A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Drunk Parents is an intentionally offensive comedy starring Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek. As the title indicates, the characters make a bad decision while under the influence but then double-down on both the poor choices and the alcohol consumption. Smoking and swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and much more) are also constants. The over-the-top comedy includes characters making fun of a young man in a wheelchair, characters speaking in stereotypically "ethnic" accents, and a woman acting drunk/using her body to get male business investors. Pedophilia is a recurring joke, including a convicted sex offender (Jim Gaffigan) being portrayed sympathetically and a young teen setting up his relatives to look like they molested him. Will Ferrell makes a cameo as a foul-mouthed bum who tries to sexually assault Hayek's character. Materialism is off the charts, and a couple steals from their friends and scams others to keep up their facade of having money. We're supposed to feel good that the couple fosters a little girl whose drug-trafficker dad is in jail, but considering how vile these characters are, it's no reward to the child -- or the audience.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In DRUNK PARENTS, after Frank and Nancy Teagarten (Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek) drop off their daughter at college, they tackle their financial problems -- or rather, their financial problems tackle them. While drunk, the two launch a scheme to make money while keeping up appearances that they're still rolling in dough. But that "solution" leads to more problems, which leads to more deception, which multiplies their issues.
Is it any good?
Drunk Parents tries to be offensive comedy, but it's just offensively bad. The film boasts an ensemble cast of seasoned comedic actors, but they make all the bumbling, unforced errors of a beginning improv troupe. It's so humorless and out of touch with today's comedy boundaries -- cringey in a terrible way, with elements like pedophile characters and making jokes at the expense of the disabled -- that viewers' jaws are likely to be left on the ground in horror. Those who watch will be left with one question: How did a film so bad get so many big stars?
Answer that, and you'll garner the one positive lesson that this mess could pass on to a teen: In real life, business gets done through building relationships. Drunk Parents writer-director Fred Wolf is a former head writer of SNL; by following his IMDb page, you can see where the yesses fell into place. While Wolf also directed the successful comedy The House Bunny, Drunk Parents has issues on every level: the script, the directing, the editing, the sound quality, and even the acting. Baldwin can portray an irascible elitist in his sleep, but Hayek plays her upper-class housewife as so over the top that it constitutes bad acting. Skip this irredeemable movie, even if it's playing for free and there's nothing else to do for two hours.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Drunk Parents is meant to show the slippery slope of engaging in an illegal/immoral activity. While the story is an exaggeration, do you think there's truth to the domino effect of troubles piling on? Do you think desperation leads to bad choices?
How is compassion displayed in the film? Which characters are deserving of the audience's compassion? Which aren't?
How is drinking portrayed in the film? Do you think the filmmakers are trying to project a message about drinking? If so, where did they hit -- and/or miss -- the mark?
Why do you think audiences find "over-the-top" comedy funny? Is there a line beyond which the comedy goes too far? In a society that's increasingly learning to be sensitive to typically suppressed communities, can this type of comedy continue to thrive? Do you think it works here?
- In theaters: April 19, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: May 21, 2019
- Cast: Alec Baldwin, Salma Hayek, Jim Gaffigan
- Director: Fred Wolf
- Studios: Vertical Entertainment, Aviron Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language throughout and crude sexual references
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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