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Parents' Guide to

It Takes Three

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Modern retelling of classic tale has sex, language.

Movie NR 2021 90 minutes
It Takes Three Poster Image

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This is a witty and thoughtful modern-day retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac. It Takes Three is an all-too-familiar story with all-too-familiar teen character types, but clever writing and inspired acting keep it entertaining throughout. Each character, starting out in these familiar basics like "awkward nerd," "popular jock," "smart, artsy, cool new girl," etc., manages to transcend these types, bringing individuality and depth through the writing and acting, going far to make them likable and relatable even as they make mistakes and especially when their plans fall apart. It's an enjoyable mix of '80s John Hughes movie teen angst with all the modern technologies kids today love, with their smartphones and social media platforms.

It doesn't always work. For instance, one suspects that the writers like the prose of Jack Kerouac and the music of Galaxie 500 as much as Cy and Roxy do, if not more so. Roxy's sophisticated tastes in visual artists, avant-garde EDM, and third-wave feminism come across as a little too (forgive the Cyrano pun) on the nose. The sex jokes and content can be a bit gratuitous at times. However, what ultimately emerges is a clever satire of teen life in the 21st century, of age-old concerns like self-image and popularity, only filtered and heightened through the noise of social media, internet celebrity, the 24-7 availability via texting. It's a movie that deftly avoids the many clichés of teen movies and puts a spin on a familiar story that can be enjoyed by older teens and adults alike.

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