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"BEST LAID PLANS"
(1999) (Alessandro Nivola, Reese Witherspoon) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Extreme Mild None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Mild None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Mild Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A down on his luck young man, who's in deep trouble with some thugs, hopes that an elaborate plan involving his new girlfriend and an old college buddy will solve his problem.
PLOT:
Nick (ALESSANDRO NIVOLA) is a down-on-his-luck young man whose dreams of leaving his recycling center job have been dashed when the inheritance from his father gets depleted down to nothing. While things look up when he meets Lissa (REESE WITHERSPOON), a pretty girl who works at the local veterinarian's office, Nick digs himself a deep hole when he agrees to be a driver for some nighttime criminal activity with his coworker, Barry (JAMIE MARSH).

Although the police don't get involved, Nick suddenly finds himself owing fifteen thousand dollars to a thug with only a few days to raise the money. Combined, he and Lissa figure they have around five of that, so the two set up a desperate plan that involves Bryce (JOSH BROLIN), an old college buddy of Nick's, the wealthy estate he's house-sitting for, and a lot of deception.

As the clock ticks down toward the thug's financial deadline, Nick and Lissa set into motion their elaborate plan that, as expected, doesn't go as smoothly as they wanted and begins to spiral out of control.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Reese Witherspoon ("Pleasantville," "Election") may draw some teens, but it's unlikely this film will be on most kids "must see" lists.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ALESSANDRO NIVOLA plays a young man who's grown tired of his low income life and thus accepts a small part in some criminal activity. When that gets him in deep trouble with a thug, he tries to engineer a plan to raise some money, illegally, in a hurry. Along the way he cusses and has sex with Lissa.
  • REESE WITHERSPOON plays his new girlfriend who agrees to a plan that involves her sleeping with Bryce and then falsely accusing him of raping her. She not only does sleep with him and with Nick, but also uses strong profanity.
  • JOSH BROLIN plays a young man who's eager plan to become a teacher seems in trouble when he finds himself accused of raping a woman with whom he just had sex while intoxicated. Panicked, he abducts that young woman and also cusses a lot.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated thriller. Profanity is extreme with more than 60 "f" words being used, along with plenty of other profanities and colorful phrases. Several sexual encounters are briefly seen (with some movement and related sounds), but there's no nudity. Some sexually related comments are also made.

    The various schemes to perform criminal acts, including blackmail or otherwise coercing people, all show extreme cases of bad attitudes. Some violence is also present, but much of it is later revealed to be fake, although a few moments are real and have slightly bloody results.

    Some drinking occurs (with one character being drunk), and one scene depicting what appears to be a character snorting cocaine is later revealed to be fake. A few characters also smoke several times.

