A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Old Fashioned is a faith-based romance about a character who, because of his troubled past, wishes to marry -- but he refuses to date, touch, or be in the same room with any woman beforehand. Audiences who buy into the character's beliefs may find it refreshing, but others will likely be baffled. And for all of the main character's purity, the movie does deal with sexual/sex-related themes (unexpected pregnancy, etc.) and has frequent sex talk, including a "shock jock" radio DJ who talks about women and sex. Viewers see images from a Girls Gone Wild-type DVD (i.e. bikini-clad young women flirting/vamping), as well as a stripper at a bachelor party. A bouncer threatens the main character, and a woman tells a story about how an ex-boyfriend broke her wrist. Language isn't an issue, and substance use is limited to adult characters drinking socially in bars.
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What's the story?
Clay (Rik Swartzwelder) was once a partying, womanizing frat-boy, but he now maintains a quiet existence restoring antiques. He has given himself strict rules to live by, such as never being alone in a room with a woman until he's married, and he doesn't believe in dating. Then the lovely, lively Amber (Elizabeth Ann Roberts) arrives in town and rents the room above Clay's shop. She finds herself attracted to him, and, after getting to know him a little, decides to jump into an "old fashioned" courtship, playing by his rules. But the pressures of the real world threaten them at every turn. Will this love story have a happy ending?
Is it any good?
The faith-based OLD FASHIONED has a great deal of trouble turning its not-very-dynamic concept -- not dating -- into a watchable movie. But it also has trouble arguing its own point. Writer/director/star Swartzwelder, who makes his feature debut here after a series of shorts, includes many supporting characters who demonstrate that perfectly "good" people do have normal relationships and don't get married. And "showing respect" for a woman may not necessarily mean not touching her.
It doesn't help that Swartzwelder, with his unkempt mop of surfer hair (and no other acting credits on his resume), makes a rather sullen, selfish leading man. He's forever jumping into irritable defense mode whenever his ideals are questioned. When he's not arguing, the filmmaker pads out the movie's running time with several mopey pop-music montages, showing Clay simply wandering around. Fortunately, the delightful Roberts, a veteran of TV soap operas, brings a much-needed and cheerful presence to the movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Old Fashioned's attitude toward sex. What does the main character believe? What do the rest of the characters believe? What are the points of their arguments? Who do you agree with the most?
Why does the movie include a likable "best friend" character who's living with a woman and is unmarried? How does the movie portray them?
What impact does the "shock jock" have in the story? What role does he play?
For Christian families -- do you prefer movies with a faith-based message to secular movies? How does this one stack up to others? For non-Christian families -- do you have an interest in seeing a movie with overtly Christian themes if it also has good production values and performances?
- In theaters: February 13, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: June 16, 2015
- Cast: Rik Swartzwelder, Elizabeth Ann Roberts, LeJon Woods
- Director: Rik Swartzwelder
- Studio: Freestyle Releasing
- Genre: Romance
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some thematic material
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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