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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The grown-up children all lie to their father about incredibly important aspects of their lives, including pregnancy, babies, divorce, and sexuality. But ultimately they make amends and start to relate to him better.
Positive Role Models
Frank's grown-up children send an iffy message to younger audiences about how to deal with parents. Amy, Robert, and Rosie all lie to their father and keep important details about their lives from him. Although they eventually start confiding in their father and telling him the truth, it comes too late to prevent some negative consequences.
Violence & Scariness
Frank is mugged by a young homeless man. The man stomps on Frank's prescription medicine, and Frank ends up in the hospital. A character, unseen but spoken about often, dies off camera.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Amy flirts with a man who's not her husband. Rosie and Amy are shown with their significant others. A woman who is obviously a prostitute jokingly asks Frank if he wants to see "her leg." Rosie (shown as a young girl) says that she likes "girls."
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Fairly strong language, including "f--k," "s--t," exclamations of "oh my God," "Christ!" and "Jesus!," "damn," "hell," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Brands featured include Audi, BMW, and McDonald's.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Robert smokes a cigarette, then says he's quitting, then smokes another cigarette. One character who's mostly unseen (but talked about often) is an imprisoned substance abuser.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this holiday drama starring Robert De Niro deals with some heavy themes that aren't age-appropriate for young children. Of the main character's four grown-up children, one (mostly unseen) is a jailed substance abuser, and the others are grappling with issues including sexuality, divorce, and single parenthood. There's quite a bit of swearing for a PG-13 movie, especially during a comical scene between a grandfather and grandson ("f--k," "s--t"). There's also a lot of lying, and one character dies (off screen), while another ends up in the hospital after being mugged. Still, in the end, the movie aims to send a positive message about acceptance and honesty between parents and their adult children. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Kirk Jones' adaptation is surprisingly affecting, given how overly sentimental, predictable, and downright ridiculous it sometimes is. For all of the plot's maudlin trappings, any parent in the audience will be able to relate to the way that Frank repeatedly sees each of his grown-up kids as the children they once were (each is played by a child actor several times throughout the film) -- even as they speak like adults. It's a sappy gimmick, but it still gets you -- how widower Frank is trying really hard to relate to his kids as the independent adults that they are even as he desperately wants them to need his guidance and protection the way they did when they were younger. The conceit is most effective in a dream-like sequence in which Frank confronts the younger versions of his kids with the truths he's gleaned from his trip but didn't have the courage to bring up in real life.
De Niro is believable enough as a curmudgeonly retiree who expects the best from the kids he worked so hard to support, and Barrymore is especially radiant as Rosie, who's obviously the closest to her dad. Rockwell's segment feels rushed, but it includes most of the movie's humor, as does the bits between Frank and his grandson Jack (Lucian Maisel), who's a far better golfer than his swearing grandpa. The irony that Frank spent his entire career protecting wires that help people communicate when he seems to have such trouble communicating with his family isn't exactly subtle. But just when you're is sick of all the wire imagery, a painting David made in tribute to his father makes them all worth suffering through -- be warned, a Kleenex could come in handy.
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