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"HIGH FIDELITY"
(2000) (John Cusack, Iben Hjejle) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Romantic Comedy: A single man examines his failed romantic relationships after being dumped by his latest girlfriend.
PLOT:
Rob Gordon (JOHN CUSACK) is a thirty-something, single man who's just been dumped by Laura (IBEN HJEJLE), his live-in girlfriend, for Ian (TIM ROBBINS), the guy who used to live above them. Rob can't believe this turn of events, but then again, he realizes this is yet another failed romance in a string of them that extends all the way back to middle school.

While trying to figure out why he's always being jilted, Rob runs his barely profitable music store, Championship Vinyl. There, he and his two workers, the timid Dick (TODD LOUISO) and the boisterous Barry (JACK BLACK) spend their days debating about, and making "top five" lists of most anything related to music, the more obscure the better.

As Rob laments over Laura and hopes she'll change her mind and move back in with him, he recounts his five best, or worst if you will, breakups of all time. Those include being jilted by Charlie (CATHERINE ZETA-JONES), his perfectly idealized woman from college, as well as Sarah (LILI TAYLOR) who was on the rebound like him when they met. Then there was Penny (JOELLE CARTER) from high school and even Alison (SHANNON STILLO) from middle school who was the first to break his heart.

While Rob eventually figures out he must confront the women from his past to understand himself and move on with life, he also finds himself attracted to an avant-garde singer, Marie De Salle (LISA BONET), while also dealing with Laura's best friend, Liz (JOAN CUSACK). Coming to grips with his past relationships, Rob must then decide what to do about Laura.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens and anyone who's a fan of someone in the cast might, but this one doesn't seem attractive to most kids.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and some sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JOHN CUSACK plays a bitter, thirty-something record store owner who's driven crazy by continually being dumped by the women in his life. As he tries to figure out why, he smokes, uses strong profanity and sex with several women (and reportedly had an affair in the past).
  • IBEN HJEJLE plays his most recent live-in girlfriend who's recently cheated on and broken up with him and has sex with him in both the past and present (as well as with another man and reportedly had an abortion in the past).
  • TODD LOUISO plays one of Rob's workers, a timid man who briefly uses strong profanity.
  • JACK BLACK plays another of Rob's workers, an obnoxious and highly opinionated man who uses strong profanity and is rude to customers if he doesn't agree with their musical choices.
  • LISA BONET plays a singer who sleeps with Rob and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • CATHERINE ZETA-JONES plays one of Rob's ex-girlfriends who turns out to be a somewhat arrogant braggart who uses strong profanity.
  • JOAN CUSACK plays one of Laura's friends who uses some strong profanity.
  • TIM ROBBINS plays Laura's somewhat transcendental lover.
  • 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. Profanity is rated as extreme due to nearly 60 uses of the "f" word along with plenty of other profanities and colorful phrases. Sexual material includes related dialogue, partial nudity, some fondling, implied encounters and moments leading up to them, sounds of an unseen sexual encounter, and an imagined sexual encounter with related movement and sounds.

    Characters drink and smoke throughout the film, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. We learn that a character had an abortion in the past and that characters cheated on their significant others. A character's father dies and there are related tense family scenes, while an imaginary scene has several people beating up another man (played for laughs but with some mildly bloody results).

    Beyond that, the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content. Nonetheless, and as always, should you still be concerned about the film's content and appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our more detailed content listings.

