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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Nobody's Fool is an extremely raunchy romcom written and directed by Tyler Perry and starring Tiffany Haddish. It's racier than Girls Trip and possibly more pro-pot than a Seth Rogen movie. Haddish is fully unleashed here: Be ready for a nonstop barrage of explicit language that includes everything from "f--k" to "p---y" to the "N" word. Her character, Tanya, who's just been released from prison, exaggerates every stereotype of a former convict, including threatening to harm anyone who crosses her. And, thanks to a long dry spell while in prison, she's so sexually forward that she's practically a predator, throwing herself at unreceptive men while ignoring their rebuffs and making comments about exchanging sexual favors to get by in life. Conversations get very crass, with sex acts a frequent source of humor. There are three extended sex scenes: Two are comedic, and one is long and sensual, with close-ups but no sensitive body parts shown. Despite the fact that two of the main characters are recovering addicts who attend AA, pot use and wine consumption are depicted as a way of life, and drugs are definitely played for laughs.
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What's the story?
From writer-director Tyler Perry, NOBODY'S FOOL follows buttoned-up career woman Danica (Tika Sumpter), who wants a boyfriend who meets her long list of requirements (a six-figure salary, no substance abuse problems, no jail time, no children, etc.). She believes that she's found him in Charlie, a wonderful man she met online but has actually never met or seen. When Danica's wild younger sister, Tanya (Tiffany Haddish), is released from prison, Danica agrees to let Tanya stay with her until she gets her life together. But when Tanya believes that Charlie is catfishing Danica, she makes it her mission to help her sister get some answers (and revenge).
Is it any good?
The Year of Tiffany Haddish is capped with this outrageous farce, which showcases her off-the-charts comedic confidence and unique ability to make every word hilarious. She plays a woman recently released from prison, and it's easy to see Tanya getting out of jail as a metaphor for the limitations that have been put on Haddish by some scripts and supporting roles. With Nobody's Fool, Perry gives her the material -- and the freedom -- to deliver a no-holds-barred performance, and she embraces it with zeal. (Though it's possible that her co-star from Night School seems to have rubbed off on her: She seems to be channeling Kevin Hart in her delivery and some of her mannerisms.)
Haddish's outlandish behavior is a welcome distraction from the actual plot about Danica's inability to lock down love. The film is like a wet bar of soap on a shower floor: Every time the story takes hold, it slides in another direction. While Danica inevitably falls for a guy who doesn't meet her criteria, she lacks the self-awareness to realize just how awful she is; it's hard not to feel bad for the guy in her happy ending. Female characters treat men like sex objects, but there's never a consequence, so it just feels creepy. Mixed messages include addressing addiction and recovery with warmth and forgiveness but in the same breath encouraging marijuana abuse to the extent it feels like a commercial for cannabis. The moral is about accepting those who've worked to reform their lives, but Tanya violates probation several times by the movie's end. Foolish fun flows in Nobody's Fool, but the point is that nobody's perfect, especially this film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Nobody's Fool depicts substance use/abuse. Two of the characters are in recovery for drug addiction and attend AA, yet pot use is frequent in the film. Is the filmmaker sending a mixed message? Are there realistic consequences for drinking/drug use here?
How does the movie portray meeting people online? What are some real-life concerns about sharing your identity and personal information with someone you've never met in person?
How does the movie portray sex? How do the male characters react to Tanya's aggressive sexual advances? Do you think sexual harassment is treated differently when the perpetrator is a woman and the victim is a man?
Danica is no longer interested in Frank once she learns that he served time in prison and is a recovering addict. Do you think people deserve second chances? Parents, talk to your teens about your views regarding relationship guidelines and boundaries.
What do you think about the two different portrayals of former inmates? Do you think the film is trying to send a message about accepting people who have served their debt to society? How does the film help or hurt that message?
- In theaters: November 2, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: February 12, 2019
- Cast: Tiffany Haddish, Tika Sumpter, Whoopi Goldberg
- Director: Tyler Perry
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content and language throughout, and for drug material
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