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The Longest Week
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 Longest Week is a highly stylized romcom that centers on a grown man (Jason Bateman) who's always relied on the largess of his very wealthy parents but must suddenly make his own way after he's thrown out of his posh home. Strong language includes plenty of uses of "a--hole" and "s--t"; there's also some cigarette smoking (a character's family makes them), passionate kissing between couples, a couple bathing together, some scantily clad women, and a scene in which a truck hits a motorcycle. Positive messages and role models are pretty much nonexistent, and the film's clever, studied tone isn't likely to engage younger viewers.
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What's the story?
Conrad Valmont (Jason Bateman) is a man-child who's utterly and completely reliant on the generosity (coddling?) of his rich parents, who pay for everything he needs and wants. But when his parents' marriage begins to fray, Conrad becomes a casualty, forced to pay his own way -- which he can't. That's when he meets Beatrice (Olivia Wilde), a woman that Conrad's best friend, Dylan (Billy Crudup), himself fancies ... not that his friends feelings are likely to get in Conrad's way.
Is it any good?
You're forgiven if you find yourself wondering whether you've seen this movie before. It starts out sounding like a Woody Allen movie (cemented when the "analyst" weighs in on his patient's dilemma and brassy jazz music arrives as a backdrop); morphs into a quirky Wes Anderson work (complete with static, centered frames; retro aesthetic; and quirky, explanatory voiceovers); and channels a tiny slice of the movie Arthur, heir-to-fortune-kicked-to-the-curb plot and all. Midway, it turns into a Claude Lelouch film.
All this to say that THE LONGEST WEEK is promising, with momentary flashes of bracing vision but ultimately tedious. It simply tries too hard. This despite a cast that includes not just the reliably appealing Bateman but also the talented but underused Crudup. (He's so good that he makes everyone else look bad.) Wilde is beguiling but in a transitory way, which doesn't really serve her character. And Jenny Slate feels like she belongs in another movie entirely. Trim the music, voiceover, and everything else that makes this film so overdone, and The Longest Week could have proved faster, smarter, and more compelling.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Longest Week compares to other romcoms. Is it really a romantic comedy? If not, what would you call it?
Are any of the characters intended to be role models? How can you tell? Why can't Conrad support himself? What's the movie's take on his family's wealth?
How are cigarettes portrayed in the movie?