A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's hard to discern clear positive messages other than that people don't tend to forget their first true love, and that it's difficult to remain friends with an ex if one person is still pining for the other.
Positive Role Models
Aside from Allison -- who's intelligent, sensitive, and kind -- there aren't any clear role models in the movie. Adam is hurtful and selfish; Aaron is smarmy.
Violence & Scariness
Adam and Aaron play an aggressive game of tennis, and Adam throws his tennis racket across the court. Adam is hit by a slow-moving car and is shown bloody and limping.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Montage of relationship scenes, including a couple kissing/making out, lying around together, caressing/tickling each other, etc. An engaged/married couple kisses.
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Strong language includes "f--k," "a--hole," "douche," "d--k," and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink at meals and wedding events (rehearsal dinner, reception, etc.). Characters, including the protagonist, overindulge on alcohol throughout the wedding festivities. In a flashback, the main character is shown high on Vicodin. Adults smoke cigarettes and pass around what looks like a joint.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Literally, Right Before Aaron is an indie break-up comedy about a 30-something guy (Justin Long) who agrees to attend his ex-girlfriend's wedding, where he misguidedly attempts to win her back. Co-starring Cobie Smulders, the movie boasts a familiar cast but is unlikely to appeal to middle or high schoolers unless they're die-hard indie film fans. There are flashbacks to a broken-up couple's happier days, including scenes of them making out and lying around together, but nothing graphic. Strong language ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) is peppered throughout the film, usually uttered in frustration or anger, and there are several scenes of adults drinking at dinners/events (sometimes to excess), as well as the main character smoking cigarettes and pot and high on Vicodin. Parents of mature teens who see the film may want to discuss the parameters of consensual behavior, establishing boundaries with exes, and the idea of "the one who got away." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite being classified as a romantic comedy, this occasionally amusing but mostly unlikable indie is actually an anti-romcom about an irredeemable sad sack who misses the one who got away. There are times that actor Ryan Eggold's directorial debut has a (500) Days of Summer vibe mixed with the Owen Wilson subplot of Meet the Parents -- except that instead of the seemingly perfect man being the ex, here he's the groom, and the seemingly sensitive beta male is the sad and confused ex. Hansen's Aaron is a bit too bro-ish of a Renaissance man to be believable, but he's still somehow more likable than Adam, who does some awful things that make it pretty clear why he's not the one at the altar. If anything, neither male character is portrayed as good enough for Smulders' Allison, who's positively luminous, as well as intelligent and apparently genuinely interested in Adam's welfare (it's unclear exactly why they broke up 18 months earlier).
Aside from Smulders, the best part of the film is the talented but underused supporting cast. There's John Cho as Adam's best friend, Mark; the always-entertaining Schaal as Adam's socially awkward date; Peter Gallagher as the egotistical star of the nature documentaries Adam films; and Luis Guzmán as a catering employee who tries to dole out sage advice during the reception. Lea Thompson and Dana Delany each pop up in a scene as Adam's and Allison's mothers, and it's a shame they aren't in more of the movie. Even though Literally, Right Before Aaron doesn't quite work, Eggolds deserves props for pulling together a great cast and eliciting decent performances; perhaps his next film will be more cohesive.
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.