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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Irresponsible workplace behavior like chronic tardiness, dishonesty, and disrespect have few consequences, and Nick quickly forgives Thea's deceit to start a relationship with her. In one case, a man acquaints pregnancy with obesity, and another guy calls Thea "fat." Discussion about labor brings up potty topics like farting and pooping during delivery. On the plus side, Thea does discover that she's capable of a lot more than she ever thought when she takes on the responsibilities of a new job.
Positive Role Models
Thea spends more time griping about her job than actually trying to succeed at it, and when she's threatened with losing it, she lies to prey on her boss' good nature. She and Lisa steal the padded bellies she wears to convince people that she's pregnant, and they're mean to a nerdy coworker, calling him a "gross weirdo" who's still a virgin. For most of the movie, Thea shirks her responsibilities to her younger sister and to the family's finances. On a positive note, she does eventually discover that hard work can make her successful, and she dedicates herself to her job.
Violence & Scariness
In a couple of cases, adults resort to fighting to resolve disagreements, but no one is injured. There's mention of the fact that Thea's parents died in a car crash.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Physical intimacy includes a handful of kisses and one brief make-out scene in the bedroom. There's also lots of sexual innuendo, euphemisms, and other mature chat. A man makes suggestive comments about a woman's wet blouse; friends joke about STDs; women mock a guy for being a virgin; and coworkers talk about "doing the nasty" and Thea's perception as a "wayward skank." Then, of course, there's Thea's supposed pregnancy, which invites comments about her still being "sexy." Thea is shown in her bra and underwear. A man tells his brother to masturbate (the word itself is bleeped for broadcast but easily inferred) since he hasn't had any action lately.
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Multiple uses of "ass" and "hell." "S--t" is bleeped for broadcast but recognizable in two cases.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Thea and Lisa often sneak off to smoke in the office ladies' room, and they drink to relax after work. In one scene, Thea downs a shot of vodka in a bar, despite her seemingly pregnant belly. As her "pregnancy" progresses, though, she turns down Lisa's offers to smoke and drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is laden with casual references to sex (talk about "doing the nasty" as well as terms like "skank," "undersexed," and references to virginity), some strong language ("ass," "hell," and a few uses of "s--t," which are bleeped for TV broadcast), smoking, drinking, and generally irresponsible behavior. The main chararacter fakes a pregnancy to save her job, and even the inevitable revelation of her deceit doesn't have strong repercussions. Despite some worthwhile character development and a few obvious lessons about industriousness and honesty, teens will be more influenced by the movie's misleading messages about responsibility and relationships than by anything positive. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Watching LABOR PAINS is a bit like the labor process itself: It's a steady descent from tolerable pain to utter misery that's almost forgotten in the midst of the predictably happy ending. Almost, but not quite. For much of the movie, Thea is a self-absorbed, unmotivated, irresponsible young adult with little clarity to her future, and it's only with the safety net of a huge lie that she begins to come into her own and find some professional and personal success.
You could argue that her character turn-around outweighs her early mistakes, but in fact she's more believable as a snippy screw-up than as the reliable executive she becomes. (Of course, that might be influenced by Lohan's own off-camera trials.) The film does boast a talented cast (Janeane Garofalo joins in as a talk-show host), but even that's not enough to overshadow its flaws. Factor in the movie's frequent sexual references, a surprising amount of unnecessary smoking and drinking, and some strong language, and it's clear there's not much value for teens.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.