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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
All possibilities start from choice. Let life happen; "follow the flow." It's essential to deal with the past in order to move forward into the future. "Binging is not a food problem; it's a feelings problem." Eating disorders are addressed in a well-intentioned but comic manner.
Positive Role Models
Female lead is efficient, imaginative, loyal, compassionate, and honest; however, she must learn to face her fears, her unresolved feelings, and assert herself. Gay businessman is treated with respect; he's smart, capable, but the character relies on cliched behavior. Stereotypes of successful male professional and ditzy young woman. Ethnic diversity.
Violence & Scariness
A fantasy punch in the face. Mention of death in an airplane accident.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Man and woman kiss, embrace, then wake up in bedroom. Making a clay penis is the focus of one scene. Some brief conversation about sex (i.e., "sex is great," "getting my period").
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"Ass," "bitch," "s--t," "dammit," "go pee."
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Products & Purchases
Costco, Twizzlers are mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol is consumed (no drunkenness); reference to a parent's alcoholism.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Surprise Me! is a romantic comedy about a successful party planner who's an expert at throwing surprising events. Based on the novel by Nancy Goodman, who is the film's writer-director, the movie gets much of its humor from those parties and from some comical parodies (i.e., a gay business partner and an unconventional therapist). On the other hand, the romance has some serious issues at its heart (i.e., coming to terms with old wounds, eating disorders, and the lingering effects of a parent's death). Viewers can expect a little swearing ("ass," "dammit," and "s--t"). A couple kiss, embrace, and wake up in the same bedroom the next morning. Additionally, there are a few sexual references ("sex is great") and a conversation takes place as a woman proudly makes a large penis out of clay. In a brief fantasy moment, a woman punches a man in the face. Alcohol is served at parties, and a character talks about his mother's alcoholism. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's hard to fully engage with a film, especially a romantic comedy, when moments in the key relationship either fall flat or happen off-camera; unfortunately, this movie is guilty of both. It doesn't help matters that Surprise Me!'s major twist won't be a surprise for most savvy romcom viewers. Performances are mostly fine -- Nicole Sullivan as a mind-bending therapist is particularly delightful. The actual surprise events the company comes up with are inventive and fun. But while it's light, semi-entertaining, and nice to look at, the on-the-nose characters, routine relationship-building montage, and the fact that scenes like the crucial breakup didn't make the cut, make it less successful than it might have been.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.