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"JUST LOOKING"
(2000) (Ryan Merriman, Gretchen Mol) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Comedy: Sent off to Queens, NY by his newly remarried mother to live with his aunt and uncle, a teenage boy makes it his goal to see a couple having sex before the summer of 1955 is done.
PLOT:
It's the Bronx in 1955 and Lenny (RYAN MERRIMAN) is sex-obsessed eighth grader who's decided that his goal over the summer will be to see two people actually having sex. As such, he attempts to catch his mother, Sylvia (PATTI LUPONE) and new stepfather, Mr. Polinsky (RICHARD V. LICATA), the local butcher, in the act, but fails.

Somewhat as a result, they decide to send Lenny to spend the summer with his aunt Norma (ILANA LEVINE) and uncle Phil (PETER ONORATI) in the "country" - Queens - where he'll get some fresh air and work at Phil's deli. Lenny isn't happy about this decision, but things look up when he meets a local boy, John (JOSEPH FRANQUINHA), who also works for Phil.

Although his chances of seeing his aunt and uncle in the act are squandered when he discovers that Norma is very pregnant, Lenny is delighted when John informs him that he and two local Catholic girls, Alice (AMY BRAVERMAN) and Barbara (ALLIE SPIRO-WINN), belong to a "sex club," where they don't have sex, but certainly discuss it a lot.

Then he meets Hedy (GRETCHEN MOL), a local twenty-something nurse and former bra model whose fetching looks and friendly demeanor further stir up Lenny's hormones. When he learns that she's dating Dr. Donald Flynn (JOHN BOLGER), an OBGYN, he figures his goal is made in the shade and thus sets out to catch those two in the act.

Things, of course, don't work out the way he planned, but while Lenny might not succeed in the way he originally intended, he learns a thing or two about people and life as he spends his summer away from home.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
The sex angle might draw some curious teens to it, but unless they're a fan of someone in the cast, it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For sexual content and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • RYAN MERRIMAN plays an eighth-grader who's obsessed with sex and seeing two people having it. As such, he sets out at various times to do just that by spying on others (whether with binoculars or hiding in closets, etc.). He also uses some strong profanity that includes sexually related dialogue and discussions.
  • JOSEPH FRANQUINHA plays his new best friend in Queens who introduces him to the local "sex club" where the two boys and two Catholic girls discuss sex but don't actually have it.
  • PETER ONORATI plays Lenny's deli-owning uncle through marriage who uses strong profanity, smokes cigars and has an affair, but is nice toward Lenny and gives him encouragement.
  • GRETCHEN MOL plays an attractive nurse who becomes the object of Lenny's attention and obsession. She smokes and drinks a bit, befriends Lenny and has sex with two different men.
  • PATTI LUPONE plays Lenny's mother who wants him to have a summer away from home so that he can get out of the city and she can spend time alone with her new husband.
  • AMY BRAVERMAN plays a Catholic girl who hasn't had sex, but talks about it quite openly with the other members of their sex club.
  • ILANA LEVINE plays Lenny's pregnant aunt who takes him in for the summer.
  • RICHARD V. LICATA plays Lenny's new stepfather who finds the boy's resentment toward him frustrating. He also appears to be something of a flirt, but seems faithful to Sylvia.
  • ALLIE SPIRO-WINN plays the other member of the sex club who likewise is interested in and talks about sex, but hasn't had it and is a bit more reserved than Alice regarding it.
  • 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 quick summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Since the story is all about a teenager's obsession with sex and observing a couple having it, the film is filled with all sorts of sexually related material, most of it dialogue-based and some of it graphic in nature.

    Part of that involves a local "sex club" where two teenage boys and two teenage girls get together to talk about sex or look at pornographic material they've found. The teen does briefly observe some fooling around and then finally an actual act. As such, we briefly see some partial nudity and movement and hear sexually related sounds.

    One such incident involves a married man having an affair with a single woman, while others involve that teen acting like a peeping Tom and using various means (binoculars, hiding in a closet, etc.) to observe people having sex. Other instances of bad attitudes are also present, while one scene where a woman goes into labor at night during a thunderstorm might be a tad suspenseful to some viewers.

