It's a Lot

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
It's a Lot Movie Poster Image
Shallow high school comedy heavy on drugs, sex, partying.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 96 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Admitting mistakes; being honest with others; accepting responsibility for your actions; the importance of the legacy you leave behind

Positive Role Models & Representations

Parents are largely portrayed as oblivious and self-absorbed; teenagers are portrayed as on the make, chasing sex, drugs, partying, or popularity. Teens stage a fake charity. Though some characters recognize the gravity of their mistakes, they spend the majority of the film engaged in totally indulgent, hedonistic behavior.

Violence

Teen boy imagines being hit and yelled at by his dad for wrecking his car; two men intimidate, rough up a guy over money; guy punches another in the stomach; cop tells arrestee about getting raped in prison.

Sex

A young woman with smeared lipstick is implied to have made out with a young boy; naked shot of a male bottom; a guy and half-dressed girl make out; a woman in bra and panties lies in bed watching a male striptease; a guy appears to have a wet dream; kissing; frequent sexual suggestiveness in gestures, dancing, gyrating, kissing, licking lips; references to masturbation and sex and getting sex; a girl rubs a guy's thigh suggestively; a young boy demands a kiss from a girl in exchange for not telling on his older brother; a guy walks out of a room zipping up his pants, implying intercourse; posters of naked women line the walls of a teen boy's room.

Language

"Hell," "dips--t," "s--t," "d--khead," "bitches," "whore," "prick," "f--k you," "a--hole," "bastard"; insulting language such as "heifer"; British sexual slang.

 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent scenes of pot smoking by adults and teenagers; frequent scenes of parties with Solo cups or half-filled bottles of vodka; one scene of an elementary school-age boy drinking vodka and getting sleepy.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that It's a Lot features pot smoking and drinking by teens and drinking by an elementary school-age boy. There's heavy sexual suggestiveness, making out, kissing, nudity featuring a male bottom, naked women in posters on walls, a young woman with smeared lipstick implied to have made out with a young boy, and lots of references to getting sex or having sex. There's some crude language, including "f--k," and some rude humor. Though the movie attempts to show some teens' remorse for their shallow lives with insight into class differences and the meaning of compassion, the majority of the film has its protagonists chasing partying, drugs, and fun to a cynical degree. Nothing much to recommend here; best for older teens. 

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What's the story?

With his parents out of town, well-to-do teenager Shaun (Femi Oyeniran) secretly drops out of his private school to get some real-life experience at the local public college. But in an effort to impress the popular Chrissy (Roxy Sternberg) and Natalie (Red Madrell), he drives his dad's off-limits pricey Lotus to school and accidentally wrecks it. Soon he's on the hook for $20,000 in repairs, so he and his friends stage a fake charity for bone marrow to recoup the costs. They become wildly popular in the meantime, until Shaun learns that Natalie's sister has leukemia and needs the money desperately. Now he must figure out how to make things right, even if it means angering his family and risking all the credibility and popularity he's worked so hard to earn.

Is it any good?

IT'S A LOT is a slickly put-together film with fast pacing, clever editing, and a thumping soundtrack, but the weight of all that shiny packaging leaves it flailing in the shallow end. In this world, teenagers are caricatures of self-obsession: mean-spirited, cruel, taunting, and only interested in money, partying, and popularity. No one studies, takes classes, or concerns themselves with anything but jockeying for position, and this happens at the local community college, as opposed to the posh, out-of-touch private school our protagonist has left behind for more authentic experiences. Perhaps the message is that there are good and bad people everywhere, no matter how much money they have, or that the poor can be just as shallow as the wealthy. And there are some attempts to stress the importance of leaving behind a legacy or doing good with money, but that abrupt departure comes far too late to feel very authentic.

Plus, there are so many shallow characters and so much crudeness for the sake of it -- not to mention the drugs, partying, sexual suggestiveness, and materialist attitudes -- that even the nice messages are easily clouded by all the pot smoke and hedonism. Additionally, a lot of troubling behavior is never addressed, such as the underage partying or a high school-age girl making out with what looks to be a fifth grader. There's a lot here for discussion about teenage life, class, and community but too much to sort out to get there easily.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how wealth and class are portrayed in the film. Do the differences seem realistic? Do these families seem realistic to you? Why, or why not?

  • Does the film portray teenage life realistically? Why, or why not?

  • What are some of the film's messages about compassion or community-mindedness, and how well do you think the film conveys them?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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