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 flawed indie comedy exposes all of the petty arguments within a deeply dysfunctional family. There’s plenty of swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," and more), and lots of intense, uncomfortable arguments. Some of the characters drink, and several others make it clear that they really need a drink or three. There’s one sex sequence (though no nudity), a few sexual references, and a scene that takes place an adult film store, with plenty of sexual devices glimpsed in the background. Most of the characters are petty and one-dimensional, and there are no worthwhile take-aways in the end.
What's the story?
It’s his father’s 70th birthday, and Nate Meyerwitz (Ben Schwartz) has just written a successful novel that trades on the quirks and struggles of his real-life siblings: ultra-responsible Jack (Michael C. Hall), tightly wound and perpetually wounded Cheri (Sarah Silverman), and always-struggling Joel (Rainn Wilson). All of them are flawed in their own idiosyncratic ways, and all of them have serious issues with their domineering father, Henry (Ron Rifkin). It’s certainly a recipe for a contentious family dinner.
Is it any good?
PEEP WORLD is a good example of how a great storytelling device sometimes just isn’t enough. The novel at the center of the plot is meant to be a time bomb, yet when that bomb explodes (metaphorically speaking) we don’t really feel it. The movie is inert nearly the entire way through, despite a cast stocked with both talented and wickedly funny (or both) actors -- including the Emmy Award-winning Hall, the always funny Wilson, and the bombastic Silverman.
Even Henry’s birthday dinner feels curiously unexciting, even though it’s meant to be where everything comes to a head. It just goes to show: Despite the technology and hyper-awareness about the art and business of film, movie-making still involves alchemy. When it works, it’s genius. When it doesn’t, it’s Peep World.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie portrays the main family. Why is everyone so angry? Do you think this seems like a realistic family conflict? How does your family handle disagreements?
How does the movie depict parents? Is Henry a good father? Would you consider anyone in the movie a positive role model?
Who do you think this movie is intended to appeal to? How can you tell?