    Profanity is rated as extreme due to the use of at least 6 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some characters drink and/or smoke, a character punches another and a boy wrecks on his bike resulting in some bloody cuts on his hands. A few tense family moments are present as is some thematic material (beyond all of the sexually related stuff) regarding brief discussions about child molestation, affairs and an abortion.

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Lenny's mom and stepfather have wine with dinner.
  • Some residents appear to have beer at a block party.
  • Phil offers Polinsky a drink, but Sylvia turns him down.
  • Hedy has a beer and then offers one to Lenny after asking how old he is (he mumbles the answer). She then pours out quite a bit of it (without him seeing her doing so) and then fills the rest back up with tap water).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Polinsky has a black eye after being punched.
  • Spotting Hedy arriving back in town, John informs Lenny, who's in the bathroom. John then tells him to hurry, but Lenny tells him that he's on the "crapper" and then that he's wiping. He then eventually runs out to see Hedy (who's in her car), but he hasn't zipped up his pants all the way yet.
  • Lenny wrecks on his bike and lands on his hands, resulting in some slightly bloody cuts.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Lenny has a bad attitude toward his stepfather for most of the film (occasionally calling him a "fat, stupid butcher").
  • Lenny sets out to see two people actually having sex, and tries to do so regarding his mother and stepfather, as well as Hedy and her boyfriend.
  • After a fussy customer tells an older deli employee to get a new salami for her instead of using an older one, he says (to himself) that he has a salami for her while he rubs his clothed crotch.
  • John shows Lenny around Hedy's place when she's not home (by letting themselves in with her hidden key to deliver her items from the deli). Later, Lenny returns and goes through her drawers and handles one of her bras.
  • Flynn has a condescending attitude toward Hedy when they break up.
  • Hedy has a beer and then offers one to Lenny after asking how old he is (he mumbles the answer). She then pours out quite a bit of it (without him seeing her doing so) and then fills the rest back up with tap water).
  • Hedy mentions that her father died when she was young and that her new stepfather molested her.
  • A married man has an affair with Hedy and then tries to explain to Lenny that it's perfectly normal (Lenny doesn't believe him).
  • Lenny learns that his late father had an affair in the past and that the woman had an abortion.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A several minute scene where Norma goes into labor, panics and then sends Lenny off for help during a thunderstorm at night might be a bit tense or unsettling for some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Fat f*cking chance," "Bang" (sex), "Boner" (erection), "I bet he'll be as horny as hell," "You're such a p*ssy," "Rich bitch," "Ball scratching" (testicles), "Guinea" (what Lenny says that his mom called Phil - but she didn't), "He's a flaming assh*le," "Piss off," "Piece of crapola," "Jerk," "What the hell are you doing?" "You sick bastard," "Crapper" (toilet), "Get the hell out of my house," "Freaking," "Knocked her up" and "Pissed off."
  • Some kids may want to imitate Lenny's quest to see two people actually having sex, which includes spying on others in their homes (via binoculars or hiding in their closet, etc.).
  • After a fussy customer tells an older deli employee to get a new salami for her instead of using an older one, he says (to himself) that he has a salami for her while he rubs his clothed crotch.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 6 "f" words (1 used sexually as are 15 other slang words/terms including variations of "screw," "bang," "humping," "puts out" and "laid"), 3 "s" words, 3 slang terms for/using male genitals ("d*ck"), 1 slang term using female genitals ("p*ssy"), 3 slang terms for breasts ("t*ts" and "boobs"), 7 hells, 3 asses (2 used with "hole"), 3 craps, 1 S.O.B., 6 uses of "Oh my God," 2 of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "God," "My God," "Oh God" and "Mother of God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see a couple making out in a car.
  • In voice over narration, Lenny tells us that his favorite subject is sex, and he goes on to say that his stepfather "respected" his mother all weekend long in the Catskills when they were dating (meaning they had sex).
  • The camera briefly focuses on a woman's butt in her dress as she walks down the sidewalk (representing what Lenny's looking at).
