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"GOSSIP"
(2000) (James Marsden, Lena Headey) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Suspense: When a bit of malicious gossip they spread gets completely out of control, a trio of friends must figure out what to do and whether they should try to stop it.
PLOT:
Derrick (JAMES MARSDEN), Jones (LENA HEADEY) and Travis (NORMAN REEDUS) are three close friends and college roommates. Living off Derrick's family wealth, the trio get along splendidly, partying all night and attending one class in particular during the day, a journalism course taught by Professor Goodwin (ERIC BOGOSIAN) that gets them thinking about how news and gossip are intertwined.

At a party one night, they spot Naomi Preston (KATE HUDSON), a spoiled rich girl, and her boyfriend, Beau Edson (JOSHUA JACKSON). While assisting a drunk and nearly sick girl, Derrick happens to spy upon Naomi and Beau fooling around, although nothing apparently happens between them since Naomi passes out.

All of which gives Derrick and his roommates an idea. Since none of them particularly likes Naomi and she has a reputation for abstaining from sex, they decide to plant a little playful gossip that she and Beau actually had sex, and then see how their malicious rumor spreads around the campus.

Of course, the story travels like wildfire, and once Naomi's friend Sheila (MARISA COUGHLAN) informs her of what she's heard, Naomi begins to think that perhaps Beau raped her while she was passed out. While Jones begins to get a little antsy with this twist in the story, Derrick and Travis want to see how it continually develops.

Eventually, Naomi believes she was raped and detectives Kelly (SHARON LAWRENCE) and Curtis (EWARD JAMES OLMOS) arrive on the scene, investigating Beau and interviewing anyone who might know what really happened. Realizing the mess they've created, the three friends try to set matters straight, but in doing so unleash previously hidden secrets that soon threaten their friendship and perhaps even their lives.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Since it has that teen/early twenty-something angle to it, it may be attractive to some teens, but unless that's true and/or others are fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem likely that this film will become much of a big hit with kids (or anyone else for that matter).
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For sexual content including language, and for brief violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JAMES MARSDEN plays a rich college student who comes up with the idea of spreading gossip about another college student having sex with another guy. He also uses strong profanity, and once things turn ugly, he tries to manipulate and/or turns on others. There is also talk about allegations that he raped a girl in high school and he does have sex with Jones. He also drinks and smokes some.
  • LENA HEADEY plays one of his roommates who initially goes along with spreading the gossip, and also drinks, smokes and has sex with Derrick.
  • NORMAN REEDUS plays their other roommate, a multimedia artist who similarly goes along with the gossip plan, smokes, and drinks to the point of passing out.
  • KATE HUDSON plays the object of their gossip, a seemingly spoiled rich girl who cries wolf about date rape after she hears the rumors.
  • JOSHUA JACKSON plays her boyfriend who's then accused of raping her, although all he did was try to fool around with her.
  • MARISA COUGHLAN plays Naomi's best friend who tries to help her.
  • EWARD JAMES OLMOS and SHARON LAWRENCE play detectives who investigate the allegations of a date rape and a reported death on campus.
  • ERIC BOGOSIAN plays the students' somewhat abusive communications/journalism professor.
  • 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 drama/thriller. We see several student couples fooling around in a sexual manner, but only one of these encounters presumably leads to actual sex (which occurs off camera). Sexually related dialogue is present, some of which stems from rumors spread about another student finally "putting out" while drunk with her boyfriend.

    Those who initiate and spread those rumors obviously have bad attitudes, and they eventually lead to allegations of date rape, a reported suicide or possible murder and another person being accidentally shot (although all is not what it seems by the time the end credits roll). Some of those scenes, however, may be somewhat suspenseful to some viewers.

