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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Cynicism, exploitation, and selfishness throughout. Characters create a war to make money and further their own career and brand. Lying, deception, and manipulation feature heavily, used as tools for characters to get what they want. Brief moments of honesty provide some reconciliation between family members, but these have no real impact.
Positive Role Models
Characters are shallow, conniving, and dismissive of people who are different from them. Harry Hope values fame and prizes above helping other people. Kate tries to avoid family members by lying. Stereotypical images of Eastern European poverty. Characters blow up an impoverished village's bridge to help a fake news campaign.
Violence & Scariness
War conflict shown. Characters are shot at: some are killed, another is wounded and bleeds from their arm. Character kicked in the face. Objects thrown by street protesters. Rioters clash with armed police, who assault them with batons -- not shown close up or graphic. Faked war scenes show characters with fake blood being directed to pretend to cry and show pain. Missiles fired. Reference to dead children. Fake crucifixions.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character seen shirtless and refers to eating lunch "naked." Two characters remove each other's clothes while making sex references, then lie together partially clothed, presumably after having had sex. Character strips to underwear after swimming fully clothed.
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Includes: "s--t," "mother-----r," "f--k off," "f--k me," "f--k," "pissing around," "bloody," and "bitch." " Foreign language referred to as "gobbledygook." Character told to "go and die in a fire." "Jesus f---ing Christ" used as an exclamation.
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Products & Purchases
Materialistic rapper wears a fur coat and expensive jewelry. Complains about their coat touching the floor. The plot revolves around a ploy to get them more awards and make them more famous. Characters play poker.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol in moderation in bars.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that How to Fake a War is a dismal comedy that satirizes the motives behind celebrity endorsements and charity work. There is plenty of bad language, while the effects of war -- both real and fake -- are also depicted. There are no positive role models, as a cast of cynical press officers and shallow celebrities -- led by PR consultant Kate (Katherine Parkinson) and superstar rapper Harry Hope (Jay Pharoah) -- try to exploit another country's unrest for their own gain. The residents of that country are portrayed as simple-minded, easy to fool, and violent. Violence features intermittently, as both real and fake wars are shown with some gunshots, beatings with batons, and bloody injuries. Some characters are shot and killed, but no close-ups of their deaths are shown. One character is kicked in the face by another, after an argument. Variants of "f--k" are used throughout in both anger and frustration. A language with a non-Roman alphabet is criticized as being "gobbledygook." Two characters undress while making reference to sex, before being shown lying together partially clothed. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A flimsy story filled with clichés, this movie limps through its 84-minute runtime as though it's sustained a battlefield injury of its own making. The characters' motivations frequently change to aid the plot. Sisters Kate and Peggy (Lily Newmark), in particular, alternate between being at odds and working as a team, moving past one major revelation about their relationship as quickly as it has been dumped into the story.
The dialogue is hampered with labored exposition, which leads to How to Fake a War 's attempts at humor falling flat. This is despite efforts to use jokes to shine a light on how the media and celebrities can attempt to exploit worthy causes to their own ends. The plot is largely implausible, too. The footage shot by Kate and her colleagues is unconvincing, while the movie's portrayal of foreigners as rural "simpletons" manipulated by cynical Brits and Americans is as lazy as it is dated. All in all, this is one "fake news" story that's unlikely to go viral.
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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