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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
As part of the "opposites attract" formula here, Gib is an irresponsible, hedonistic type and heavy drinker whose ideal of romance is one of unattached, casual sex; meanwhile conservative Alison is haughty and repressed. During the course of the narrative, however, they appreciate each others' differences, to the point that when Gib gets his chance at a "sure thing," he misses Alison instead -- just as she pines for Gib over her stilted and boring boyfriend. Both these young people change for the better and learn mutual respect -- with the questionable proposition that heavy drinking and reckless, rowdy behavior are shown as "growth." Parents as role models and influences are invisible.
Violence & Scariness
A passing threat of hitchhiker molestation-rape that doesn't materialize.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A bare-butt shot of an anonymous male character "mooning" the heroes. Alison responds by taking her top off, but nothing is shown. Much footage of the dream-girl blonde in a revealing string bikini or other skimpy ensembles. There is the sound of two teen characters making loud love and a brief glimpse of them contorted under bedsheets in an unlikely and kinky position. Much talk about sex (in general, non-clinical terms), and a reference to the notorious "letters" column of a popular pornographic magazine. A few homosexual jokes.
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"Shit," "bastard," frequent use of "t-ts."
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Products & Purchases
No brand names mentioned, but virtues of beer and junk-food eating are extolled.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beer and bourbon drinking in profuse amounts, references to marijuana. These are made into positive, empowering indulgences (especially campus beer-binging), and people who abstain from them look drab and colorless.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is profanity and sex talk in a script that centers on a teenage college freshman's quest for no-strings-attached sex with a fantasy-figure beach girl. Even though our hero finally reconsiders his priorities, his hang-loose lifestyle and heavy drinking are made to look admirable -- and characters who disdain his wild ways seem cartoonishly stiff and dull. College comes across as a hotbed of sexual experimentation,, and, consequently, co-eds not enjoying regular sex must have something seriously wrong with them. Binge-drinking, "mooning," and "flashing" are portrayed as high-spirited fun. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
THE SURE THING premiered during an epidemic of crude teen-sex comedies inspired by Porky's but was embraced by critics as an uncommonly well-written and perceptive romantic comedy. Rising above the basic premise about a hormonal teen male's quest for easy sex, this had smart dialogue and multi-dimensional main characters, better-drawn than many bedroom farces centered on "grownup" relationships. Wonderfully played by Cusack, Gib may be a hedonistic type who believes in living for the moment, but he comes to value the straitlaced Alison, more so than his "sure thing" date (Nicolette Sheridan's character isn't even given a name). This is a rare movie of its type in that you sense that actual studying happens at a university, not just sleeping around and intrigue. Still, parents should be aware of the overarching themes of pre-marital sexual dalliances as an unquestioned rite of passage.
To appreciate The Sure Thing all the more, compare-contrast with the later Sex Drive, which used a near-identical road-trip concept mainly for R-rated bad-taste gags and body-function humiliation.
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Our Editors Recommend
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