A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sex Ed is a 2014 comedy in which Haley Joel Osment plays a teacher who begins a crusade to educate the detention class he has been assigned about sex, despite being a virgin. From beginning to end, this movie is crass and vulgar. There is frequent profanity, including "f--k." Tweens speak openly about anal sex, nudity on Snapchat, "pulling out," and much more. Though on one level, this is intended to show how much tweens learn about sex from their friends and media, in the overall context of the movie -- where adult characters try to have sex in bagel store bathrooms, have sex involving oil and role-playing in their apartments, and make jokes about acts seen in pornographic movies -- this point is muddled, and it's hard to tell if the tween sex talk is supposed to be part of the joke. Which is unfortunate, because if this movie had taken the frat-boy vulgar humor down several dozen notches, this could have been a great opportunity for parents and tweens to discuss what they've heard, what they know, and what they don't know about sex. But unfortunately, the unrelenting attempts at shock-humor make this one inappropriate for kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Eddie (Haley Joel Osment) is a young out-of-work teacher in Florida. When he manages to land a job teaching a detention class of tweens in a Tampa school, he quickly discovers that his students, though savvy to the way sex is portrayed in media and described by their peers, know nothing about topics such as safe sex, STDs, menstrual cycles, and the changes taking place within their bodies. He decides to turn his class into a class on sex ed, despite the fact that he's a virgin. Along the way, Eddie falls for the older sister of one of his students and provokes the anger of a reverend whose son is in his class. Eddie must find a way to show that the sex education he's providing is necessary and important for his students while trying to fix his nonexistent love life.
Is it any good?
Had the filmmakers taken the vulgarity down several dozen notches, SEX ED could have been a worthwhile comedy. It offers a very timely message about the necessity of teaching kids "the facts of life" in a thoughtful and responsible manner. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and the result is a muddled mess of unfunny, crass jokes, gratuitous profanity, and unrelenting attempts to shock. It's difficult -- if not impossible -- to present a message that tweens should learn about condoms, STDs, and the uterus from school when the teacher of the class is shown getting arrested for picking up a prostitute, who, for the sake of "comedy," is actually a man in a skirt with a noticeable erection.
The film is self-indulgent with desperate attempts at comedy for the sake of getting laughs at any given opportunity, be it a tween rapping about how his teacher is a homosexual, or how this teacher's friends make references to giving off a "rapey vibe," or this same teacher vomiting into the cleavage of the mother of his love interest after he drinks too much rum and eats a fish eye on a dare. Given the subject matter, this movie should have been so much better than it actually is.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the media's portrayal of sex. How is sex used to sell products, to market entertainment, and to try to keep people interested in a story?
How does the movie attempt to use vulgarity for the sake of humor? What are some similar movies that take this approach to comedy?
How does this movie show the pro and con arguments people make regarding sex education in the classroom?
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