Growing Up and Other Lies

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Growing Up and Other Lies Movie Poster Image
Clever setup, but mature friendship comedy is formulaic.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Jake and his friends clearly have affection for one another and have seen each other through ups and downs. They're still very much present for each other, though they do grapple with issues like infidelity and identity crises.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters all have their flaws, but Jake is artistic, Rocks is supportive, and Billy is loyal. Gunderson might be the only one who isn't as nice as the others.


A man tries to choke another after a major disagreement. Some yelling and screaming. One guy appears to enjoy needling another.


A woman kisses a man who's engaged to someone else. Some kissing between exes. A man ogles a scantily clad woman's backside.


Regular use of everything from "damn" to "a--hole" to "f--k."


Much of the action happens on the streets of New York, so there's a lot of visible signage. Some discussion about the city's haves and have-nots.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Starts with a scene where a guy is throwing up after drinking too much. Some social drinking at parties and bars. One character uses a bong to smoke weed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Growing Up and Other Lies is an indie comedy that deals with fairly mature themes -- infidelity, existential crises -- that younger teens and under might not identify with. But older viewers may appreciate its exploration of friendship and adulthood. Expect strong language (including "f--k" and more), a bit of yelling/confrontation, scenes in which characters are drunk/smoke pot, and some kissing/ogling scenes. Mostly, though, viewers watch four friends hanging out with one another.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGregg H. May 25, 2017

Like a mediocre day that you've forgotten.

The movie is OK. Don't get me wrong, it has potential, but roughly only 30% of it it is worth anything. It's a great concept but about 20 minutes int... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Jake (Josh Lawson) is on the verge of leaving New York City, having been driven out by the vagaries of city living and the pressures of being an underemployed and unappreciated artist. Plus, he needs to care for a relative back home. To say goodbye to his beloved city, he and his three friends -- Rocks (Adam Brody), Billy (Danny Jacobs), and Gunderson (Wyatt Cenac) -- decide to walk from the top of Manhattan down to the bottom, making pit stops along the way to touch base on Jake's (and the group's) past.

Is it any good?

The walkabout premise is clever, especially in such a walkable, cinematic city as New York. So just for giving viewers a tour of some NYC gems (and not always the obvious ones -- shout out to Koronet Pizza in Morningside Heights!), GROWING UP AND OTHER LIES deserves some kudos. It's also a delight to hear the men talk; it's as if we're eavesdropping on real conversations that sometimes have no point or no closure.

But while the four leads share some rapport with each other (especially Brody and Jacobs), and their struggles are somewhat relatable (save for Lawson's failing artist bit, which smacks of cliche), the rest of the film doesn't impress. A pit-stop at the home of an ex-girlfriend (Amber Tamblyn) yields some interesting moments, but it also adds to the confusion: What is the movie saying? That life is confusing and no one knows how to be a grown-up? Say something we haven't heard before, why don't you?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Growing Up and Other Lies' messages. What is it saying about friendship? Adulthood? Who do you think it's intended to appeal to most? How can you tell?

  • Talk about the four main characters' friendship: Is it a strong one? Antagonistic? A little of both? Are their relationships and interactions realistic? How does this movie add to the buddy-comedy canon?

  • The city of New York is just as much a character in this film as the people. What role does it play in the movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love friendship stories

Themes & Topics

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