Happy Anniversary

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Happy Anniversary Movie Poster Image
Romcom has lots of frank sex talk, strong language.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 78 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

You may never be sure if your partner is "the one," or if you're ready for bigger commitments or marriage, but you shouldn't let your uncertainty hold you back. There may be heartache, but if you never take the chance, you'll never experience all the good things relationships offer. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sam and Mollie model open, honest discussions about their feelings. Neither one has any negative motives or serious flaws, and they each just want to do the right thing. They both have character flaws and sometimes hurt each other with what they say. But they always end up talking things through and trying to understand each other, and they make amends.

Violence
Sex

A simulated sex scene played for comedy shows a man's bare chest and legs from the side. Some kissing, and implied sex, like rolling over afterward or being in bed together. Only sensitive body part shown is in a text-message picture of a man's erect penis; the recipient reacts with disgust. Some kissing, an extended scene with a woman in a bra and skirt. A man tries to initiate sex by putting his hand on a woman's breast. Lots of frank talking and joking about sex, birth control, prostitution, oral sex, and more.

Language

"P---y," "bulls--t," "f--k" and variations, "s--t," "blow job," "d--k" (body part), "bitch," "pre-cum," and "butthole."

Consumerism

An important event is revisited in a Fry's Electronics. Searching online using an Apple laptop. Incidental household products in the background with partial labels visible. A few incidental mentions like Krispy Kreme and Uber.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking Fernet at dinner with friends, Sam and Mollie don't like it and wish they could just have wine. A man says he can't stop at two beers, ends up drinking eight. Drinking lots of hotel mini-bar bottles. One scene with a man smoking. A children's vitamin is ground into powder and placed in lines with a credit card like cocaine; it's not shown being used or ever again. A few scenes take place in a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Happy Anniversary is a romantic comedy with lots of strong language, frank talk about sex, and a couple of sex scenes, played for comedy, that don't show any body parts. One scene does show the couple talking about what they're doing. There's no nudity except in a text-message picture that clearly shows an erect penis. Profanity includes "p---y" (name calling), "f--k" and variations, "s--t," and "bitch." Frank talk about sex mentions "pre-cum," birth control, prostitution, oral sex, and more. A few scenes show drinking. One scene shows a ground-up children's vitamin arranged in lines with a credit card to simulate cocaine. A minor character smokes once. The main characters are in their 30s, but older teens who can handle the strong material may be interested in the themes about whether you can ever be sure about your relationship, and if you're not whether you should end it or take a chance.

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What's the story?

In HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Sam and Mollie have been together for three years. As they start to look back at how the relationship started and where they are now, Mollie becomes less and less sure that she wants to stay in it. Her biological clock is ticking, and Sam's not showing any signs he's ready to take things to the next level. Sure, the relationship's not perfect, but is it good enough? And is good enough, well, good enough?

Is it any good?

This directing debut from Jared Stern has a lot of cute, and a lot of quirks, but not quite enough genuine spark to lift it up above the crowded field of romantic comedies. Stern's strength is Happy Anniversary's smart, funny script, which is no surprise given that his writing credits include a few Lego movies and Wreck-It Ralph. Both lead actors are cute in different, slightly goofy ways, but neither brings much more life than you might expect from a decent sitcom. And that's pretty much how the movie plays: like a decent TV comedy that has a few laughs and passes the time amiably enough.

Teens who are wondering about long-term relationships, how you can be sure you're with the right person, and whether or not someone's worth going all in for might enjoy this light romantic comedy, even though the couple are in their early 30s. But it's best for mature teens who can handle the adult situations, strong language, and frank sex talk.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sexual content in Happy Anniversary. Does it seem realistic? How much is OK to show in movies, TV, or other media?

  • How much strong language is OK in movies? Is it a big deal? Why or why not?

  • What other romantic comedies have you seen? Which are your favorites? How does this one compare?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love romcoms

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