A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this mature romantic comedy is made up almost entirely of explicit conversations about sex and relationships. There are detailed analyses of sex acts, love-gone-wrong tales, and general complaints about couplehood. Women are referred to as "hos," men are sized up by their genitalia, and seductions are attempted. Though it aspires to confront stereotypes of men and women, the film winds up cementing them, which may be troubling even for older teens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Tom Riley (Cuba Gooding Jr.) stops off at a bar for "liquid courage" to fuel his Valentine's Day mission -- proposing to his girlfriend, Sara (Victoria Pratt). He needs it: When he gets home, he finds two packed suitcases, an empty closet, and a "Dear Tom" letter from Sara. Later, a phone call reveals that she'll be back to pick up the last of her things. When Tom's friends show up, they're met not with a jubilant, soon-to-be-married pal, but a defeated man awaiting his soon-to-be ex's return. And when a group of women arrive at Tom's house unannounced, complications ensue. Will they all pair up? Will Sara take Tom back? Does he want her back?
Is it any good?
This romantic comedy isn't funny, or romantic. It fails to deliver on its premise -- it's supposed to be an exploration of the differences and, more important, the similarities between men and women. Tom and Sara aren't seen together until the end of the movie, so it's hard to care that they're breaking up. The cast lacks chemistry. Certain events are explained, not seen, as nearly everything unfolds at Tom's apartment.
Everyone talks too much and too fast. The dialogue sounds so scripted and unnatural that it feels more like a play. There's also plenty over-the-top performances. Matthew Lillard's Sal -- Tom's cynical friend who's down on love -- is a low-rent Vince Vaughn. Andrew Daly's Wayne, the posse's token gay guy, is a reprehensible caricature. The female characters are mere foils, one-dimensional counterparts to the (relatively) two-dimensional men. Only Gina Gershon as tough-cookie Rachel has substance, though not much. And Gooding, whose gift lies in his boundless charisma and likeability, is unconvincing. His role is too reined-in, his talent tamed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how men and women are portrayed in this movie. What gender stereotypes does it reinforce? Does it undermine any? Are men and women really as different as the characters say they are? Or are they much more similar than they appear? If so, how? Can you think of any movies that have portrayed men, women, and relationships more accurately? You can also talk about what happens when a couple breaks up. Do men and women handle it differently? How? And what roles do friends play when a couple separates?
- In theaters: March 23, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: March 31, 2008
- Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Gina Gershon, Matthew Lillard
- Director: Mars Callahan
- Studio: Big Sky Motion Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive language including graphic sexual dialogue, and some erotic dancing.
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