Kissing Jessica Stein

  • Review Date: August 30, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Sweet comedy about when a girl meets girl.
  • Review Date: August 30, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 96 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

While the film does include highly critical characters, it also depicts various individuals struggling with love, sexual identity, and commitment.

Not applicable

The film shows one of the main characters engaging in spontaneous and non-monogamous sex. It depicts semi-graphic scenes of both straight and lesbian sex.


Profanity is present (mostly euphemisms for sexual organs and acts), but kept to a minimum.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Inclusion of multiple instances of social drinking, but not drunkenness.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that that this film explores a young woman's sexual orientation as she tries out a lesbian relationship. The movie has intimate scenes depicting same sex relationships and some scenes of sexual activity.

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What's the story?

Jessica is the highly neurotic and previously straight (and sexually repressed) half, of a lesbian couple struggling to find intimacy, love, and personal satisfaction. Living in present-day New York, Jessica (Jennifer Westfeldt) and Helen (Heather Juergensen) struggle with bad dating, old and current boyfriends, a crazy Jewish mother, and confusing feelings. Jessica does not know what she wants. Her mother just wants her to settle down with a nice Jewish man, while Helen wants to find the perfect combination of love and sexual heat. Ultimately, the couple must investigate their own feelings about love, sex, and friendship and go for broke in their searches for personal fulfillment.

Is it any good?


KISSING JESSICA STEIN is a witty and hysterical romp through sexual discovery. It transcends the label of "lesbian comedy" to succeed as a romantic comedy that illustrates the feelings and struggles common to all. Aside from strong performances by its lead women, the film also includes inspired performances by Jackie Hoffman as Jessica's wacky coworker/best friend and Tovah Feldshuh (Law and Order and Broadway) as her domineering mother. As an added bonus, the film also includes a hysterical and odd performance by JM J Bullock (Too Close for Comfort [1980] and The Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show [1996]) as one of Jessica's bad dates.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about different expressions of sexuality, and societal pressures. They may want to use the title character's relationship with her mother as a springboard for discussing their receptiveness to their childrens' own personal choices.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 21, 2001
DVD release date:September 7, 2004
Cast:Heather Juergensen, Jennifer Westfeldt, Tovah Feldshuh
Director:Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual content and language

This review of Kissing Jessica Stein was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byKass April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A great picture... for adults

Kissing Jessica Stein is the best kind of romantic comedy- one that is effortlessly enchanting and witty. This can in large part owed to its dazzling screenplay and the pitch-perfect performance of Jennifer Westfeldt, who makes the pretentious and neurotic Jessica a truly lovable character. Nevertheless, due to its content matter, this a film unsuitable for children.


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