  • In more voice over narration, Lenny talks about how things that aren't about sex remind him about it (such as seeing an old-fashioned record player spindle going through a record and we then see Lenny moving two forks in and out of contact with each other), despite the fact that he hasn't seen "real sex." He then says that he was determined to see two people "doing it" no matter what.
  • As such, he then sets out to see his mother and stepfather having sex, and thus sneaks up to their bedroom door where he (and we) can hear sexual sounds coming from the bedroom (squeaking bed sounds and Polinsky saying, "I'm going to finish" and "Oh, Sylvia," etc.). However, he makes noise at the door and never sees anything.
  • Lenny imagines his teacher telling everyone to take out their paper and penis (instead of pencil) and then imagines seeing his teacher in her bra and panties and holding a cigarette.
  • Lenny tells a friend that his summer goal is, "I want to see two people f*cking." He then goes to say that he wants to witness an act of love.
  • Lenny states that Norma and Phil were just recently married and thus figures that there will be "plenty of screwing." Someone then comments that Phil will "bang her brains out."
  • Lenny asks if John and the other kids do anything interesting in Queens and John replies that they have a sex club where boys and girls get together and talk about sex (but don't do anything).
  • After a fussy customer tells an older deli employee to get a new salami for her instead of using an older one, he says (to himself) that he has a salami for her while he rubs his clothed crotch.
  • Finding some frozen bananas in Hedy's freezer, Lenny jokes that she likes them "big, fat and hard" and after breaking off the tip of one, he then adds, "I hope she likes them circumcised." They then poke around her house and go into her bedroom (that's filled with many mirrors that they marvel over) and find a photo of her modeling a 1950s era bra. John then mocks what Hedy would say by stating, "Oh Lenny, I want to have sex with you so much…Just give me a big orgasm."
  • John tells Lenny more about their sex club and states that Alice taught him all sorts of stuff. He then states, "You can show Alice your d*ck if you want" and then adds that despite her always asking to see his, he hasn't shown it to her since "it's not ready to be seen." Lenny then states his is in the same state.
  • Alice asks Lenny if he masturbates every night (he says that he doesn't) and then adds that she does. Lenny then states that he got excited over such talk and we then see him having to hide his crotch around the corner of a building while still talking with Alice, Barbara and John.
  • Alice and Barbara state that they're Catholic, so they don't have sex, but they do talk about it. Lenny then says that he wouldn't want to get a girl pregnant and Alice then says that he couldn't get Barbara pregnant anyway since she hasn't had her period. Lenny has no idea what she's talking about, and Alice then incredulously asks if he knows what a vagina is (he says that he does).
  • Alice then briefly goes on about how she saw her parents "doing it" in the missionary position when she was ten (causing Lenny to be surprised that Catholics have their own position). John then explains to Lenny about the missionary position, and Lenny then states that the man is always on top, but John tells him that there are other positions (such as having the woman on top). The others then ask what it looked like, but she tells them that they'll have to see for themselves. Lenny then says that he's going to watch his aunt and uncle, but Alice says that won't happen since "if you screw after the seventh month (of pregnancy) you can have contractions" and the baby would be born premature (John thought you couldn't have sex while pregnant because the baby could "bite off the d*ck").
  • Alice says that women can have two types of orgasms, real and fake, and Lenny wants to know how you can tell the difference (but she just laughs in response).
  • John tells Lenny that maybe his parents would have sex for him (to watch) if they knew it would help him complete his goal.
  • Alice runs into the deli and tells John and Lenny that Barbara has something to show them. When Lenny wonders if Barbara got her period, Alice says no and then makes a sexual gesture with her fingers (one going back and forth through a circle formed by her other fingers). They then all rush out into a field where they find Barbara with a pornographic comic book she found among her father's belongings. The four then excitedly look through it and talk about "screwing" and "humping." One then says (while looking at the drawings that we don't see), "Look at the boner on that guy."
  • John and Lenny get a brief glimpse of Hedy lying on her bed (via her reflection in her bedroom mirrors) and see part of her underwear. Lenny then states (in voice over) that he was going to watch her "bang her brains out" with her boyfriend.
  • A comment is made that Hedy "puts out" and Lenny wonders when she does so. John then says that she and boyfriend probably "do it" at night since that's when "they all do it."
