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"LIFE AS A HOUSE"
(2001) (Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Given only a few months to live, a former architect sets out to rebuild both his dilapidated seaside house and his relationship with his estranged family.
PLOT:
George Monroe (KEVIN KLINE) is an architect who's just lost his job and discovered that he only has a few months to live. Instead of going into deep depression, however, he decides he must accomplish a few things before his time runs out. First, he decides to rebuild the seaside house where he and his ex-wife, Robin Kimball (KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS) lived for a number of years before divorcing over a decade ago.

While George still lives in the dilapidated shack next to single mom Coleen Beck (MARY STEENBURGEN), whom he once dated, and her teenage daughter, Alyssa (JENA MALONE), Robin is raising their disillusioned and disturbed teenage son, Sam (HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN), with her second husband, Peter (JAMEY SHERIDAN) who's not overly close to Sam or his own kids.

Realizing his house project would be a good time to get to know his estranged son, George arranges for Sam to spend the summer with him. Not surprisingly, the teen would rather get high or make some quick bucks doing sexual favors for pimp Josh (IAN SOMERHALDER), who's dating Alyssa, but George doesn't give up in trying to connect with his son.

As the summer wears on, and his time begins to run out while he must contend with neighbor David Dokos (SAM ROBARDS) who immensely dislikes him and his construction project, George purges his own personal demons while reconnecting with his family and rebuilding his seaside home.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or are older teens looking for a date movie, it's probably not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, sexuality and drug use.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KEVIN KLINE plays an architect fired from his job who finds he only has a few months to live. Armed with such knowledge, he sets out to rebuild both his house and relationship with his estranged family and finds happiness while doing so. He also uses some strong profanity.
  • KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS plays his ex-wife who starts to fall for him again despite being married to someone else. She briefly uses strong profanity.
  • HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN plays George and Robin's disillusioned and angry teenage son who does drugs, uses strong profanity and briefly acts as a homosexual prostitute. He does, however, eventually come around and act more normal/responsible as he starts to connect with his father.
  • JAMEY SHERIDAN plays his stepfather who's not close to him and begins to realize he's losing Robin as well.
  • JENA MALONE plays Sam's promiscuous friend who showers with him and briefly makes out with George despite dating someone else.
  • MARY STEENBURGEN plays her single mom and George's next-door neighbor who once dated him, but now has an affair with Alyssa's young boyfriend.
  • SAM ROBARDS plays a neighbor who has it out for George and his construction project.
  • 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 quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 19 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present, while several sexual encounters are seen or partially seen.

    They include a woman having sex with her teenage daughter's boyfriend (with some nudity and movement), that daughter fooling around with another male teenager as they shower together, and that male acting as a homosexual prostitute for cash (we don't see anything other than him running from a car with his pants down). Some nonsexual nudity is also present.