    Beyond all of that and some material related to a character reacting to his father's recent death and the accidental running over of a cat (not seen), the rest of the film's categories are mostly void of any major objectionable content. As always, however, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at the listed and detailed content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People have drinks in a bar including Nick and Bryce (who are drinking Seven and Seven).
  • Bryce offers Nick a beer and both then drink.
  • Bryce admits to being rather drunk when he had sex with a woman.
  • We see Barry snorting what's presumably cocaine, but we later learn that it wasn't a drug.
  • We see a large bar in the house that Bryce is house sitting.
  • Nick has a beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Lissa has some bruises on her face and a slightly bloody lip.
  • We see a black and white photo of a murder victim with a pool of blood around his head.
  • We hear Bryce vomiting in a toilet.
  • Nick has some blood on his face after being punched and later has a black eye.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • All of those involved in various extortion schemes or criminal behavior have extreme cases of both.
  • Nick lies to Lissa about what he'll be doing one night (being the driver in exchange for pay involving some criminal activity).
  • After having sex with Lissa and she then accuses him of rape, Bryce abducts her (gagged and handcuffed to a basement pool table), and then reluctantly agrees that killing her is the best solution (to prevent her from ruining his life).
  • Bryce comments to Nick (about the latter's car -- an old Charger), "You don't see a lot of white people driving these."
  • A pawnshop worker agrees to fence some stolen property for a cut of the action.
  • Some thugs carjack Nick's car.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" as well as moments where Nick's plan appears to be in trouble may be suspenseful or tense to some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Shut the f*ck up," "F*ck ups," "Laid" and "Screwed" (sexual), "Sucks," "Chick," "Screwed up," "Bastard," "Bitch" and "Screw" (nonsexual).
  • Despite the various bad plans going awry, some teens may get the idea to try to set up others in a similar fashion to get money out of them.
  • In the opening credits and later during the film, we see a cigarette being dropped to the street that then causes a major brush fire.
  • We see that Lissa has several fake I.D.s.
  • Some thugs carjack Nick's car.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Some ominous and slightly suspenseful music plays in several scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 63 "f" words (5 used sexually, as are the words "laid" (2) and "screwed" (1), with 4 more being used with "mother"), 26 "s" words, 2 slang terms using male genitals ("c*cks*cker"), 7 asses (2 used with "hole"), 6 hells, 2 S.O.B.s, 1 crap, and 7 uses of "Jesus," 4 of "God," 3 of "G-damn," and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "Swear to God," "Jesus Christ," "Oh God," "Oh my God" and "Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Bryce comments to Nick about reading about wife swapping in the past where at parties wives would blindly pick a set of car keys from a bunch to see whose husband they'd sleep with. He then adds that their fathers might not be who they think they are. He then refers to this as "Buddies f*cking each others wives."
  • We hear some sexual sounds and see just a brief and only partial glimpse of people having sex with movement (we see a man's hand holding a woman's arm and just part of their bodies, but no nudity). We later see most of that same shot again later in the film.
  • Bryce tells Nick "I got laid tonight." Recounting what led up to that (where he was drunk) he says it happened so fast that he blinked and they were naked and then "we did it."
  • Thinking he's committed statutory rape, Bryce says, "My friends get laid, but I got f*cked."
  • Lissa shows a little bit of cleavage.
  • Lissa and Nick enter his place passionately kissing. We then hear some sexual sounds and then see her on top of his lap in bed (with him sitting up) with some movement in the shadows, but no apparent nudity.
  • Bryce shows Nick what he calls the "cabinet of whimsy," a secret bathroom closet filled with porno mags (we briefly see the covers with women on them, but don't see any nudity).
  • After Nick tells Lissa his plan (for her to sleep with Bryce and then claim rape), she says, "You f*ck him, Nick."
  • Lissa pulls out what look like a packet of condoms from Nick's medicine cabinet.
  • Bryce makes another comment about getting "laid."
  • Bryce tells a joke about a mouse "giving the business" to an elephant (sex or as Bryce puts it, he'll "f*ck you in the ass") after pulling a thorn from its foot. He then adds that a monkey then hits the elephant with a coconut, causing the elephant to scream. That in turn causes the mouse to say, "That's right. Take it all, baby."
  • Bryce jokes about an old song on the radio really being all about sperm. Nick then tells Bryce "Not everything in the world revolves around f*cking."
  • SMOKING
  • Barry smokes a few times, as does Nick, while a friend of Barry's also smokes.
  • In the opening credits and later during the film, we see a cigarette being dropped to the street that then causes a major brush fire.
  • Nick, with his dad's unlit pipe in his mouth, shows Lissa what his dad looked like.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Nick's father has recently died. There's some talk about that, a scene where he goes to the cremation remains ceremony, another where he's going through his father's belongings, and then another where he learns there will be no inheritance money left.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The old line about the best plans of mice and men often going awry.
  • What constitutes rape and especially date rape.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see that Lissa has a few bruises and a slightly bloody lip. Bryce swears, however, that he didn't hit her, but instead, dragged her down the stairs to the basement where he then gagged and handcuffed her to a pool table.
  • Bryce throws a billiards ball across the room and into a wall.
  • Nick runs over his neighbor's cat by accident (heard, but not seen), bad enough that the injured cat has to be euthanized (played seriously and not for laughs).
  • Nick sees someone being punched and beat up inside what resembles a huge, but pulled closed shower curtain. The assailant then apparently blasts some carbonated liquid up this man's nose.
  • We see a black and white photo of a murder victim with a pool of blood around his head.
  • As a carjacking occurs, someone breaks a car window and pulls Bryce from the passenger seat. Someone then pulls Nick from the car and punches him several times until he falls injured to the ground.
  • Nick attacks another man and has to be pulled off him.



  • Reviewed August 24, 1999 / Posted September 10, 1999

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