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"DUETS"
(2000) (Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Giamatti) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: Three sets of unlikely duos travel to an Omaha, Nebraska Karaoke championship and learn something about themselves and each other in the process.
PLOT:
Ricky Dean (HUEY LEWIS) is a Karaoke hustler who travels from one small-town contest to the next, fooling aspiring crooners into betting against his vocal abilities and then taking their money and leaving for his next spot before his victims know what happened. Slick and carefree, Ricky runs into an unforeseen complication when he meets Liv (GWYNETH PALTROW), the adult daughter and Vegas showgirl he never knew he had, at her mother's funeral.

Todd Woods (PAUL GIAMATTI) is a traveling salesman who's become fed up with his profession, his life and society in general. When he returns home and his wife, Candy (KIERSTEIN WARREN), and their kids essentially ignore him, he goes out for a pack of cigarettes and doesn't return. As he aimlessly makes his way across the country, he picks up Reggie Kane (ANDRE BRAUGHER), an amiable, but armed and escaped convict with a great voice.

Billy Hannon (SCOTT SPEEDMAN) is a cabbie who's just caught his wife/girlfriend Arlene (ANGELINA PHILLIPS) cheating on him with his partner after being berated for being a loser by his former third grade teacher (MARIAN SELDES). When he later meets Suzi Loomis (MARIA BELLO), a brazen, aspiring singer who's desperate to get to Los Angeles, he decides to give her a ride.

As the three, disparate pairings of twosomes make their way across the country eventually qualifying for and then heading to a $5,000 Karaoke championship in Omaha, Nebraska, they learn profound things about themselves and each other.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into Karaoke or are fans of someone in the cast, it's a good bet. Otherwise, while some teens might be interested in it, most other kids probably won't.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and some sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MARIA BELLO plays a brazen, aspiring singer who uses cusses some and uses her sexual favors as ways of getting what she wants.
  • SCOTT SPEEDMAN plays a jilted cabbie who befriends Suzi and tries to get her to stop using sex as a means to her ends.
  • ANDRE BRAUGHER plays an escaped convict who robs a man at gunpoint in one scene, but otherwise befriends and tries to help Todd through his midlife crisis.
  • PAUL GIAMATTI plays a salesman who has a midlife crisis and becomes progressively unhinged (due in part to his taking of amphetamines given to him by a stranger) to the point of aiming handguns at people with whom he's dissatisfied.
  • HUEY LEWIS plays a professional singer who hustles Karaoke contests, has sex with a stranger, uses some profanity and basically wants nothing to do with his adult daughter (whom he's just met for the first time).
  • GWYNETH PALTROW plays a somewhat bubbly Vegas showgirl who latches onto her recently discovered father after her mother's death. She turns out to be quite a singer, uses some profanity and admits to sleeping with many men (although in the slumber rather than sex mode).
  • KIERSTEIN WARREN plays Todd's wife who initially ignores him, but then becomes concerned once he flies the coup.
  • ANGELINA PHILLIPS plays Billy's wife/girlfriend who cheated on him with his partner and admits to being a former lesbian.
  • MARIAN SELDES plays Billy's former third grade teacher who uses strong profanity and has just been released from jail for shoplifting.
  • 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:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated comedy/drama. Profanity is rated as heavy due to the use of at least 6 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some sexually related dialogue is present, while a sexual encounter occurs with movement, nudity and sounds. An affair occurs off-screen, some other brief nudity is present and a female character uses sex to get what she wants (including an offer of oral sex as payment for getting a car repainted).

