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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Jarrod's a self-described "loser," and he proves himself right. He talks mostly about himself, shows little concern for those around him, prank calls people and threatens them, stands up and then dumps a woman who's only been nice to him, name-calls his sister, exhibits violent tendencies (he punches things out of nowhere), ignores his child, and even beats up a paraplegic. By contrast, Lily is warm and kind and giving, which somewhat mitigates Jarrod's awfulness.
Violence & Scariness
Jarrod stalks a former childhood nemesis by phone and threatens him; later he beats him up while he's in a wheelchair. Guests gleefully beat each other via video games at a party, and then throw shoes at one of the hosts, who volunteers to play target.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Glimpses of porn (showing full intercourse) pop up on a computer. Lily and Jarrod have sex, but with little emotion (at least the first time) -- no body parts are visible except for Lily's bare shoulders, though there's an audible sound of a condom being put on. Also some discussion of sex in frank terms ("That was some good sex last night"). Lily tears off her top after a party and runs into the night (only her bare back is visible).
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Very colorful, including various slang for male genitalia ("c--k," etc.), "bitch" (and its alternate version, "beeyatch"), and a few uses of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Signage for Meaty Boy, the fictional fast food restaurant where Lily works; mention of the Ford Laser (a real car).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some smoking and drinking, mostly at parties; at one particular bash, Lily gets completely drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this quirky New Zealand film has a following on YouTube, so teens may already have seen clips of it there. Quirky and a bit dark, it's far from your typical romantic comedy. The main character, Jarrod, is off-putting, callous, and rude, and at times his relationship with the female lead feels masochistic. There are plenty of dark moments (including glimpses at a family torn apart by suicide), as well as lots of strong language ("f--k", variations on slang for male genitalia, and more). There's also a definite undercurrent of violence: Jarrod is a champ at beating opponents in an aggression-filled video game, and he trains to beat up a childhood bully. Still, older teens may be able to see beyond Jarrod's unappealing exterior -- especially since his sweet-though-gawky girlfriend seems to be able to find some good in him. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Overall the film is pretty funny and Loren Horsley imbues her character with both pathos and grace. But Clement comes across as so despicable that some viewers may find him too pathetic to love. The fun he pokes at geek- and jerk-dom is almost too pointed -- which makes it a challenge to buy Lily's utter devotion. Though awkward, she's dignified, big-hearted, and generous in spirit.
Writer-director Taika Waititi's deserves applause for his zeal, which results in a fairly successful and mostly hilarious -- though not always palatable -- film. The movie, after all, is about there being someone for everyone, even bona fide losers -- and Jarrod's a complete dud. Hollywood has told this story before, but the "losers" are never total washouts: They're more like ugly ducklings who only need a makeover to come out a swan. It would take major plastic surgery and a personality transplant to make Jarrod a swan.
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