A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Good points about plus-size women supporting each and themselves; not so good points about competition between plus-size and thin women; and men still get to chose their partners even as women argue.
Violence & Scariness
Jazmin punches skinny girl (as a child, in flashback) and a man who calls her a "fat bitch" Jazmin pulls toupee off banker who won't give her a loan (guards drag her out yelling and kicking); Jazmin throws clothes and objects out her bedroom window, hitting Mia on sidewalk below.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of sexual imagery: Opening dream scene has Jazmin pleasured by male servants; repeated cleavage, thongs, bikinis, underwear or short shorts images; bare-torsoed men ogled by women; Stacey has sex with Akibo against wall, in tub (naked bodies in suds); Mia asks, "What's gotten into Stacey?" Answer: "Dr. Akibo" Jazmin stands naked before her mirror (we see shoulders up and Mia's averted eyes); Jazmin and Tunde kiss passionately; Jazmin and Tunde have sex under covers, then she turns on the light to "see" him. Many sexual language/references.
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"Dozens" competition between Jazmin and burger clerk ("You so ugly..." and "You so fat" jokes involving mamas, morning sickness, "giving head," "butt-cracks"); Jazmin's frequent use of "bitch" elicits Tunde's remonstration; s-word, one f-word, one "motherf--er" in subtitle; frequent uses of "ass," "damn," "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Fictional fast-food joint: "Fatasssburger."
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking in bars and clubs; Jazmin drinks shots; Mia is visibly drunk as she orders a Cosmopolitan; women celebrate with champagne.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film includes sexual imagery ("comic" sex scenes, against a wall, passionate-awkward kissing, in a suds-filled tub) and language (slang for genitals and sexual activity). The film also includes language that pushes the PG-13 edge, including one f-word and especially, repetition of the word "bitch" (which Jazmin uses in reference to herself as well as the "skinny bitches" she hates). Some antic violence (as when Jazmin hits a girl and a man who call her "fat," or drops objects from her apartment window and hits her cousin on the sidewalk). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Mo'Nique stands up for plus-size women's rights to happiness and decent wardrobes, but Nnegest Likké's movie frames her with a set of broadly comic stereotypes that are less than empowering. The film's logic -- that inverting the hierarchy of beauty, from thin to large, amounts to retribution and redemption -- is troubling. Though Jazmin eventually makes up with Mia, the film never lets her off the hook, making her incessantly silly and vain. The other part of this logic, that men's desire determines women's worthiness, is certainly not unique to Phat Girlz.
To be fair, the movie does allow Jazmin another measure, when her designs do become successful, but the man-thing remains crucial for her self-worth. The film goes on too long, with too many possible endings (the first would be best). While it does make admirable claims for women resisting the judgments of others, it also makes fun of women. As much as it might have offered alternative imagery, the movie falls back on very familiar imagery. Mo'Nique can be unfamiliar, unsettling, and provocative, but she can also be exactly what you expect. Let's hope she finds a vehicle that allows more surprises.
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Our Editors Recommend
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