A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Clapper is a romantic comedy starring Ed Helms about quirky people who work in the lower depths of Hollywood; the main character is a professional audience member on TV shows that sell dubious goods and services. Language is the biggest issue; there are several uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t," "a--hole," and more. There are also verbal sexual references ("doggy style," "masturbating," etc.), kissing, and flirting. A man accidentally hammers a nail through his hand, with some blood shown; otherwise, violence is limited to arguing, yelling, ranting, and a few threats. There are mentions of a man's wife dying and of a stalker. Name brands are shown and/or mentioned pretty regularly, including Coca-Cola, Google, Samsung, and Chuck E. Cheese.
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What's the story?
In THE CLAPPER, Eddie Krumble (Ed Helms) and his best friend, Chris (Tracy Morgan), work as professional audience members in Hollywood. Together -- while wearing a range of disguises so that they won't get recognized -- they cheer for dubious products and services on sleazy daytime infomercial shows. Eddie buys a few dollars of gas every day as an excuse to visit with pretty clerk Judy (Amanda Seyfried). One day, talk show host Jayme Stillerman (Russell Peters) identifies Eddie -- despite his various costumes -- and broadcasts his face on TV, so Eddie loses his job. But he also becomes a kind of mini-celebrity; that, plus a misunderstanding, leads to him losing track of Judy. He doesn't know her last name, her phone number, or where she lives. So Eddie reluctantly agrees to go on Stillerman's show to try to find her and win her back, although this decision is fraught with its own new kinds of peril.
Is it any good?
Though it's not exactly brilliant, this indie romcom is passably charming, and it finds offbeat atmosphere in an uncharted corner of Hollywood: scuzzy places where the glamorous would fear to tread. Writer/director Dito Montiel usually makes clumsily heavy-handed dramas, so it's a surprise to see him managing a comedy like The Clapper (based on his own 2007 novel Eddie Krumble Is the Clapper). He doesn't dig very deep into this world of "clapping," but for those who didn't even know it existed, it's at least a novelty.
Montiel also doesn't pry very deep into his characters. Eddie is such an oddball that it's hard to believe Judy could fall for him. But the two actors bring such a warm charm to their roles that they pull it off. Morgan is also more than a little wonderful as the slightly dim Chris, who stands by Eddie through thick and thin. The movie is fairly wise about the world of marginal celebrity, and the whole thing is somewhat plausible. But the best thing in The Clapper is its world, a weird underbelly of Hollywood consisting of cheap TV studios, gas stations, fast-food joints ("nobody sits inside"), and street-corner superheroes; it's hard to look away.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Clapper's violence. Did any moments or scenes make you feel tense? Why? Were they verbal or physical? Were they funny?
Is Jayme Stillerman a bully? How does he treat Eddie? How does Eddie handle him?
How is the movie's central romantic relationship handled? Is it respectful? Plausible? Does sex enter into it?
The movie has references to being a stalker. What does that mean? How is it defined?
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