A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this indie crime comedy seems aimed at teenage boys (R rating and all). It focuses on a shiftless guy who can't even commit petty crimes successfully but still ends up with a notorious reputation and a large following in his small town. The language is extremely gratuitous given the comparatively tame subject matter. In the last 20 minutes there are two surprisingly violent (although not graphic) scenes. A few sexual comments are made, including an extended conversation about an extramarital affair and a character's illicit porn collection.
What's the story?
A petty criminal with the undeserved rep of a hardened convict, Rugged (Aaron Stanford, best known as X2's Pyro) chokes during jobs and basically meanders around looking for easy money. After teaming up with Lagrand (Paul Schneider), who runs the local storage lot, Rugged tries to prove he's worth hiring as head of security by picking fights with muscular galoots at the local bar. When Rugged is connected to three deaths, a robbery, and an ongoing scam that he did not commit, chooses not to set the record straight.
Is it any good?
Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin both wrote for Seinfeld, so it's particularly baffling that their joint feature debut is underwhelming and only occasionally funny. An indie production that won a competition award at the 2007 SXSW Film festival, LIVE FREE OR DIE starts off slow and doesn't gain momentum for a full 40 minutes. The title -- taken from the New Hampshire state motto -- is an explanation of sorts for what happens to the story's antihero, Rugged.
The one bright spot in an otherwise forgettable flick is Zooey Deschanel, who has been a charming and mostly underutilized talent since Almost Famous. Here she stands out as Lagrand's put-upon sister, Cheryl, who can't figure out why her brother is such a dolt. When she rolls her eyes in frustration at the idiocy surrounding her, viewers know exactly how she feels.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages. What is it saying about reputations? Should you believe everything you hear about people -- whether in real life or in the media? What makes someone "infamous" to begin with? Families can also discuss who this movie is aimed at -- or who they think it's aimed at, based on the content. Do things like strong language and an R rating make a movie more or less appealing for teen audiences? Why?