    Violence includes that shooting, a fight (with punches and kicks) between two students, and some other less volatile moments. A heavy amount of drinking occurs with several students ending up drunk and/or passing out, while various students also smoke. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other profanities and colorful phrases are also uttered during the film. Should this summary not answer your specific concerns about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our more detailed content listings.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the big screen, a few moments of that occur during a thunderstorm, but aren't of the quickly repetitive manner.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Students & other young people have drinks in a club, including Derrick, Jones and Travis.
  • More students/young people drink in the club the next night.
  • Derrick has drinks with some woman he meets in the club who later thinks she's going to be sick from having too many martinis.
  • While making out with Beau, Naomi comments "I'm so drunk" and then eventually passes out.
  • Travis passes out from drinking too much and Derrick and Naomi end up having to drag him back to his room. The next morning, however, he doesn't have a hangover like Jones does.
  • Derrick pours alcoholic drinks for Travis, Jones and himself.
  • Jones pours herself a drink at Naomi's place.
  • Derrick states that he could use a drink and later pours himself one (along with ones for Travis and Jones although she slaps it from his hand to the floor).
  • Jones has a drink and then pours herself another, while Derrick also drinks.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Derrick has some blood from his nose after getting into a fight.
  • A character has some bloody fingernail scratches on his face and well as slightly bloody bite marks on his hand.
  • A person who's apparently been shot has some blood on their shirt.
  • A large photograph/painting shows a person's face that looks somewhat bloody (although it could be faked).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The three main characters conspire to spread gossip about Naomi and Beau sleeping together (just for the fun of it).
  • Jones dislikes Naomi just because she seems like a spoiled rich girl.
  • A bartender is disrespectful of Travis (not to his face) about his lack of social skills in trying to pick up women, and calls him pathetic.
  • Derrick lies to Jones about an important question she asks him.
  • A character asks others to lie to the police for them and then tries to blame others for their wrongdoings.
  • A character admits to raping someone in the past.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Other scenes listed under "Violence" may also be tense or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Beau and Derrick get into a fight where they exchange punches until Beau gets the upper hand and kicks Derrick several times on the ground. Derrick, however, calls a temporary truce and then hits Beau on the head with what looks like a clay pot. He then repeatedly punches and kicks him.
  • A woman throws something at a man and during their ensuing struggle, she scratches his face with her fingernails enough to draw blood and then bites down on his hand as well.
  • A character holds a gun on another character. The two then struggle over it, it fires and a person is accidentally shot (and presumably killed).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Worn by cops, used by others to threaten others, presumably used to shoot and wound/kill someone, and seen in some of Travis' artwork and photographs.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Puts out," "Getting it on," "Going down" and "Blow job" (all sexual), "Sh*t happens," "Bitch," "Jeez," "Screwed up," "Shut up," "Freak" and "Nuts" (crazy).
  • The three main characters delight in spreading gossip about others (although ramifications obviously flow from that).
  • Derrick tells Jones (while trying to get her to kiss him and then more), "You're just as capable of meaningless sex as I am." He then adds that it could make their friendship stronger.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous and/or suspenseful music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word (with another possible one), 8 "s" words, 3 slang terms for sex ("laid"), 2 slang terms for/using male genitals ("c*ck" and "pr*ck"), 8 asses (all used with "hole"), 1 damn, 1 hell, 1 S.O.B., 2 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "My God," "Oh God" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a few women dancing in a club who wear bra-like tops (but nothing explicit).
  • After Derrick comments that they got free drinks out of a lie he told in a club, Travis laments that "I still didn't get laid." Later, Derrick wonders who a girl thinks Travis might be, and Travis says that he doesn't know, but "I bet he gets laid a lot."
  • Derrick jokes about spreading the rumor that Jones is sleeping with both him and Travis, and Jones then hears rumors regarding her having sex with her professor.
  • Derrick makes out with a young woman at a club who then makes a comment about Beau being the last guy on campus who thinks that Naomi "puts out." She then goes on to add that she doesn't understand women who are afraid of sex.
