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National Lampoon's Pledge This!
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 film treats everyone in it in a derogatory fashion. There's the Indian girl who's nicknamed "Poopoo," the horrendous stereotype of the Mexican rental agent, the drag queen geisha who's the main character's inexplicable sidekick, the promiscuous gay men, and the self-loathing fat girls. Kathy cheats on her husband, who cheated on her, and boys are depicted as mindless horndogs who are incapable of real relationships. The movie's crude sexuality -- stripteases for teachers, sex toys, dog gags, orgies, threesomes in bathroom stalls, etc. -- is particularly offensive because the movie was initially marketed to a younger audience drawn to tabloid queen Paris Hilton.
What's the story?
Victoria English (Paris Hilton) is the self-appointed queen bee of South Beach University and the president of the elite sorority Gamma Gamma. In the hunt to win the coveted title of hottest sorority in the country from FHM magazine, Victoria realizes that she must have some "diversification" in the sorority. In a bid to win the title, Victoria allows a gaggle of outcasts and losers to pledge the sorority. She also makes them eat their food from dog bowls and find 50 used condoms on the grounds of the university. Will it be enough to get her the cover of the magazine? And how long will the girls take the abuse?
Is it any good?
If anyone was wondering whether class divisions are still alive and well, look no further than the very lame NATIONAL LAMPOON'S PLEDGE THIS for definitive proof. This sorry, mean-spirited, predictable sex comedy categorizes every girl as either a nice butt, thin abs, or a disgrace for being fat. It does nothing to help girls like themselves and only promotes Paris Hilton's inexplicable celebrity. Maybe Pledge This! is trying to be a female Revenge of the Nerds, but not only is it not smart enough -- believe it or not -- but it's just plain not funny enough. There's nothing to recommend in this hastily slapped-together, cheaply shot film.
National Lampoon is famous for its frat boy spoofs. Insofar as the film aims to be a satire of the Mean Girls and American Pie genre, it's successful, making explicit the implicit social rules of the teen world. It's not enough that the girls are thin, beautiful, and willing to act slavishly toward Victoria. They also have to be millionaires. Add to that the film's attitude that girls are nothing but "fresh poontang" for college boys, and you have plenty of reasons to keep teens away.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how girls police one another based on money, body size, race, and sexuality. Do these differences tell you anything about who the person is? Have you ever shied away from talking to someone because they were different from you? Have you ever gossiped about a girl because she didn't fit the stereotype of the tall, beautiful, blond, rich girl? Does the movie teach any worthwhile lessons at all (even indirectly) about judging others?
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