  • After Hedy says that her boyfriend in an OBGYN, Lenny says to himself (in voice over) that if that boyfriend knew how to deliver babies, he probably knew something about making them.
  • Acting like he's holding binoculars to see what Lenny might be looking at with them, Polinsky spots Hedy in her bedroom bending over and showing some cleavage (he then refers to Lenny as a pervert).
  • One of the boys mocks, "Oh baby, baby, let's do it now" (about Hedy and her boyfriend). Alice then tells Lenny, "I don't see why it's so important to see her screwing." She then adds that he should wait until he does it with some girl who would have sex with him, but then reiterates that Catholic girls don't do it.
  • Lenny and John go out into an empty lot across from Hedy's place at night to spy on her and her boyfriend via binoculars. John chickens out and leaves, but Lenny then sees Hedy standing with her back to the window and her boyfriend lowering her dress. We then see Hedy's bare back as well as the complete side of her bare breast (only briefly) as the two make out. Polinsky then shows up, Lenny runs off, and Polinsky then looks around to see what Lenny was watching and catches another glimpse of Hedy and her boyfriend.
  • Someone sarcastically says, "And maybe if your mother screws Howdy Doody she won't get splinters."
  • Lenny imagines Hedy saying, "Before I go, would you like to get inside my pants?" (instead of what she really says about asking if he'll water her plants).
  • After Lenny's pants fall down, we briefly see him in his underwear.
  • Noting that Hedy and her boyfriend haven't seen each other for a while, one of the boys comments that the boyfriend will be "horny as hell."
  • One of the girls asks Lenny how he's going to see Hedy "screwing" if she broke up with her boyfriend. Lenny then says that he couldn't watch her have sex after he got to know her so well in their evening of talking and sharing stories.
  • Sent out for help when Norma goes into labor, Lenny runs into Hedy's house and then her bedroom where he spots her having sex with a man. As such, he sees everything but we only see glimpses of the encounter that include two bodies intertwined on the bed writhing about, some movement, her on top with some movement, some kissing and nuzzling on the neck, etc. We don't, however, see any explicit nudity.
  • A man tells Lenny that it's not easy for some guys to keep their "d*ck in their pants" (about the above) and that it was only about sex and that it's normal. Lenny then argues that "humping" Hedy while he's married isn't normal. That man then says that everybody "screws around."
  • Polinsky gives Lenny a sex education book. We don't see anything in it, but Lenny then becomes an expert on all things sexual and amazes John, Alice and Barbara with his newfound knowledge. That includes him saying that Phil could get "laid" after the baby is born, but that they can't have intercourse for the first six weeks. He then adds that there are other ways of doing it, including fellatio, cunnilingus (both of which he mispronounces), and anal intercourse (even though, he adds, he finds that personally distasteful). He then adds something about genital manipulation.
  • Lenny and Alice briefly make out.
  • SMOKING
  • Phil smokes cigars in a few scenes, Hedy smokes twice (with one montage showing her ashtray filling up with used butts, but we don't see her smoking them) and some miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • In voice over narration, Lenny tells us that his father died a year ago.
  • Lenny gets upset with his mom and stepfather when they announce that they're sending him off to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle (Lenny thinks that his stepfather is trying to get rid of him). Lenny also acts disrespectful toward his stepfather on various occasions.
  • Hedy mentions that her father died when she was young and that her new stepfather molested her.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Teenagers' growing interest and curiosity about sex and Lenny's attempts to observe two people having it.
  • Hedy mentions that her father died when she was young and that her new stepfather molested her.
  • Lenny learns that his late father had an affair in the past and that the woman had an abortion, and that knowledge of that mostly ended his parents' marriage.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We briefly see some boys on a street fighting.
  • Hedy's boyfriend comes out and punches Polinsky when he thinks he was watching him and Hedy in her bedroom (he was, but only briefly and after finding Lenny with binoculars doing the same).
  • Lenny wrecks on his bike and lands on his hands, resulting in some bloody cuts.



  • Reviewed November 20, 2000 / Posted November 24, 2000

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