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 Italian Job is a 2003 action movie in which Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron plot a gold heist against a former ally who betrayed them. Characters are shot and killed with machine guns, and there are frequent gun battles, boat chases, and car chases -- including chases that go through sidewalks and put the lives of pedestrians in danger. There are frequent references to one of the character's skill in seducing women and an off-color joke in reference to a woman's breasts. There is some profanity, including use of "f--k" and the middle-finger gesture. Characters drink wine and smoke cigars and cigarettes. The movie has potentially confusing messages about lying and stealing; some kids will be confused that the "good guys" are thieves.
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What's the story?
THE ITALIAN JOB begins with the theft of $35 million in gold bars. Then, a second theft occurs as one member of the team double-crosses the others and, thinking he has killed them all, takes the gold for himself. Now, the rest of the team tries to get the gold back. The team is led by Charlie (Mark Wahlberg) and includes genius tech whiz Lyle (Seth Green), genius demolition whiz Left Ear (Mos Def), genius getaway driver Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), and genius safecracker Stella (Charlize Theron), who is also the daughter of Charlie's great mentor and genius safecracker John (Donald Sutherland). They want to get the gold back from colleague-turned-enemy Steve (Edward Norton), who killed John. Stella just wants revenge. And if a little romance enters into the picture, no one should be too surprised.
Is it any good?
Charlie keeps telling Steve that he has no imagination, an unfortunate reminder that the movie, a remake of a Michael Caine caper film, doesn't have much, either. But it has enough panache and charm to make it an enjoyable genre film. Def, Green, Statham, and Sutherland deliver their usual top-notch performances, even when the script gets formulaic. Norton, who reportedly was not happy about being contractually obligated to do the film, at least acts as if he was not happy about being contractually obligated to do the film.
The film's biggest waste of time is a running Napster joke that is years out of date and tired the first time it's used, excruciating by the tenth. Apparently, they were stuck with it because of the appearance in the film of real-life Napster creator Shawn Fanning, a joke maybe 1 percent of the audience will get and one-tenth of 1 percent will care about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why we are able to identify with characters in a movie that in real life we probably would not want to cheer for. Why are these people thieves? Will they stop?
How do action movies exaggerate things like car chase scenes, in terms of music, camera shots, stunts, and editing?
How is violence shown? Did it seem necessary to the overall story, or was it put in simply to make the movie more interesting?
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