A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that most kids probably won't be interested in this satire of consumerism and superficiality, though teens savvy about those issues may find it entertaining. Over the course of the film, the main character learns from his own mistakes, as well as others' folly. In the movie, get-rich-quick scheming is seen as a way of life, and characters grow and distribute marijuana. Meanwhile, greed, ignorance, and overdone sexuality are all ridiculed, and the filmmakers take a positive look at Asians integrating into Canadian society. In addition to the drug-centric subplot, there's a fair amount of swearing and some relatively tame sexual content.
What's the story?
In EVERYTHING'S GONE GREEN, Ryan (Paulo Costanza) thinks he's hit bottom. His shallow girlfriend has dumped him, and he's lost his boring, inconsequential job. Even his parents have let him down. But after he's offered a writing job at a tacky lottery magazine and he meets the beautiful Wing (Steph Song), things begin to look up -- at least until Wing's hustler boyfriend, Bryce (JR Bourne), talks Ryan into taking part in a money-laundering scheme that (according to Bryce) isn't technically illegal, "doesn't hurt anybody," and will make him rich. As Ryan examines the hidden agendas of people around him, experiences a few moments of "the good life," and sees the foolishness of winning at all costs, he also falls in love with Wing, finds his own moral code, and discovers his humanity.
Is it any good?
The irreverent comedy Everything's Gone Green scores by taking a fresh look at greed, slacker values, and current cultural phenomena. There's the lottery, the "mom-and-pop" marijuana industry, and the ubiquitous movie-making taking place on almost every street corner in Vancouver, for starters. Strong performances, shrewd use of contemporary music, and a realistic approach to even the most absurd comic moments help the movie stand out. Ryan's journey is brightened by assorted oddball characters, some strikingly funny situations, and a lot of inevitable soul-searching.
One particularly nice aspect of Everything's Gone Green is that Vancouver, Canada -- which in recent years has so often been asked to stand in for U.S. cities -- gets to play itself for a change. The lovely, vibrant town actually becomes a character in this sensitive, likeable romantic comedy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie uses humor to make a point about honesty and integrity. What makes something a satire? What messages does the movie send about the film industry? How about the marijuana business? How does Ryan change during the course of the film, and what does he learn? Is his transformation believable?