A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cupid's Proxy is a family movie that may resonate with single-parent kids whose family situations are owing to death or divorce. The boy featured here lost his father when he was a baby, and his mother has become reclusive. Characters talk about the fact that Justin's father was a firefighter who was killed while saving someone from a car fire. As in Sleepless in Seattle, the child tries to find a suitable mate for his lonely parent, but this boy uses a romantic advice newspaper column, rather than a call-in radio show.
What's the story?
Precocious 12-year-old Justin (Jet Jurgensmayer) is the title's CUPID'S PROXY. When his favorite neighbor, Olive (Jackee Harry), finds that her advice-to-the-lovelorn column is losing younger readers, she asks Justin to help her speak a younger generation's lingo. His replies are so good she just prints them as-is, attributing his contributions to her pretend alter ego, "Cupid's Proxy." Soon his "dude"-filled responses are more popular than hers. The two keep this collaboration secret from Justin's mom, Rebecca (Valerie Azlynn), who has become a reclusive single parent since Justin's firefighter father died while rescuing someone from a burning car. Justin decides his mother should date Stewart (Steve Byrne), the shy guitar teacher who clearly has a crush on her. It isn't long before Justin recognizes Stewart's anonymous request for romantic advice from Cupid's Proxy. The deceptions deepen as Justin makes bold moves to unite his mom and the music teacher with the schoolboy crush. When Mom figures it all out, both Olive and Justin apologize, but everything turns out fine, romantically speaking, in the end.
Is it any good?
Without Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and that great script by Nora Ephron, this movie is a poor substitute for Sleepless in Seattle, but it's not completely without charm. Jet Jurgensmayer is likable enough and he creates plausible relationships with his mother and his co-conspirator, Olive. The rest of the cast are equally likable, and for the most part, likability is what Cupid's Proxy has to offer. Character motivation is often simplistic and sometimes incomprehensible. The reason Justin objects when Olive puts his words and ideas in her column isn't because he's hurt that she would take credit for his work. He objects because he's worried that readers might recognize that he's the writer. Really?? Are a lot of tweens -- that cohort usually glued to their smartphones -- reading newspaper advice columns these days? Apart from featuring a protagonist who sets out to deceive his mother (although for the nicest of reasons), this is a tame story tweens might enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why a boy would want his mother to have someone to love in her life. Do you think Justin believes his mother will be happier if she finds a great man?
Even though Justin is trying to do something nice for his mother in Cupid's Proxy, he keeps it secret from her. Do you think he knows that it's wrong to deceive her?
Stewart has a crush on Justin's mom but he is too shy to ask her out. What advice would you give shy people when they want to get to know someone?
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