    Violence consists of a person being shot dead by the police (with bloody shirt results), others threatening or shooting at various people with handguns and some brief fighting. Various characters drink while one appears to get somewhat hooked on amphetamines. Meanwhile, various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes and some tense family moments are present, but not realistically portrayed.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may wish to see it, we suggest that you more closely examine our detailed content listings for the areas/subjects of concern to you.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People have drinks/beer in a bar, including Ricky who has a Seven and Seven.
  • When Ricky catches Liv as she stumbles a bit, she states that she's grieving (over her mother's death) and he says that he could smell it on her breath (implying that she's intoxicated to some degree).
  • People have drinks in another Karaoke bar.
  • A woman gives Todd a pill to give him courage to perform Karaoke for the first time. He asks what it is and she replies that it's a "beta blocker," (but we later learn that they're amphetamines). He downs his with a beer. When we later see him throughout the film, he appears rather high-strung, but we don't know if that's from him taking more uppers or just losing control/becoming unhinged.
  • Billy drinks in a bar and states that he's been in every bar in the town, while Suzi has a beer.
  • Todd drinks a beer while driving and states that he "scored some bennies" (amphetamines) from a girl.
  • People have drinks in a bar where Todd takes another upper before performing.
  • Todd drinks more beer while allowing Reggie to drive.
  • People have drinks in another club.
  • People have drinks in a bar, including Billy who has a beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A man's shirt is bloody after he's been shot several times.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • We see that Ricky is a Karaoke hustler (acting like he doesn't know what it is to lure others into betting against him).
  • Billy learns that his third grade teacher was in jail for shoplifting from the grocery store.
  • Billy discovers that his wife/girlfriend is cheating on him with his business partner.
  • Suzi takes money from a homeless man who had just asked her for a handout.
  • Reggie, who it turns out has escaped from prison, robs a trucker, who just gave him a lift, at gunpoint.
  • Todd blatantly stares at a woman's buxom (but clothed) chest.
  • Todd progressively becomes unhinged, eventually threatening several people with Reggie's gun.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Todd teaches Reggie how to pass cars while driving (it's Reggie's first time driving) and he then attempts to pass several cars when a large truck approaches and nearly hits them.
  • Although they're played more for comedy than suspense, it's possible some viewers could find scenes where Todd threatens people (in an unhinged way) with Reggie's gun as disturbing, unsettling and/or suspenseful.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Used to threaten, shoot at, and in one instance, kill someone. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Get the f*ck out," "I just steal stuff to f*ck with people," "What the f*ck do you care?" "Oh sh*t," "Sh*t happens," "Sh*thole," "Treats me like sh*t," "Sh*t or get off the pot," "Scared sh*tless," "What a crock of sh*t," "Drilling," "Wet dream" and "Jerking off" (all sexual), "What the hell?" "Jeez," "Bitch in heat," "I don't give a damn," "Hell yes," "Loser(s)," "Blow your ass off the stage," "What the hell do you think you're doing?" and "Retard."
  • We see that Todd has gotten a dangling earring.
  • Todd drives like a madman down the wrong side of a desert road and then drinks a beer while driving.
  • Later, he has Reggie attempt to pass many cars (and they're nearly hit by a truck doing so).
  • Todd threatens several people with Reggie's gun when he becomes fed up with society.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of suspenseful music plays in one scene.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • The song "Betty Davis Eyes," sung by Liv in a Karaoke contest, has the lyrics "She's precocious and she knows just what it takes to make a pro blush" (presumably referring to sexual matters what would embarrass a prostitute).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 6 "f" words, 11 "s" words, 1 slang term for sex ("drilling"), 1 slang term for male genitals ("d*ck"), 5 hells, 2 damns, 1 ass, 1 S.O.B., 7 uses of "G-damn," 2 of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "Christ," "For Christ's sakes," "God," "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," "Oh God" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A woman in a bar shows cleavage and we then later see her "riding" on top of Ricky (with movement but we don't see their bodies touching) while singing lyrics from the song he sang on stage ("I'm feeling alright, uh-huh"). We then see her view down at Ricky below her, and once she gets off him, we see several views of her bare breasts.
  • Billy discovers that his wife/girlfriend is cheating on him with his business partner (she's in a robe and he comes out of the shower with a towel around him).
  • A stranger passionately kisses Todd to make him go up on stage and perform some Karaoke.
  • Billy's girlfriend finds him in a bar and (talking about the above cheating) tells him that he's the first man she had sex with after ten years of being with women. She says that the sex between them was great and the fact that he was tender almost made it like being with a woman.
  • Liv tells Ricky (her father) that the only time she sleeps in king-sized beds is when she sleeps with Vegas headliners. He then asks if she has sex with them (including Tom Jones whom she slept with for a month) and she says that she doesn't, that she's just keep them from being lonely.
  • We see Suzi pulling up her underwear as she gets dressed (and in the process see her bare butt). We then see her bare back and the side of her bare breast as she continues dressing (in front of Billy who apparently has a hangover, and she makes a comment about him now being interested in her this morning - after seeing her nude). As we see Suzi in just her underwear (a frontal view where we see her bare breasts again), she makes a comment about "the dildo who's drilling your girlfriend").
  • After Suzi orders a new paint job for Billy's cab, the store manager asks how she'll be paying for the job. She replies that they're short on cash, but then adds, "I would consider it an honor if I could suck your d*ck" (in lieu of payment, which apparently happens since we later see them driving away the freshly painted car).
  • Todd blatantly stares at a woman's buxom (but clothed) chest.
  • As Suzi and Billy have an argument, a comment is made about her being everybody's "wet dream." She then angrily tells him that he'll be "jerking off" about her on his deathbed.
  • SMOKING
  • Todd tells his wife that he's going out for a pack of cigarettes (although he doesn't smoke and he says it as something of a metaphor) and she later brings him a pack (although he doesn't smoke any). Beyond that, Billy smokes once and a few people in various bars/clubs also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Todd returns home from a business trip to find that neither his children nor his wife have time to welcome him. As such, he snaps and ends up taking off across the country.
  • Ricky learns that his former wife has died and he goes to see her body at the funeral home where he meets Liv who's also grieving this loss of her mother (and the two then learn that they're father and daughter, although none of this is played or portrayed realistically).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Suzi's use of sex to get what she wants/make her way through life.
  • Estranged family members.
  • Midlife crises.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Reggie robs a trucker, who just gave him a lift, at gunpoint.
  • After a manager figures out that Ricky is a Karaoke hustler, he menacingly approaches Ricky who knees him in the gut or groin. That man's client then tries rushing the stage, but Liv bashes a chair into him. The manager then tries hitting Ricky who tosses him over a bar, but the client then hits Ricky over the head with a bottle.
  • Todd pulls out Reggie's gun and holds it on a hotel clerk, accidentally firing it (no one is hit). He then purposefully fires a shot into a sofa and another into a glass coffee table, shattering it.
  • Later, Todd pulls out Reggie's gun in a convenience store. We hear a shot and then see that a soda fountain has been hit. When Reggie comes in and the two struggle over the gun, the clerk grabs his own gun and opens fire on the two of them. As the scene ends, we hear a few more gunshots, but don't see or know the ramifications of them, if any.
  • Reggie lightly smacks Todd on the face.
  • A man pulls out a gun and the police shoot him dead.



  • Reviewed September 7, 2000 / Posted September 15, 2000

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