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"RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS"
(2001) (Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn) (PG-13)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: As she grows up over twenty years, a young woman must deal with the many unexpected setbacks and challenges that life throws her way as she tries to make something of herself.
PLOT:
As 35-year-old Bev Donofrio (DREW BARRYMORE) and her 20-year-old son, Jason (ADAM GARCIA), set out to overcome one last hurdle to her publishing her life story, "Riding in Cars With Boys," we see a series of flashbacks that lead them up to this point in 1996.

Back in 1965, 15-year-old Bev lives with her parents, Theresa (LORRAINE BRACCO) and Leo (JAMES WOODS), a local cop, but spends time chasing boys with her friends, Fay (BRITTANY MURPHY) and Tina (SARA GILBERT). While at a party doing just that, 18-year-old dropout Ray Hasek (STEVE ZAHN) defends her honor and the two quickly become an item.

One thing leads to another and Bev, like Fay, finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, greatly disappointing her parents. After weighing her options, Bev decides to marry Ray. After having Jason, she works as hard as she can so that she can win a scholarship to attend college to pursue her dream of writing. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to her, one thing after another - particularly motherhood and Ray's deadbeat ways -- ultimately derail her plans.

As the years pass, however, and Jason (LOGAN ARENS & CODY ARENS) gets older and Ray and his friend, Lizard (DAVID MOSCOW) create more unexpected challenges in her life, Bev finds herself questioning her potential, future and her ability to be a good mother. From that point on - in both the past and present -- she does what she must and can to get on with life and overcome the various setbacks and challenges thrown her way.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of Barrymore, someone else in the cast or what are called "chick flicks," they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For thematic elements, drug and sexual content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DREW BARRYMORE plays a young woman who finds herself pregnant as a teen, marries the father, uses profanity, briefly takes some drugs, smokes some, and then tries to make something of her life (although that includes drying marijuana in one scene to raise money).
  • STEVE ZAHN plays Bev's deadbeat husband who got her pregnant when she's a teen. He also uses profanity, drinks a lot and then becomes a heroin junkie.
  • JAMES WOODS plays Bev's father, a sheriff, who smokes and is upset with her and how her life has turned out. Accordingly, he's occasionally standoffish and/or demeaning to her.
  • LORRAINE BRACCO plays Bev's mother who likewise isn't happy to learn that her daughter is pregnant as a teen, but does help in caring for her grandson.
  • ADAM GARCIA plays Bev's son as a 20-year-old who wants to break free from his mother and her influence on his life.
  • BRITTANY MURPHY plays Bev's best friend who also ends up pregnant as a teen, uses some profanity, takes some drugs (and dries marijuana to make money in one scene).
  • SARA GILBERT plays another of their close friends.
  • DAVID MOSCOW plays a friend of Ray's who convinces Bev and Fay to help him dry marijuana in exchange for money.
  • 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 look at the content found in this PG-13 rated drama/comedy. Profanity consists of at least 5 uses of the "s" word, while a handful of other expletives and various colorful phrases are also uttered. Some non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is present, while a young couple fools around in the backseat of a car (while another couple is in the front). Those encounters (that are not graphic or explicit), or ones that are not seen, lead to both girls being pregnant at the age of 15.

    That leads to tense family moments between the girl and her parents, and those continue with the girl and her deadbeat husband as they try to raise a family (with many of the problems occurring before or being in the awareness of children).

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including that husband who becomes a heroin addict (no use is seen) and spends all of the family's money. Other drug use involves several characters drying marijuana at home for sale and two women popping unknown pills that make them high. Other characters drink and/or smoke.

    Some brief violence is present (a quick fight, some pushing and a fist through some glass) as are various instances of imitative behavior. Meanwhile, a child is briefly in danger after falling through a hot tub cover, and some bodily fluids (amniotic fluid and vomit) are briefly seen.

