A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this indie romantic dramedy set in New York -- which was written and directed by star Josh Radnor of TV's How I Met Your Mother -- focuses on three young couples, each of whom is having some kind of relationship trouble. Teens may or may not be interested in the love woes of older characters, but most of the content is age appropriate for mature teenagers: There are several uses of "f--k" (the main reason for the movie's R rating), plus some drinking, flirting, and kissing (anything more intimate is implied rather than shown).
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What's the story?
Sam (Josh Radnor), a writer living in New York, is best friends with Annie (Malin Akerman), who works in an office and has an unnamed disease that has robbed her of her hair. She also suffers the aftermath of a series of loser boyfriends. Sam tries to rescue a lost child, Rasheen (Michael Algieri), on the subway and ends up babysitting him for several days. At the same time, he meets and hits it off with bartender/singer Mississippi (Kate Mara), who agrees to a crazy plan to move in with Sam for three days. Meanwhile, Sam's "cousin" Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) is having issues with her longtime boyfriend, Charlie (Pablo Schreiber), who wants to move to Los Angeles for a job opportunity. Will everyone find love and happiness?
Is it any good?
The movie plays well in little bursts, with some sharp dialogue to make things sound good. After several years on the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother, Radnor makes his feature writing and directing debut with this indie dramedy. The movie suggests that Sam is good with short stories but not so good with novels, and that's how this movie is, too. The overall storylines and emotional threads don't really go very deep or very far.
It also smacks of cheap shortcuts, such as Rasheed, whose character is used more for laughs than for responsibility, or Annie's unnamed disease. Whenever the movie has nothing to say, it resorts to playing a sensitive song by an ironic singer/songwriter. While the performances are fine, the characters are fairly shallow, and it seems like their happy endings come too quickly and too easily; they could probably have used a lot more work.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what the movie is saying about love and relationships. Are any of these couples in healthy relationships? Why or why not? What's important to you in a relationship?
Do you consider these characters role models? Teens: What do you think your life will be like when you're the age of the characters in this movie?
For kids who love romance
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