Finding Amanda



Mature, uneven prostitution dramedy loses its way.
  • Review Date: June 23, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A young prostitute appears untroubled by her profession, except when a client insults her to her face. Even then, she appears to recover quickly; in the end, there doesn't seem to have been much of a change in her thinking, except perhaps about relationships. A man constantly lies to his wife and to himself about his addictions and appears to have little remorse about it, except for when he seems on the verge of losing everything. Men hurt women both physically and emotionally; women deceive and accept all forms of abuse; people take drugs, drink too much, and gamble away their lives. Some of this is played for comedy (laughing yet?).


A woman attacks a man after he spits on her face and insults her; a man threatens the lead character after he's caught cheating; a pimp bloodies a man's nose and later breaks his by smashing a Dumpster lid on it. A man roughs up his girlfriend. A father allows his two young sons to play with guns; the only admonition is to aim below the waist.


Bare breasts in a strip club. Some sex acts are implied, as when a woman is shown performing oral sex on a man (no genitals shown) while people casually hang out and conduct a drug deal. A lead character is a prostitute and talks candidly about what she does "at work." Pretty explicit descriptions of sex acts and references to body parts, as well as to infidelity.


Everything you can think of, all used early and often: "crap," "s--t," "f--k," "c--t," "dick," and more -- sometimes in front of children.


Vegas signage; constant mention of Taylor's TV sitcom.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A lead character relapses into previous drinking and drugging ways (Ecstasy is identified, as well as weed); dealers sell their wares; Vegas casinos ply visitors with drinks so they'll gamble more, and visitors are happy to imbibe, even if some of them are supposed to be on the wagon.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens probably won't be clamoring to see this mature dramedy. Which is just as well, since it attempts to put a light sheen on serious topics like prostitution but ultimately comes across as somewhat dismissive. There's a fair amount of swearing -- within the first 15 minutes alone, a panoply of cuss words (including "f--k") lets fly -- and a whole host of vices, from gambling to drinking and drug use. There's also some partial nudity (breasts) and implied sex. And even though he's lying through his teeth almost every time he opens his mouth, the lead character doesn't seem to feel much remorse about it.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

Hollywood scribe Taylor (Matthew Broderick) works for a TV show he can't stand and has a gambling problem he can't shake. His wife Lorraine's (Maura Tierney) patience is wearing thin, so he comes up with a stunt to curry favor: He'll head to Vegas to look for their niece, perky, sunny Amanda (Brittany Snow) -- who's been dabbling with prostitution while using drugs -- and talk her into giving rehab a try. But as it turns out, finding Amanda isn't the tough part, as Taylor's trip pushes him deeper into his own vices.

Is it any good?


FINDING AMANDA, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, tries to straddle two worlds -- comedy and tragedy -- but it doesn't succeed at either. Dismissive when it shouldn't be and treacly when sweetness isn't called for, it winds up tonally confusing at best. One minute, Amanda is blasé about her chosen profession -- she offhandedly propositions potential "clients" while chit-chatting with her uncle and talks about sexual acts she's performed as if talking about a manicure (a conceit already mined far more successfully in Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite) -- and the next she's sobbing on the floor with shame.

Perhaps that's meant to show the ambivalence that Amanda truly feels about her situation -- which would be understandable -- but it just doesn't fly. And though it's somewhat amusing to watch Taylor lie, even to himself, about his burgeoning addictions, the humor quickly dissipates when Lorraine (played with nuance by Tierney) is increasingly pained by his mounting untruths. It's always a pleasure to watch Broderick negotiate angsty figures, but he deserves more cohesive material. Director Peter Tolan's made an admirable effort to tell a complicated story, but he just didn't find the perfect mix, never mind Amanda.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the media usually portrays prostitution. Do you think these depictions are realistic? Why would filmmakers want to glamorize (or even just soften) "the world's oldest profession"? Also, is it OK to mine topics like addiction and lying for laughs? Why or why not? And why do you think Taylor volunteered to go to Vegas when he's a gambling addict (and an alcoholic to boot)? Was it all a lie, or did he have every intention of helping out?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 26, 2008
DVD release date:September 16, 2008
Cast:Brittany Snow, Matthew Broderick, Maura Tierney
Director:Peter Tolan
Studio:Magnolia Pictures
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong sexual content including graphic dialogue, pervasive language, drug content and brief nudity.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bywonder dove April 6, 2013

Average flick - not for kids!

I thought this movie was okay, I watched it for Brittany Snow who did an excellent job in the film. Amanda (Brittany) appears as a happy-go-lucky but troubled niece of a gambler named Taylor who has his own share of problems. When he hears that Amanda is prostituting in Las Vagas, he convinces his wife that he will find her and get her into rehab. He succeeds in finding her, but things take a wild turn when he's constantly exposed to gambling, drugs & alcohol that gets himself in even deeper trouble. The ending feels a little unfinished. I think the story could've been better. Language is strong, lots of cursing in every form. Sexual content is also pretty strong with nudity, sexual acts, strip clubs, graphic discussions, prostitution. Violence has guns used by children (no actual shootings), a man gets beat up by a pimp and gets injured, couples cheat on each other, spitting and slapping, lots of arguments. Lots of drug and alcohol references, ecstasy is talked about and then taken, buying pot, discussions about drugs. Alcohol is used in gambling joints and bars, a man gets drunk. This is not appropriate material for those under 17. The story doesn't really solve anything so no positive messages here.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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