    Of special note for those concerned with the repetitive flashing of bright lights, a few instances of that occur in scenes featuring strobes lights, but they aren't quite full screen flashes.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Tired of his mother's nagging, Rob states that he's going to drink a bottle of wine, watch some TV and then go to bed.
  • People drink beer in a club.
  • People have drinks in a club, including Rob who has a beer.
  • Rob has a beer.
  • A woman drinks a beer.
  • We see Rob, Barry, Dick and Marie drinking in a bar.
  • Rob and Laura have drinks in a restaurant, as do others.
  • Ian and Laura have wine with dinner.
  • Liz has wine while Rob has a drink.
  • Charlie, Rob and others have wine at her dinner party.
  • People drink at a wake.
  • Rob and Laura have wine with some people.
  • Rob and others have beer in a restaurant.
  • People have drinks in a club.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • In a fantasy sequence where Rob, Barry and Dick beat up Ian, the latter's face is somewhat bloody.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Various women in Rob's life, including Laura and Charlie, cheat or cheated on him with other men while in a relationship with him.
  • In a flashback to high school, Rob breaks up with a girl because she wouldn't have sex with him.
  • Barry treats a store customer poorly due to the differences in their musical tastes and is condescending to Dick upon learning that he has a date. In addition, he and Dick make light of the news of Laura's father dying (she's not there) by listing the top five songs about death.
  • We hear that Rob cheated on Laura when she was pregnant (although he didn't know she was) and that in turn, Laura had an abortion (none of which is seen).
  • Two young men try to shoplift various items from Rob's store (but they're caught).
  • Rob discovers that Charlie is a braggart with arrogant friends who want nothing to do with him at a dinner party she throws.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What the f*ck is this/that?" "What the f*ck?" "F*ck you," "You f*cking idiots," "Holy sh*t," "Sh*t bag," "Sh*t hole," "Sh*tload," "I want to get my sh*t together," "Screw" (sexual), "Slut," "Sucks ass," "Bastard," "Bitch," "Ass muncher," "Shut up," "Kick ass," "Moron," "Dumb ass," "Horny," "Idiot," "Hard ass" and "Maggots."
  • Marie has a pierced nose (with a small stud in one nostril), while Ian has several earrings in one ear.
  • Two young men try to shoplift various items from Rob's store (but they're caught).
  • Barry gives "the finger" to those shoplifters (one of whom has a polka-dot dyed hairdo) and then does the same later to Rob.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • Barry performs a song (along with a band) with the repeated lyrics, "Let's get it on."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 57 "f" words (2 used with "mother," 1 used sexually as is the term "screw"), 17 "s" words, 1 slang term using female genitals ("p*ssy"), 16 asses (8 used with "hole"), 2 craps, 1 damn, 1 hell, 5 uses of "God," 2 of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "My God," "Oh God" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Remembering his junior high days, Rob talks about suddenly being aware of girls being everywhere and that they had grown breasts.
  • We see a flashback of Rob in high school as he talks about his girlfriend who wouldn't let him put his hand on top of or beneath her bra. During this, we see him trying to fondle her clothed breast while she repeatedly brushes his hand away (as they kiss). As he talks about then trying to touch her between her legs, we see him trying to do just that. Later, he breaks up with her asking what's the point since it would never go anywhere (lead to sex). He then states that after they broke up, she reportedly had sex with some guy after just three dates, while he went out with a girl who would reportedly "give it up," but that never happened.
  • As some music plays in the record store, Barry makes some sexually related moves with an imaginary woman. As such, he acts as if he fondles a woman's breasts, licks them, and then makes some pelvic thrusting gestures as if having sex.
  • In a flashback, we see Charlie walking up some stairs wearing pants with some holes in the seat (thus we see a small part of her bare butt). At the top of the stairs, she removes her top and we see her in her bra. Later, and as he talks about worrying about his abilities as a lover, we see glimpses of the sides of her bare breasts as she puts on a shirt (her bare back faces the camera).
  • Later, when Rob discovers that she's cheating on him, we see her wrapped in a sheet (just like her male lover).
  • Rob says he once dreamed of being surrounded by women's panties, but that he now knows that women save the best pair when they're going to sleep with someone else.
  • We see Rob and Sarah in bed, but don't see any nudity or activity.
  • We see the top of Barry's butt as he bends over and his pants ride down on him.
  • Rob mentions that he and Laura used to listen to the neighbor above them having sex. We then see a flashback to this with Rob and Laura in bed (no nudity or activity), listening to the rhythmic squeaking of the bed above them. When Rob comments on the sound going on long enough, Laura replies that she should be so lucky.
  • Rob then talks about and imagines Laura having sex with Ian. As such, he talks about Ian feeling her bare breasts while we see a close-up of Ian starting to pull down her panties (no explicit nudity), then being behind her with hands covering her bare breasts and then the two facing each, sitting up and having sex (with movement and sounds).
  • In a flashback, we see Rob on top of Laura in bed (with very slight movement but no explicit nudity due to the camera angle).
  • When meeting Penny in the present day, Rob asks why she had sex with another guy in high school but not him. She then states that she wanted to sleep with him one day, but not when she was sixteen. She then states that she was too tired to fight off that next boyfriend and thus had sex with him. She then adds that she couldn't have sex until after college (due to guilt) and that that's when you're supposed to have sex.
  • After seeing Sarah in the present day, Rob says that he could have had sex with her and thus exercised his demons if he would "screw" the person who rejected him.
  • Rob asks Laura "is it better?" about her having sex with Ian as compared with him. She says that she doesn't know since they've "slept together," they haven't "made love" yet.
  • We see Rob and Marie in bed together after they've had sex (no nudity, she's asleep and he talks to the camera). In a flashback leading up to that moment, we see them kissing but nothing else. The next morning, Marie talks about sex being a "basic human right" and that she'd never let "an asshole come between me and a f*ck" (thus explaining why she slept with Rob).
  • Rob asks Laura if she's slept with Ian yet, and when she can't say that she hasn't, Rob leaves.
  • When Barry learns that Dick has a date, he asks about him "getting some" and a command is then made to Dick that he should "smoke that ass" (have sex).
  • Saying that she wants to feel something different than grief, Laura asks Rob if he wants to have sex with her. He agrees, and she comments that she knew there was a reason she wore a skirt as she crawls onto his lap as he sits in the passenger seat of her car. She then comments on remembering that view of him and then briefly works on his pants as they make out. We don't see anything else, but it's implied that they have sex.
  • Rob makes a comment about him and Laura staying in and making love all of the time as we briefly see them kissing under the sheets (but nothing else).
  • SMOKING
  • Rob smokes more than 15 times (in the past and present), while Charlie and various minor and miscellaneous characters also smoke at least once.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear about Laura's father dying (we never see him in the film) and then see her grieving reaction to that, as well as a later funeral scene and wake.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Relationships and how men and women behave differently in them and dealing with being dumped.
  • Cheating on others in relationships.
  • Abortion - we learn that Laura had one without even telling Rob that she was pregnant.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Rob violently knocks some items from a counter in anger.
  • Rob grabs Barry by the shirt/collar and pushes him back against some records when temporarily fed up with him.
  • In a fantasy sequence, Dick hits Ian with a telephone and Rob then kicks him backwards. Barry then joins the other two in kicking Ian on the floor (in a non-graphic and intentionally humorous way, although his face is later bloody). Dick then pulls the window air conditioner unit from the wall and drops it down onto Ian (seen from his point of view where the picture goes black upon the impact).
  • Rob grabs Barry and slaps his face (for being disrespectful upon hearing the news of Laura's father dying).



  • Reviewed March 22, 2000 / Posted March 31, 2000

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