A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No real positive messages.
Positive Role Models
Characters in their 20s trying to figure out the next phase of their lives.
Violence & Scariness
Punches thrown during a fight in an office, character shown shortly with a bruised face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters shown on the verge of having sex, then shown after sex -- no nudity. Two other characters start passionately kissing in bed. One of the characters talks of how he "nailed" a girl he tricked into thinking he was wealthier than he actually is.
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Regular use of profanity. "F--k," "p---y," "bitch," "pissed off," "damn," "sucks." Talk of "getting faced." Character brags about how he "nailed" a woman. Middle finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
Reference to Dewars and Sam Adams, characters drink Heineken. Scene in a BMW dealership where one of the lead characters purchases a BMW convertible.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the characters uses cocaine. Constant cigarette smoking. Two characters get drunk and then have sex. One of the characters swigs from a bottle of vodka while ripping a hardcover book to shreds.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mixed Signals is a 1997 indie drama about three Gen Xers in their 20s trying to figure out their lives. There's plenty of cigarette smoke to go with the ennui in this oh-so-'90s movie; in addition, one of the characters uses cocaine, and all three get drunk. Characters have sex -- the beginning is shown and the aftermath, no nudity. Frequent profanity, including "f--k" and "p---y," to punctuate the fatalistic irony and despairing sarcasm. Parents who came of age in the 1990s may enjoy the nostalgia this movie inspires, but their older teens might snicker at the fashions and the jaded affectations. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is like some long-lost artifact unearthed to show the young adults of today what so-called "Generation X" was like when they were their age way back in the 1990s. The characters slouch and shrug and slack and scoff at everything around them while saying things like, "I don't know if I'm hungry or bored." Everything is irony and sarcasm and self-absorption, almost to the point of self-parody. The understimulation of the era now seems shocking in this overstimulated age, where it seems like it has been Millennial-everything for centuries.
Sadly, that's where the entertainment value ends in Mixed Signals. The self-parody cuts both ways. With the exception of Brooke Langton's character, no one is especially likeable, and these characters aren't saying anything Ben Stiller, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Linklater hadn't already tried to say. Still, one can't help but see the dated charm in it, like a fully stocked cassette case found in storage or some "alternative" hit from those years playing in the supermarket. Nostalgia is strong in this one: hearkening back to a time more innocent than any of the malcontents of that era could have possibly understood, a time when everything was "whatever" and a shrug instead of "ZOMG" and a dozen emojis.
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.