Labor Pains

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Labor Pains Movie Poster Image
Lohan is poor role model for teens in unimpressive romcom.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


Multiple uses of “ass” and “hell.” “S--t” is bleeped for broadcast but recognizable in two cases.

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written byDogcat February 12, 2021
Teen, 15 years old Written byLoranikas303 February 12, 2021

Pregnant Pains

Yeah, every modern teen knows about pregnancy except people from the 1900s! That's I know about pregnancy! There is symptoms such as morning sickness, feet... Continue reading

What's the story?

Twenty-something Thea (Lindsay Lohan) is frustrated with her immature boyfriend, her responsibility to her younger sister, and her lackluster secretarial job. After multiple mishaps at work, her boss (Chris Parnell) threatens to cut her loose -- but she makes up a story about being pregnant so he’ll change his mind. Soon everyone has heard the news, and she can’t seem to set the record straight. So, with the help of her friend, Lisa (Cheryl Hines), Thea dons a belly pillow and maternity clothes and continues the ruse. When she’s promoted to the company’s new family division and discovers she actually has a knack for her new job, Thea fears that revealing the truth will cost her a chance at success -- and a relationship with her new manager, Nick (Luke Kirby). But the phony pregnancy is a ticking time bomb, and there’s no telling what pieces will be left to pick up when it blows.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about the consequences of sex and unplanned pregnancy. Are they realistic? Can you think of other shows or movies that have a different take on the topic? Is it the media's responsibility to present this content in a realistic manner? 

  • Teens: What are your responsibilities at this point in your life? What repercussions do you face if you don’t fulfill them? How do your choices now affect the course of your future?

  • How is your impression of TV shows and movies influenced by your perception of the people who star in them? Do you think celebrities are held to a different standard than regular people? Do they have a responsibility to be positive role models for young fans?

Movie details

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