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The Competition

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Competition Movie Poster Image
Predictable romcom has lots of drinking, some stereotypes.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 103 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Everyone has the potential to be a good person or a bad person. Doing something bad and getting away with it is still bad; not getting caught doesn't mean it's OK. Love walks in the door as soon as you relax and open yourself to life's possibilities.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stereotypes, jokes about stereotypes including Asians, gym trainers, strippers. Men ogle beautiful women who use their sexuality, attractiveness to manipulate others. Main characters are all manipulative in some way. One woman is a boss and strong authority figure but uses coercion to get what she thinks is best. Calvin at first deceives Lauren to advance his career but quickly calls off the agreement, though he never tells Lauren the whole truth. He's also a loyal, supportive friend and responsible, all-around good guy. Lauren is a scientist, but we never see her working. She's also an influential blogger who wants to use her scientific formulas to help people. Falling in love gives her courage to follow her heart, start helping people in a more positive way.

Violence

A man punches another in the face. A character tells a story about a woman who beat her boyfriend up when he was discovered being unfaithful.

Sex

The main plot involves marital and relationship cheating, and predicting likelihood that someone will cheat. A few brief kisses; one more extended as the couple stretch out on the floor. Sex is implied when next scene shows them waking up in bed together in underwear. No sensitive body parts shown. Strippers dance, give lap dances in revealing clothes. A man dances with a blow-up sex doll; another later caresses the breast of the doll. A man's pants are pulled down, a shot glass placed in the waist of his underwear. A woman says she's going to clean up the spilled shot with her tongue, implying oral sex is about to happen (it doesn't). A woman in tight, revealing clothing doing yard work moves sexily, seems to enjoy attention of men ogling her. Some graphic talk about childbirth with emphasis on stretched-out vaginas and "boobs" that become very long.

Language

"Ass," "damn," "douche," "slut," "balls," "hell," middle-finger gesture, "boning." Some bodily function humor about lactation and childbirth, overusing "vagina" and "boobs" for comedic effect.

Consumerism

An extended scene features a Ferrari prominently, although the logo is only briefly and partly shown. Mention of using Uber. Voodoo doughnuts box and products shown briefly.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many, many scenes show adults in their 30s or older drinking in bars, restaurants, relaxing after meals. There's also a fair amount of drinking during the day, including once in an office during working hours. Excess is shown twice, at a bachelor party and during an emotional crisis. No consequences are shown, but one character mentions using a ride-sharing service when he's noticeably drunk. A woman with an unlit cigarette asks for a light from a nonsmoker.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Competition is a romantic comedy with a lot of familiar tropes and some stereotypes. If only the woman would stop listening to her head and follow her heart, finding the courage to accept the love that Mr. Right has been offering all along, then she'd live happily ever after. Besides that overall stereotype, some minor characters are stereotypes, like the gym trainer and the "Latin lover." Others joke about Asian stereotypes with a friend whose parents are Korean. There's lots and lots of drinking by adults in their 30s, often in the daytime, although excess and drunken behavior are only shown twice. Strong language includes "ass," "damn," "hell," and "slut." Some bodily function humor is included, about lactation and childbirth. Sex is implied once when characters wake up in bed the morning after, and oral sex is implied once by a stripper at a bachelor party. No sensitive body parts are shown. A man dances with a blow-up sex doll; another man later caresses the doll's breast. The main story involves a contest to see if science can predict whether people will cheat on their spouse or significant other. Violence includes one punch in the mouth. 

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What's the story?

THE COMPETITION puts Lauren's (Thora Birch) scientific formula that predicts infidelity up against Calvin's (Chris Klein) faith that not everyone will cheat, even if they know they'll get away with it. So Lauren and Calvin set up a series of tests to put temptation in the path of five of Calvin's friends, without the friends knowing, of course. If Calvin wins, Lauren will have to shut down her blog and say good-bye to a lucrative book deal she's just about to sign. But if Lauren wins, Calvin will have to publicly acknowledge the accuracy of Lauren's formula, the blog stays up and running, and the book deal goes through. As they work on the competition and spend more time together, they start falling for each other, for real. Is there any hope of a win-win ending?

Is it any good?

This lackluster and predictable romcom falls short just about anywhere you look. The premise and plot of The Competition are paper thin. There's no spark of believable chemistry between the leads. Every character is a type, if not a stereotype. There are no surprises. There's no charm. There are plenty of clichés. The characters are all in their 30s, and although they grapple with things teens are interested in, like long-term relationships and being faithful, neither of these are dealt with in any meaningful way. Content-wise it's fine for teens and up, but with so many better choices out there for a romantic comedy with style, charm, and heart, give this one a pass.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the drinking in The Competition. Is it glamorized? Does it seem realistic? What consequences are shown and not shown?

  • Why are romantic comedies so popular? What do we love about them? What are some of your favorites, and how does this one compare?

  • Did you notice any stereotypes in the characters or their behavior? Is it OK to joke about stereotypes? Are any of them true, and does that matter?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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