A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The movie sends positive messages about respect and relating to others by forcing Janice to reconsider her prejudices and look beyond people's appearances to find something in common with them. Some stereotyping exists -- especially with regard to the drawling Southern contingent -- but it helps to illustrate the characters' growth away from their rigid first impressions.
Positive Role Models
Janice and Aaron start off as rivals, but the evolution of their relationship shows their willingness to be open to new ideas.
Violence & Scariness
Professional wrestling plays a big role in the movie's plot, so many scenes show punching, kicking, choking, and blows to the groin in the ring. Most of the time, it's evident that the exchanges are set up, but a few result in cuts, bruises, and, in one case, a spinal injury.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild sexual banter, some kissing, and the implication of an affair.
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Sporadic instances of "damn," "bitch," "hell," "ass," and "butt," as well as name-calling like "scum bags."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A brief reference to a wrestler's addiction to speed; another sniffs a similar drug before entering the ring. Lots of drinking (wine, beer) within the context of social gatherings.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teens will fall for this sweet romantic comedy that's age appropriate thanks to its fairly tame content and feel-good messages. There are a couple of references to stimulants and speed -- and one scene that shows a character sniffing what's presumed to be the stuff -- so be prepared to talk with kids about it afterward. Language is intermittent ("bitch," "damn," "ass," and the like), and pro wrestlers duke it out in the ring with a few injuries (including a pretty serious spinal jolt), but that's unlikely to faze teens. The take-aways are overwhelmingly positive, putting a romantic spin on the lessons people can learn from reserving judgment and seeing past first impressions.
Is It Any Good?
TO THE MAT is an engaging romantic comedy in the spirit of modern-day faves like You've Got Mail and Sweet Home Alabama. It's hard not to be inspired by a story of opposites attracting and love conquering all, and if you're a sucker for that kind of thing, then you'll love this movie. Schroder and Bundy deliver delightful performances, and the story does a good job of ensuring that all of the characters are deeper than one dimension, so there's a lot of human emotion to explore.
It's not always easy to find a romcom that you can share with your teens worrying about an uncomfortable bedroom scene to ruin the mood, but To the Mat's mostly benign content makes it a great choice for just such a scenario. Teens may be intrigued by the behind-the-scenes look at the world of pro wrestling, which raises some issues about society's impression of entertainment. And don't miss the chance to tie the movie's references to drug use into a discussion about that topic, too.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.