    Should you still be concerned about the picture and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you more closely examine our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what's present and occurs during the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see Ray with a beer.
  • Bev and Ray share a bottle of liquor, and we later see Fay's boyfriend drinking.
  • People have wine and beer at a wedding reception, including Ray having beer, and Bev, her father and Fay having wine.
  • Ray arrives home a bit drunk and states that his boss made him go drinking with him.
  • Lizard drinks beer.
  • Bev and Fay take some pills that Bev says Ray is always trying to get her to take. Moments later, we see the two women acting high from taking the drugs.
  • Lizard smokes what looks like a joint while holding a beer at a party where others also drink (he later comes out of a room snorting, as if he may have been doing other drugs). He then tells Bev that he'd pay her a lot of money if he could dry some "weed" (marijuana) in her oven. She declines the offer, but we later see the two of them and Fay doing just that (and the women get busted for doing so).
  • Ray has a beer.
  • Ray informs Bev and her father that he's a heroin addict. We later see him going through withdrawal from not taking the drugs, but he later returns to doing so (although we don't see the actual taking of them). He then tells Bev that he needs a little each day to keep him straight, but not to get high.
  • Ray's new wife drinks.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Ray's hand and arm are bloody after he breaks a door window with his fist (to get inside the locked door).
  • Bev's water breaks and we see the puddle of fluid at her feet.
  • We hear farting sounds from a baby.
  • Bev complains that she got baby urine in her mouth when changing her baby (not seen).
  • We see Ray vomit on a bed while having heroin withdrawal problems.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • A football player that Bev likes wants nothing to do with her, and makes fun of her when she talks with him in front of others.
  • After learning she's pregnant, Bev briefly discusses abortion, and then tries to force herself to miscarry by falling or throwing herself down the stairs (but she can't force herself to do that and the whole scene is played for laughs).
  • Bev's father has a bad attitude toward her when she announces she's pregnant, even being demeaning to her at her wedding reception, and won't see her in the hospital after she's had her baby.
  • Bev smokes while extremely pregnant.
  • Ray shows up late for an appointment that Bev had, and is later absent when Bev needs him to watch their son during an important interview.
  • Some women make fun of Bev when they see her working in a restaurant.
  • It sounds like Bev calls Fay's mother "Ice crotch."
  • After a friend of Bev's says goodnight to him, Jason (at a young age) gives him "the finger" as Bev carries him back into the house (she doesn't see what he does).
  • Bev is upset with Jason when he admits that he turned her in for drying pot, and tells him that he ruined their lives (since she was going to use the money she earned to make them a better life).
  • Ray's new wife has a bad attitude toward Bev and her special request of him.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Jason (at a young age) falls through the cover of a hot tub (in the winter) and goes under the water, with Bev having to reach in and rescue him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I'm sh*t without you," "Holy sh*t," "Nuts" (crazy), "You idiot," "Tramp," "Shut up," "Moron," "Screwed up," "Bitch," "Knocked up" (pregnant), what sounded like "Ice crotch" (what Bev calls Fay's mother), "I'm screwing this up" and "Bust my ass."
  • Bev licks her hand and uses her saliva to wet down Jason's hair.
  • Fay stuffs her shirt to make her chest look bigger.
  • At a party, Ray finds some birth control pills after rummaging through a bathroom and takes one (downing it with water from a bidet).
  • During a fight, Ray urges a football player to throw a punch and when the player does, Ray bends over so that the punch hits the top of his head, injuring the player's hand.
  • A guy spins a plate on the end of a long stick.
  • Ray's hand and arm are bloody after he breaks a door window with his fist (to get inside the locked door).
  • We see that Ray has a tattoo and then more later in the film.
  • After a friend of Bev's says goodnight to him, Jason (at a young age) gives him "the finger" as Bev carries him back into the house (she doesn't see what he does).
  • Jason repeatedly throws snowballs at his front door.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A Billy Idol song that plays on the radio has the lyrics, "With a rebel yell, she cried more, more, more."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 5 "s" words, 4 slang terms for breasts ("boobs"), 2 asses (1 used with "hole"), 1 damn, 1 hell, 2 uses each of "God," "My God" and "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "For God's sakes" and "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • After Fay and Bev practice kissing (by themselves), Fay tells Bev to wait until a boy sticks his tongue into her mouth.
