A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Desperados is a romcom that takes a group of women in crisis on a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Leading the threesome is a jobless, loveless, debt-ridden school guidance counselor with a penchant for getting herself into trouble. Retrieving a hastily-sent, offensive email in a Cabo resort is her goal. Chaos awaits all three. Continuous profanity, insult-humor, and sexual conversation is part of the film's bawdy tone. Viewers can expect to hear multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," numerous euphemisms for penis (" thin d--k," "pecker," "boner"), and banter about dildos, masturbation, and "balls." A running gag concerns the leading lady being falsely accused of pedophilia. An instance of dolphin-human sex is implied, with the creature's erection briefly on display to elicit laughs. On-screen sexual activity is limited to kisses and glimpses of foreplay. A few comic falls, an overturned car, and one punch in the face contribute to the overall silliness of the movie. Characters drink alcohol in multiple social situations, with occasional drunkenness.
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What's the story?
Wesley (Nasim Pedrad) is a mess in DESPERADOS. No job, unpaid bills, no boyfriend, and she has just bungled an interview for a guidance counselor position in a Catholic school, as well as had a blind date that ended in disaster. Her best friends, Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns), are sympathetic, but dealing with their own issues, too. It's Wesley, however, that's the constant center of conversation. Finally, she has a meet-cute, perfect date with Jared (Robbie Amell), the potential Mr. Right in her life. At least, momentarily. After one passionate evening, Wesley's phone doesn't ring for days. Wesley is certain she's has been "ghosted." Devastated and drunk, Wesley and her friends send Jared a mean-spirited, vengeful email. Unfortunately, just as they hit "send," Jared calls. He's been in an accident, comatose for the last five days in a hospital in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Wesley is horrified to learn that she has messed things up yet again. Not all is lost, however. Wesley has a plan. If she can make it to Mexico in time to intercept the email before Jared is released from the hospital, she may save herself. And so, with Brooke and Kaylie as support, Wesley takes off on a dizzying, chaos-filled trip to the posh resort where Jared's laptop is locked up in his "casita." Romcom mayhem ensues.
Is it any good?
Although there are some very funny moments, along with a leading lady whose comic sensibility and lack of vanity are quite charming, the movie is more cringe-worthy than clever. It's a matter of degrees. Desperados' dolphin sexual performance is over the top, for sure. But the ongoing thread of Wesley's presumed pedophilia is not only ludicrous, it's also repetitious -- watching a very young actor asked to pound the joke into the ground isn't so much funny as embarrassing. The story is a conventional one: racing time to save a reputation, and in this case, a romantic fantasy, isn't new. Still, Nasim Pedrad delivers a solid first lead role, and the production is colorful and slick.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the use of frequent swearing, raunchy conversation, and sexual topics in Desperados. What's the appeal of so many recent movies about groups of men or women traveling with unrestrained behavior? How much is too much? In your opinion, is the genre getting "tired?" Why or why not?
A movie's setting is often considered a "character" in a story. How was Cabo San Lucas an important element in the film? How did the physical location, its residents, and the resort town's mood impact Wesley and her friends?
One of the movie's characters implies that friendships need nurturing, even when one is distracted. She says, "Boyfriends come and go, but if you're lucky you'll have best friends." Do you agree with this notion? Have you ever been left behind when a friend falls in love? Or have you ever let friendships slide when you've had a significant other? How are these situations best handled?
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