    All sorts of tense family moments are present (an angry and disillusioned teen being forced to live with his estranged father for the summer, a woman and her second husband's marriage failing, etc.), while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Various instances of drug use are present (smoking pot, inhaling fumes, pill taking), while the central teen's look, attitude and behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate. Some drinking and smoking also occur, while some brief violence is also present. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home, you may want to take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information about the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Sam sprays something into a bag, puts a noose around his neck and inhales the vapors while partially hanging himself in his closet (all to get high), but the closet bar collapses.
  • Later, Sam appears somewhat high.
  • A friend of Sam's talks to him about going someplace for the summer where they could "score" (possibly referring to drugs).
  • Sam finds some of George's prescription pills and downs several of them. We later see him take more pills.
  • Robin's husband has a beer.
  • A fried of Sam's smokes a joint and Sam asks if he has any more "weed," causing the friend to ask if he has any cash. We then see both of them smoking joints, and the friend later gives him a bag of pot.
  • Sam admits to taking Vicodin and states that he likes how it feels not to feel. When George asks what Sam would be doing if he had gone off with his friend for the summer, Sam replies he'd probably be getting high. He then admits that he hasn't taken any drugs for two days.
  • George tells Sam that his father drove drunk and killed himself, his wife (George's mother) and another woman.
  • Josh asks Coleen for a beer and she goes to get him one.
  • Robin's husband has a drink in front of him.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • George urinates off the side of his cliff-side backyard, while his dog urinates on the side of a neighbor's car. Later, the dog has urinated on the neighbor's newspaper.
  • Sam tells George that he's not going to "take a dump" with George in their one-room garage that's serving as their entire house (with exposed toilet).
  • We see a brief scene from one of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies where Freddy terrorizes a young woman and we then see bloody razor marks on her body.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Sam initially has both toward most everything and everyone.
  • Coleen has both for having an affair with Josh, her daughter's boyfriend (and he has both for cheating on Alyssa).
  • Various neighbors have bad attitudes toward George and his house.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • We see a brief scene from one of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies where Freddy terrorizes a young woman and we then see bloody razor marks on her body.
  • Josh accidentally falls from a roof, slightly injuring himself (a concussion, a broken leg and two fingers).
  • George collapses onto the floor.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None are seen, although George relates a story of holding a gun to his sleeping father's head, but chickening out before shooting him.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "There's no f*cking deal," "No f*cking way," "Go f*ck yourself," "It's none of your f*cking business," "You're too f*cking late," "Mind your own f*cking business," "F*ck you," "Selfish f*ck," "You f*cking pulled it off," "What the f*ck?" "Give a sh*t," "We haven't built sh*t," "Oh, sh*t," "You look like sh*t," "Queer," "Wacko," "Taking a dump" (defecate), "Jeez," "Piss," "Pain in the ass," "Hurt like hell" and "You look like crap."
  • Sam has many piercings (ears, below his lip, etc.) and is into something resembling the Goth lifestyle (clothing and musical tastes).
  • Sam sprays something into a bag, puts a noose around his neck and inhales the vapors while partially hanging himself in his closet (all to get high). He also finds and takes George's prescription medicine.
  • George jumps from his seaside cliff into the ocean far below him and Sam later does the same.
  • A friend convinces Sam to have oral sex with a male stranger and be paid several hundred dollars to do so.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 19 "f" words, 8 "s" words, 1 slang term each for male and female genitals ("d*ck" and "p*ssy"), 4 craps, 1 ass, 1 hell, 5 uses of "Oh God," 2 each of "God" and "Swear to God" and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see George in his underwear (as does Alyssa - who's in her panties -- from her bedroom window as she gazes at him) as he gets up from bed and goes out to his backyard cliff to urinate. Coleen then confronts George about that and asks if he gets some sort of perverse pleasure exposing his penis to her 16-year-old daughter (he replies that his exposure does not face her window and then wonders how far out her window she had to stick her head to see his "d*ck.").
  • A female nurse compassionately caresses George's face and after he tells her that no one has touched him in years, she does so some more. He then caresses her neck, but this unsettles her and she gets up and leaves.
  • We see George's bare butt as he steps out of an outside shower he's built next to his garage.
  • A friend convinces Sam to have oral sex with a male stranger and be paid several hundred dollars to do so. We then see Sam get into a car with a stranger, but don't see anything happening inside the car. We do see Sam come racing out with his pants down - but we don't see anything other than him in his boxers -- as a police car pulls up.
