Parents' Guide to

Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Drug use and cliches mar unoriginal indie dramedy.

Movie R 2012 96 minutes
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PEACE, LOVE, AND MISUNDERSTANDING is all about culture clash, and it wastes little time trying to create a realistic reason to throw together the stiff lawyer and the flower-child grandma. There's not much more to it. Keener's Grace is underwritten, and it's never really explained why she's so uptight, while Fonda takes over every scene using every possible hippie stereotype. She protests, drives a VW Bug, practices free love, howls at the full moon (for real), and smokes pot. Lots of pot. How can they possibly find common ground?

In movies like this, it's traditional for both sides to give a little. But although Diane learns to let loose (a bit), Grace doesn't temper her behavior, even when her choices have some unsurprising blowback. In a subplot, Zoe, a strident vegan, is attracted to the local butcher (Chace Crawford) but can't get over the fact that he cuts up animal flesh for a living. She, like her mother, learns to be more accepting and becomes a better person for it. But the obvious moral -- and the cliches that make it so predictable -- make for a weak film in which a valuable lesson is reduced to convention.

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