Just Getting Started
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Unfunny action comedy wastes great cast; violence, language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes not underestimating seniors and the importance of teamwork, friendship, and fun.
Positive Role Models
Not many clear role models, but Leo and Duke do become friends and learn the value of teamwork.
Violence & Scariness
Gun violence, a kidnapping/hostage situation, explosions, and a snake are all part of an assassination attempt.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Duke is clearly juggling sexual/romantic relationships with three different women. One of them is waiting for him in his bed wearing lingerie (and later naked in the tub, although the bubbles cover everything but her shoulders and legs), while another is in his living room with her blouse unbuttoned to show her bra. Some kissing and innuendo, but no actual sex scenes.
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Many uses of "s--t," "bulls--t," and "son of a bitch," plus one "f---ing."
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Products & Purchases
Leo's Ford 150 is in many scenes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters drink a lot, and often to excess. They also joke about their prescription drug regimens. A couple of them vape/smoke.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Just Getting Started is a light action comedy starring an ensemble of actors over 60, including Academy Award winners Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones, as well as Rene Russo, Joe Pantoliano, and the late Glenne Headly. Considering that the plot centers around active (and sexually active) seniors, it's unlikely to appeal to teens, but families should note that these retirees aren't sweet little grandparents: They drink (as well as smoke/vape), gamble, and hook up -- a lot. (At the beginning of the movie, Freeman's character is clearly seeing three women at once, who wait for him in bed, the bath, etc.) They also swear (mostly "s--t," but there's also one F-bomb in the script). Expect some action violence, as there's a hit out against one character. There are explosions and a few scenes of gun violence, and one person is taken hostage. People shoot at one another, but there's only one serious injury.
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Just Getting Started
Based on 2 parent reviews
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Poor comedy film with Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones.
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What's the Story?
JUST GETTING STARTED follows Duke Diver (Morgan Freeman), the unofficial "mayor" of Villa Capri, a luxury retirement community in Palm Springs, California. Duke leads an ideal life: He has a killer golf game, three 60-something girlfriends, and a squad of fawning cronies. But his status is threatened by the arrival of rich, arrogant Renaissance Man Leo (Tommy Lee Jones). Making matters worse for Duke is that the resort community's corporate overlords have sent Suzie (Rene Russo), a by-the-books auditor, to figure out whether Duke should be fired for impropriety. Even worse is the fact that someone is clearly trying to kill Duke, who has some connection to an unnamed New Jersey mob wife (Jane Seymour) who's put out a hit on him, presumably for snitching on her imprisoned gangster husband.
Is It Any Good?
With two Academy Awards and plenty of great performances between them, Freeman and Jones are far too talented for this dreadful, unfunny senior comedy/adventure. While it's easy to understand why many older actors would take just about any big-screen role, you'd think Hollywood legends like these two stars wouldn't have to do phoned-in performances in lazily written films. What hope is there in Hollywood if two of the best actors of their generation must spend their golden years in drivel like this? Why can't filmmakers follow strong examples of movies with elderly ensembles like Cocoon, Red, On Golden Pond, and Grumpy Old Men that are still poignant, funny, and even action-packed?
Veteran director Ron Shelton, whose last film (Hollywood Homicide) came out more than a decade before Just Getting Started, doesn't seem to know what kind of movie he wants to make: a thriller, a love-triangle romcom, or a buddy comedy/adventure. None of it comes together, even with established and acclaimed supporting characters like Joe Pantoliano, comedian George Wallace, Graham Beckel, Elizabeth Ashley, and the late Glenne Headly, in her final on-screen performance. The comedic parts aren't funny (like when the live camels in a living nativity run away, or when Freeman and the ladies exchange overt innuendo), and the action parts aren't dramatic. Basically, very little is surprising or redeeming in the story. On the bright side, the actors look like they must have enjoyed the sunny desert where they shot the film. Still, there's really no reason to recommend this comedy other than its cast.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the violence in Just Getting Started. Was it believable or comical? Does violence have less impact in comedies than in dramas? Why do you think that is?
What do Duke and Leo learn about teamwork? Why is that an important character strength?
How does the movie depict drinking and smoking? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?
Who do you think the movie's target audience is? Why? Do you think younger viewers can appreciate movies about older characters?
- In theaters: December 8, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: February 27, 2018
- Cast: Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, Rene Russo
- Director: Ron Shelton
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Broad Green Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, Holidays
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language, suggestive material and brief violence
- Last updated: April 11, 2023
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