A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Parents start out behaving badly, but they eventually learn to prioritize their children and get their act together (some do, anyway). Some teens appear derisive of their parents, especially their mother, but they end up appreciating her attempts to better herself and her family.
Positive Role Models
Ann is undoubtedly selfish, but she has tons of spirit. Besides, as one of her son points out, she tries to be a good mother, even if she doesn't always succeed. Ditto for her husband, who's pretty much absent from his children's lives. The siblings have a great relationship; though they're very different in disposition and personality, they stick up and watch out for one another.
Violence & Scariness
A man lunges after a woman, who protects herself and her son by brandishing a fireplace poker. A mother slaps her son. A man pulls a knife on a woman, and her son defends them both by firing a gun.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman is mistakenly arrested for prostitution; a wife catches her husband in bed with another woman (no nudity, though he does walk around in his boxers while he and his spouse bicker). A teenage girl bares her breasts to a boy her age (but they're not shown); he responds in a fairly gentlemanly fashion.
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Swearing includes several uses of "s--t," plus "bitch," "goddamn," "hell," "damn," and one use of "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some social drinking and smoking, accurate for the 1950s setting.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this 1950s-set comedy starring Renee Zellweger is fairly light and frothy in tone, it takes on mature themes like adultery, single parenthood, and divorce's effects on children. In addition to plenty of irresponsible parenting, expect some swearing (including "f--k") and sexuality (including a scene in which a teen girl bares her breasts to a boy, though they're not shown). Still, in the end, the story proves uplifting, even moving, despite some strong life lessons. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Richard Loncraine keeps the pace breezy -- appropriate for a film set in the 1950s -- and the dialogue is equally snappy. But sometimes the gaiety feels forced and the banter theatrical. Though Ann and the boys' lives sometimes feel perilous, even depressing, disbelief is very much suspended. (You know they barely have any money, but somehow they manage to stay clothed, fed, and housed.) Still, the film works as an escape into a world where tragedies can feel like jaunty misadventures.
The real life George Hamilton is known for many things: his campy characters, his numerous cameos, and, of course, his perma-tan. What's not as well known are the details of his colorful childhood, which are chronicled (and somewhat fictionalized) here. As the young George, Lerman is a find. Subtle when necessary, emotional when called for, he's a protagonist to root for. So is Zellweger, who plays Ann with aplomb. The actress manages to be sympathetic while playing someone who, despite loving her children, is very selfish. She and the boys make a tight family unit, with Bacon the outsider they adore but can't quite tame.
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.