  • Jones comments that quickest way to get Derrick out of her life is to sleep with him.
  • Derrick and the previous girl continue making out in a restroom where he takes off her top (no nudity as she's wearing another layer of clothing, but we do see some cleavage) and stands between her legs kissing her while she sits on a counter. She then removes his belt, her short skirt is already hiked up, and we hear some heavy breathing as they continue making out. Nothing else happens between the two, however, as the girl feels that she's going to get sick.
  • Derrick then spots Beau and Naomi making out, with him trying to pull down her shoulder strap and runs his hand up inside her skirt along her upper thigh/hip (both of which she stops, although she's obviously aroused by him). Beau then lies down on top of Naomi (and between her legs on a bed) and there's some heavy breathing as they continue making out, but nothing ultimately happens as Naomi passes out.
  • Beau then comes down the stairs and back into the club where his friends asks him something along the lines of him having a look of sexual satisfaction on his face, but he vaguely answers that by stating that a gentleman would never discuss that.
  • The three main characters decide to spread the rumor that Beau and Naomi slept together. As such, we then hear various comments from others as the gossip flies, including talking about Naomi "putting out," a guy talks about not liking women who are into casual sex, except at a party, a woman talks of hearing about six guys and four girls "getting it on," others talk about Beau and Naomi putting their hands on each other's crotches, there's talk of Naomi being into rubber underwear and whips and chains, another comments on Naomi "going down" on Beau and of their encounter being "hot," that Beau stood Naomi up on a bed and then asks (and answers), "Blow job? Yes. Intercourse? Yes" and that Naomi enjoys multiple partners on the fire escape.
  • Derrick tells Jones (while trying to get her to kiss him and then more), "You're just as capable of meaningless sex as I am." He then adds that it could make their friendship stronger.
  • A classic painting shows a woman's bare breast.
  • When the rumors get back to Naomi about her and Beau, she asks him if he told anyone anything. In response, he states that he doesn't need to lie about sex.
  • Naomi talks with detective Kelly stating that Beau was trying to put his hand up her skirt and take off her panties.
  • We see some drawings/sketches of pin-up like women in skimpy outfits among Travis' modern artwork.
  • Derrick and Jones start making out in their apartment, she takes off his shirt and we then see them rolling around together (clothed). Although we don't see anything more than that and passionate kissing, it's implied that they have sex.
  • Derrick states that his encounter with a young woman in high school was "wonderful" and that they were both ready for it, and that women are generally happy to sleep with him.
  • SMOKING
  • Travis smokes more than five times, while Jones and Derrick do so several times, and various background or miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Derrick states that his family hasn't talked with him for some time.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Gossip and the implications of spreading false rumors about others.
  • Date rape.
  • Derrick tells Jones (while trying to get her to kiss him and then more), "You're just as capable of meaningless sex as I am." He then adds that it could make their friendship stronger.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Dragging a passed out Travis along the floor, Derrick and Naomi accidentally bang his head into a door.
  • As Beau tries to get to Naomi to talk to her, Sheila gets in the way, pushes Beau backwards and then slaps him. In turn, he lunges at her, but his friends pull him away.
  • Jones tears one of Travis' large pictures to get his attention.
  • When Derrick offers a drink to Jones, she slaps it from his hand and the glass shatters on the floor.
  • Beau and Derrick get into a fight where they exchange punches until Beau gets the upper hand and kicks Derrick several times on the ground. Derrick, however, calls a temporary truce and then hits Beau on the head with what looks like a clay pot. He then repeatedly punches and kicks him.
  • A woman throws something at a man and during their ensuing struggle, she scratches his face with her fingernails enough to draw blood and then bites down on his hand as well.
  • We hear that a character committed suicide (but we don't see any of that).
  • Derrick pushes his bottles of liquor around until they break and then purposefully pushes over a large cabinet so that it lands on the floor and breaks items in/on it.
  • A character holds a gun on another character. The two then struggle over it, it fires and a person is accidentally shot (and presumably killed, although this turns out not to be the case).
  • A man admits to raping a woman in the past (but we don't see any of it).



  • Reviewed April 18, 2000 / Posted April 21, 2000

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