  • Leo asks Bev what she wants for Christmas (she being a young girl) and she states that she wants a bra for her "boobs" so that she can impress some boy she likes (many uses of "boobs" occur during this conversation that makes him uncomfortable).
  • Fay jokes that a boy Bev likes has had his hands "in everything you've got." We then briefly see them in their bras in the backseat of a car as they trade dresses before a party.
  • A young couple makes out at a party, with the young woman eventually jumping up and straddling the young man as he stands (her legs wrapped around his body). We later see him carrying her and briefly see her panties as her feet hit opposite sides of a door.
  • At the same party, Ray finds some birth control pills after rummaging through a bathroom and takes one (downing it with water from a bidet).
  • Bev shows some cleavage in a few scenes.
  • Fay and a boy make out in the backseat of a car while Bev and Ray sit up front. It's mostly played for laughs, with the couple moving around so much (with little seen) that they repeatedly kick/bump Bev's seat. We do hear kissing and pleasured sounds, however, as well as brief glimpses of the guy on top of Fay (with her knee up alongside his body - all seen with the front seat blocking most of the view). We also hear the guy asking what's in her chest and he repeatedly pulls out material she had stuffed in her bra. Bev and Ray eventually kiss, and we then later see Fay smoking in the backseat (possibly suggesting she and the boy had sex).
  • Later, when Bev's father talks to her about the above, he tells her button up her blouse. She then tells him not to worry since all they were doing was making out and that she never goes beyond second base with a guy she's just met. She then explains that that means nothing below the waist, and then adds, "My waist. Not his." Once she realizes what she just said and what it implies, she gives him a sheepish look and says, "Oh."
  • We later learn, however, that Bev is pregnant from some encounter with Ray. Several scenes later, Fay announces that she's pregnant (both are teens).
  • We see several views of an infant boy's genitals.
  • We see Bev in her slip.
  • SMOKING
  • Ray, Leo, Bev and Fay all smoke several times, while various other characters also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Bev's announcement of her pregnancy puts a strain on her relationship with her parents, particularly her father.
  • Fay tells Bev that she's getting a divorce since her husband has fallen in love with someone else and has reenlisted in the military rather than come home to her.
  • Bev and Ray's marriage steadily goes downhill as he becomes more of a deadbeat dad and then a heroin junkie, and some of their confrontations and fights occur in front of their son (and includes the young boy hearing his father going through withdrawal problems from trying to kick his heroin habit). She eventually kicks him out which makes young Jason quite sad and then mad (and includes a tearful good-bye scene).
  • Later, there's still some strain between Bev and Jason, who's now a bit older, as he tells her that she's supposed to be the mother and he's supposed to be the kid.
  • Fay's daughtger says that she hates her father, and that at least Jason's father writes to him.
  • Bev is upset with Jason when he admits that he turned her in for drying pot, and tells him that he ruined their lives (since she was going to use the money she earned to make them a better life).
  • Bev and Jason go to see Ray after many years of not having any contact with him.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The various setbacks and challenges that life can throw your way.
  • Teen pregnancy.
  • Drug addiction.
  • Fay stuffs her shirt to make her chest look bigger.
  • At a party, Ray finds some birth control pills after rummaging through a bathroom and takes one (downing it with water from a bidet).
  • Bev's belief that she's not a good mom.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Ray picks a fight with a football player who's been mean to Bev. Accordingly, he pushes the guy, who then pushes him back. Ray then urges him to throw a punch and when the player does, Ray bends over so that the punch hits the top of his head, injuring the player's hand.
  • Bev shoves Ray out of frustration, and later whacks his face through a screen door. Her mother then smacks Ray on the back of the head several times for being late.
  • Ray's hand and arm are bloody after he breaks a door window with his fist (to get inside the locked door).
  • Frustrated again at Ray, Bev pushes and then hits him with her bag. In reaction, Ray violently kicks a trashcan.



  • Reviewed October 16, 2001 / Posted October 19, 2001

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