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Parents' Guide to


By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Dark comedy about religion has cursing, sex, drinking.

Movie PG-13 2004 92 minutes
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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 13+

No positive message?

I’m confused...I’ve watched this movie several times, and while there is a lot you can say about it, I’m really surprised and disappointed that CSM says there is no positive message. Throughout the movie, viewers are reminded that God is not a weapon, the Bible is not a weapon. In one of the climactic scenes, a main character asks why God would make us so different if He wanted us all to be the same? I feel that message of acceptance is incredibly positive and one that I encourage and nourish I my own children. To each their own, but I believe this movie has many positive messages including those of acceptance, recognizing that all life has value, and that we have the capacity to change and grow.

This title has:

Great messages
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+

Good irreverent place to start discussion

An endearing reminder of what faith can be at its best and worst, that we are all sinners struggling to find our way, and celebrating the value of caring love for our family and friends. Not appropriate for the highly conservative set, frankly many of whom will be offended more by their unsettling sense of conviction upon witnessing the worst of sanctimonious evangelicalism than by some things they may feel are morally objectionable. A wonderful ice-breaking hilarious intro to allow open discussion about the intersection of faith, religion, sex, purity, and friendship all in the context of adolescence and with a slightly cynical eye.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8 ):
Kids say (18 ):

The first thing teens figure out is that it's enticingly easy to make fun of believers in any category; what's nice about this movie is that it does so while still being entirely respectful of belief. It begins as a satire of new-agey holier-than-thou people who spend more time worrying about the appearance of Christianity than the values. But it concludes with a renewed commitment to a faith that engages the mind and heart. You could even call it grace.

The script teeters into predictability at times, but the outstanding young cast is wonderfully vibrant, especially Amurri, whose freshness -- in both senses of the word -- works very well for her character. As the school's pastor, Martin Donovan makes it clear that his character is genuinely a man of faith who isn't quite sure if he has what it takes to inspire others to share what he feels so strongly in his heart. Hillary Faye uses her faith to establish her power and prestige. She, too, has a secret that fuels her need to control the way she's perceived. The movie isn't afraid to skewer its targets, but, importantly, it's careful to make those targets hypocrisy and arrogance and not faith. Indeed, the movie makes it clear that superficial professions of faith are a distraction from genuine commitment to the values that are the basic principles of Christianity or any religion.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: May 28, 2004
  • On DVD or streaming: October 5, 2004
  • Cast: Jena Malone , Macaulay Culkin , Mandy Moore
  • Director: Brian Dannelly
  • Inclusion Information: Pansexual actors, Female actors
  • Studio: MGM/UA
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 92 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: strong thematic issues involving - sexual content, pregnancy, smoking and language
  • Last updated: June 19, 2023

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