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Parents' Guide to

Mixed Signals

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

'90s coming-of-age drama has smoking, drinking, cursing.

Movie NR 1997 83 minutes
Mixed Signals Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

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