  • After George and Robin reminisce about her licking Sam's ear in the past to help heal him, she says that she has several hours to kill and wonders how she can help and where she'd be most useful. George then jokingly asks if she's referring to her hands or her tongue (possible sexual connotation).
  • As Sam showers in Coleen's house and we see his shape through the smoked glass of the shower, Alyssa walks in. When he objects to her seeing him, she says she's seen lots of people and that it's not a big deal. She then says that she's coming in and removes her top and panties (we see them, but no nudity). She's then in the shower with him and both are nude with him being embarrassed, but we don't see anything.
  • We see Sam and Alyssa in the shower together again, but don't see any nudity. She asks him if he's sure he's totally into guys (based on what a friend of his said). He then says that he's not gay, looks down to his crotch (that we don't see) and says, "Hello?" (referring to his state of arousal). She looks there and admits that she was wondering about that. He then asks if she knows what it's like "to jack off in an armoire" (she says she doesn't). He then wants to kiss her, with her saying she thought they were just friends. The two of them then passionately kiss while standing nude in the shower (again, we don't see anything explicit), but he then apparently climaxes (and makes a related sound) with her amusedly responding, "Oh, yuck" and then tells him he's going to scrub down the shower.
  • We see sexual movement under the covers and hear a tiny bit of sexual sounds. We're led to believe this is Robin and Peter, but it turns out to be Coleen and Josh, and we then see them having sex with movement and sounds (him on top) but no nudity. As an alarm goes off, she stands up and we see her bare butt and the side of her bare breast. The two then quickly dress as Alyssa has come home.
  • Alyssa comes on to George while he's under the medicated influence of his prescription drugs. She says that she wants him to try something with her and then proceeds to lie on top of him partially and kiss him (we see part of her breast during this). She then asks if he felt anything and then states that when he and Coleen were dating, she saw them kissing and he looked like a good kisser. Just as abruptly as she arrived, however, she then leaves.
  • We see Coleen in a bra and panties that she's trying on in anticipation of Josh visiting her again and we see part of her bare butt in them.
  • George and Robin make out - clothed - on his bed and Sam walks in on them.
  • Coleen calls Josh's cell phone and starts talking without listening to who's answered it (which is George). She says that he's driving her crazy and that she wants him in her bed right now.
  • We see Sam and Alyssa in the bed the next morning after he arrived at her place very upset (so we don't know if anything sexual happened). Coleen then says that she'd be more comfortable if he slept in the guestroom, causing Alyssa to state she'd be more comfortable if her mother hadn't slept with Josh.
  • Sam makes a double entendre about "six inches" regarding a house being too tall for code and his encounter with another man earlier in a parked car.
  • SMOKING
  • Sam smokes several times.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • George and Robin are divorced, Sam is their disillusioned son living with Robin and his stepfather, and he doesn't get along with any of them (at one point asking them all to die and leave him alone).
  • Sam isn't particularly happy to learn that he must go and live with his father for the summer, saying he doesn't even know him.
  • George then tells Sam about how much he hated his father, and then talks about this again after some more heated moments between him and Sam. George then goes on about how one time he held a gun to his father's head as he slept, but then chickened out.
  • George tells Sam that his father drove drunk and killed himself, his wife (George's mother) and another mother.
  • Robin and Peter's marriage - already shaky to begin with - deteriorates as the story progresses and she starts to fall once again for George. She then tells George that her husband has left her, and one of her young kids states that he doesn't care if his dad ever comes back.
  • Sam is mad with George when he learns the truth about his condition.
  • Various people must deal with a family member being sick and then dying.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • How you would react and what you'd do if you discovered you only had a few months to live.
  • The important things in life.
  • How working on a similar goal/project can help people connect with each other.
  • Sam being an angry and disillusioned teen - and the reasons he's that way -- who begins to act happier and more responsibly once he begins to reconnect with his estranged dad.
  • VIOLENCE
  • David drives after George's dog (for urinating on the side of his car) and drives through the flowers trying to get him (he doesn't).
  • After being fired and told that he can't take any of his architectural models with him, George proceeds to destroy many of them with a pole of some sort.
  • Angry at his son and/or not connecting with him, George violently throws a tray into the wall.
  • We see a brief scene from one of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies where Freddy terrorizes a young woman and we then see bloody razor marks on her body.
  • George pushes Sam down onto a bed to control him.
  • Josh accidentally falls from a roof, slightly injuring himself (a concussion, a broken leg and two fingers).



  • Reviewed October 1, 2001 / Posted November 2, 2001

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