexual acts and preferences, as well as an extended scene with nearly full nudity (buttocks + male frontal view except for actual genitals). There's also nearly constant use of extremely salty language ("f--k," "c--t," "s--t," "motherf----r," etc.), pot use, and drinking to the point of sickness and nearly passing out. Characters get into a fight, and a gun is pulled at one point.

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What's the story?

CRASH PAD is a comedy that follows 30ish slacker Stensland (Domhnall Gleeson), who's horrified to find out that Morgan (Christina Applegate), the beautiful older woman he's just been with, is actually married. Heartbroken, Stensland -- whose roommate is about to move out -- stays home for a week to smoke pot and cry over old episodes of Dawson's Creek. Then Morgan's alpha-male husband, Grady (Thomas Haden Church), finds out about the affair. At first, he threatens to kill Stensland. But then, instead of beating Stensland up, Grady decides to move in with the blubbering younger man and relive his youth (and annoy his wife). Grady forces Stensland to head to bars and parties every night to pick up women so that both of them can "get over" Morgan -- but it's clear that Grady doesn't really want to betray his wife.

Is it any good?

Gleeson's adorkable melancholy and Church's alpha-male charm make this an amusingly watchable if not particularly memorable comedy. Gleeson's heartsick romantic (with a capital R) is utterly sweet as he mourns the loss of a possible relationship with Applegate's Morgan. Considering how often a jilted single woman is shown sitting on the couch crying, eating takeout, and watching reruns of sappy TV shows, it's refreshing to see a man indulging in heartache. But Stensland's affair with Morgan, even though it sets up the story, ends up secondary to his roommate relationship with Grady, a "fancy" lawyer who's planning to even things up with his wife by having sex with a stranger.

Despite his perceived loserdom, Gleeson's Stensland is easy to cheer on, while Church's Grady seems like a variation on pretty much every character he's played since Sideways: straight-talking, slightly morose, dealing with relationship baggage. The men's roommate chemistry is funny, even if the overall story doesn't wrap up in an original way. Applegate and Nina Dobrev, who plays Morgan's executive assistant, have considerably less to do while the guys are out drinking and flirting. In his first directorial gig since 1990, Kevin Tent, an Oscar-nominated editor best known for his collaborations with Alexander Payne (a producer of Crash Pad), shows potential for quirky comedies. This one is a decent, if not perfect, start.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Crash Pad's messages. What does Stensland want to teach Grady and Morgan about love and relationships? Does he succeed?

  • Do you consider any of the characters role models? Why or why not?

  • How does the movie depict drinking? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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