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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A grandmother's drug use is played for laughs.
Violence & Scariness
Car crash. A young character dies suddenly.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual references and situations, including adultery and teen pregnancy.
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Some strong language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen drinking and smoking, and marijuana use (portrayed as humorous).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the movie has some strong language, and teen smoking and drinking. The grandmother's use of marijuana is portrayed as humorous. Halley's friend and her boyfriend have sex and she becomes pregnant. Halley begins to have sex with her boyfriend, but then stops because she says she does not want to care too much about him. Halley's sister comes home drunk from a bachelorette party with a male stripper's underwear around her neck. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Alison Janney and Dylan Baker do their best not to appear to be slumming, but the movie keeps tripping itself up on idiotic developments that are supposed to be comic. There's Halley's pot-smoking grandmother (played by 1940's movie star Nina Foch) and the stuffy family of the sister's fiance, and idiotic developments that are supposed to be touching (like a car accident). And it also has the worst costume design of any movie in decades.
HOW TO DEAL is based on two popular books by Sarah Dessen. The books' fans -- and Moore's -- will enjoy the movie. But those not already committed to the star or the books will find the movie hard going, because director Claire Kilner and screenwriter Neena Beeber demonstrate stunning ineptitude in translating written material to the screen. The story, the characters, and the relationships seem to go in completely different directions from scene to scene. Without knowing what's in the books, it is not episodic; it is incoherent. And the dialogue is just painful. Deal me out.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate