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"THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY"
(2001) (Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy None Heavy Mild 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 Minor Heavy Heavy Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: After a yearlong separation, a writer and his actress wife celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary with various friends and neighbors and must deal with various developments and revelations that occur during the party.
PLOT:
Joe (ALAN CUMMING) and Sally Therrian (JENNIFER JASON LEIGH) are celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary after surviving a yearlong separation. Despite their reconciliation, things are still rocky for the couple. Not only are they planning to move overseas and start a family, but Joe, a novelist, is also adapting one of his works - that's loosely based on Sally's life -- into a movie that he's set to direct, but hasn't cast his actress wife in the film.

Nevertheless, the two have decided to throw themselves an anniversary party where various friends, neighbors and business acquaintances are invited. Among the attendees are Jerry Adams (JOHN BENJAMIN HICKEY), the couple's business manager, and his wife Judy (PARKER POSEY); Sally's good friend Sophia Gold (PHOEBE CATES) and her famous actor husband Cal (KEVIN KLINE); and filmmaker Mac Forsyth (JOHN C. REILLY) - who's directing Cal and Sally in his latest film - and his wife Clair (JANE ADAMS), who's a neurotic, new mother.

Others attending the party include Sally's best friend, Levi Panes (MICHAEL PANES), who's still getting over a recent breakup; Gina Taylor (JENNIFER BEALS), Joe's best friend and professional photographer with whom he may have had a relationship in the past; and Skye Davidson (GWYNETH PALTROW), the young actress Joe has hired to play the part inspired by Sally.

Then there are the neighbors Ryan (DENIS O'HARE) and Monica Rose (MINA BADIE) who don't get along at all with Joe and Sally due to the latter's dog, Otis, reportedly barking all night and keeping Ryan, who's also a novelist, from getting his latest work done. Although tensions have risen to the point of possible litigation, the four have decided to make an attempt at patching up their problems.

As the party and evening wear on and Ryan and Monica clearly feel like outsiders, various revelations and discoveries are made, some of which are fueled by various partygoers taking ecstasy.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, drug use and nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ALAN CUMMING plays a novelist turned screenwriter/director who's about to make his first movie. He's just gotten back together with his wife after a yearlong separation. At their anniversary party, he's happy to see that Skye has brought ecstasy for everyone and ends up briefly fooling around with Monica.
  • JENNIFER JASON LEIGH plays his actress wife who isn't happy with her marriage or the fact that Joe didn't cast her in his movie that's loosely based on her. She also uses lots of strong profanity and admits to having an abortion. She takes ecstasy as well.
  • JOHN BENJAMIN HICKEY plays their high-strung business manager who uses lots of strong profanity.
  • PARKER POSEY plays his wife who also takes ecstasy at the party and swims topless in the pool.
  • PHOEBE CATES plays Sally's friend who tries to talk her out of going to London and having a baby there. She also uses strong profanity.
  • KEVIN KLINE plays her husband, a seasoned actor who smokes a joint and uses strong profanity.
  • DENIS O'HARE plays Joe and Sally's neighbor, a novelist who's very upset with their dog's barking at night but agrees to attend their party anyway. He uses some profanity.
  • MINA BADIE plays his wife who's equally cold to the Therrians regarding the dog issue, but loosens up once she experiments with ecstasy and ends up making out with Joe.
  • JANE ADAMS plays a new mother who acts neurotic until she finally takes some ecstasy.
  • JOHN C. REILLY plays her husband, a director who shares a joint with Cal and is upset with the film he's directing that stars Sally and Cal.
  • JENNIFER BEALS plays Joe's best friend, a professional photographer who may have been romantically involved with him at some point in the past.
  • MICHAEL PANES plays Sally's good friend who uses strong profanity and has sex with Skye on the first night he's met her.
  • GWYNETH PALTROW plays an actress who's agreed to star in Joe's film and brings ecstasy to the party as a party gift (and takes some). She also has sex with Levi whom she's just met.
  • 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. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 64 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some of the dialogue is sexually explicit, while several sexually based encounters are briefly or partially seen. Several women are seen topless in various scenes that aren't sexual in nature.

    Various characters take ecstasy and are "high" from it for an extended amount of time during the latter part of the film. Others drink throughout the party and a few share a joint. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes and a couple's already rocky marriage becomes even more strained when it's revealed that the wife secretly had an abortion (which leads to him slapping her). Related scenes with them yelling and screaming at each other may be unsettling or tense to some viewers, as might a brief, unrelated one where a person nearly drowns in a pool.

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may want to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what's present and occurs in it.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Joe offers some champagne to Jerry and Judy (with the latter then seen drinking some). Once the party starts, most of the people, except for Ryan who's been dry for 8 years, drink champagne and other alcoholic beverages (such as Sally drinking beer and Monica appearing to get a bit tipsy, etc.).
  • Cal smokes a joint and then passes it to Mac who takes a puff from it.
  • Skye mentions having been in rehab twice.
  • Skye announces that she brought Joe and Sally ecstasy as their party gift and Joe is quite animated/excited about this. Moments later, they and various other people at the party, including Skye, Judy, Cal, Sophia, Mac, Clair and others all take the drug. We then see their various reactions to it for most of the rest of the film (such as Monica suddenly lightening/loosening up and Joe dancing about).
  • There's some talk about Joe's sister being an addict (we never meet her) and later hear that she died from an overdose.
  • After nearly drowning in the pool, Mac states that he must really be stoned.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Sally isn't happy to see various people attending her party, including Skye (whom she refers to as a "bitch") and Gina, both of whom she eyes jealousy when they're with Joe.
  • Joe and Sally have both types of attitudes toward their neighbors, Ryan and Monica, who have the same back at them, all over Joe and Sally's dog barking at night, and this leads to a few tense and mean-spirited confrontations between them.
  • Sophia makes somewhat of a disparaging remark about the neighbors, not realizing she's doing so in front of them.
  • Jerry acts mean and disrespectful to others while getting too worked up about a game of charades the group is playing.
  • Some may see Monica as having both types of attitudes for "disobeying" Ryan and experimenting with ecstasy, while others may see him as having both toward her for the way he treats her after she's taken it.
  • Joe and Monica (under the influence of ecstasy) briefly but passionately kiss, with him holding/groping her bikini-covered bottom.
  • Those opposed to abortion will probably see Sally as having both when she admits to having one two weeks earlier (and only now telling Joe about doing so).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A yelling and screaming match between Joe and Sally (resulting in him slapping her) may be tense to some viewers.
  • A person nearly drowns at the bottom of the pool and has to be saved.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "For f*ck's sake(s)," "Don't f*cking tell her," "F*ck you," "Why don't you go f*ck yourself?" "What the f*ck was that?" "You f*cking cow," "Who the f*ck do you think you are?" "You are a f*cking disgrace," "You stupid c*nt," "You f*cking c*nt," "Oh sh*t," "Don't put up with any sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Scared the sh*t out of me," "You're damn straight," "Bitch" (what Sally calls Skye), "Kiss your ass," "What the hell is that?" "Shut up," "You're making an ass out of yourself," "Bastard," "Idiots" and "Up the wazoo."
  • Many people at the party take ecstasy to get high.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has lyrics telling the listener to join the party and have a hearty glass of rum, while another sounded like it may have had the "f" word in it (but the lyrics were hard to understand).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 64 "f" words (1 used sexually and another referenced that way), 17 "s" words, 3 slang terms using female genitals ("c*nt"), 4 slang terms for breasts ("t*ts"), 5 damns, 3 asses (1 used with "hole"), 3 hells, 7 uses of "God," 5 of "Oh my God," 2 each of "G-damn" and "Oh God" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "For God's sakes," "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see Joe and Sally in bed together under the sheets, but beyond some brief caressing and hugging, nothing sexual occurs. We do, however, see her cleavage and a brief partial shot of her in her underwear.
  • Later, however, the two of them passionately kiss in bed and he gets on top of her (both are mostly clothed) with him kissing her bare belly, rolling her over and doing the same to her bare butt while playfully partially pulling down her pants. He then rolls her over again, kissing her belly and then mouth. A phone call interrupts them before anything else happens.
  • Sally shows more cleavage in the low-cut dress she wears to the party.
  • After someone mentions that Skye is getting four million dollars to appear in Joe's film, Gina mockingly states that she's heard that Skye gives "incredible blow jobs" and then adds something about "no hands."
  • While playing charades, Jerry makes a motion at his crotch causing some to guess "penis" as part of the answer to his clues.
  • Two women sing a song in honor of Joe and Sally and include lines about the magic being when the married couple undresses, the two of them "getting it on in a major way" and something about making babies the natural way (or something like that).
  • Under the influence of ecstasy, Clair removes her top and jumps into the pool (we see her bare breasts and her in her panties or bikini bottom). Later, Judy is also in the pool topless (with Mac watching the two of them like a director), and we see many more views of their bare breasts (both in and out of the pool).
  • We briefly see Joe kissing what looks like Sally on the ground (both are clothed).
  • Sophia refers to Joe as a sexually ambiguous man-child.
  • Joe and Cal talk about Skye and both mention that she has "nice t*ts" (with Joe, under the influence of ecstasy, stating he wants to go over and touch them).
  • We see Sally's bare back and part of the side of her bare breast as she changes clothes.
  • We see Monica in her bikini, as well as Mac in his brief-like swimsuit.
  • Joe and Monica (under the influence of ecstasy) briefly but passionately kiss, with him holding/groping her bikini-covered bottom.
  • After Sally tells Joe "F*ck you" and then "F*ck Monica," she makes some comment about the latter being what she interrupted between him and Monica (although they were only kissing and not having sex).
  • Sally walks in and sees Skye on top of Panes having sex under the sheets (we see them in that position with some brief movement, but no sounds or nudity).
  • Jerry asks Judy (his wife) whether she likes "f*cking outdoors," and she replies that she doesn't as a rule.
  • SMOKING
  • Cal smokes once.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Joe and Sally had some sort of breakup and/or related problems in their marriage, but they're back together when the film starts. The problems arise again, however, eventually leading to some yelling and screaming between the two.
  • A person learns that their sister died from an overdose (we don't see it, but do see the person's reaction).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Marriages that become strained.
  • Ecstasy, its effects, and the dangers of taking it.
  • How neighbors get along, particularly when there's a dispute over some complaint, such as a barking dog.
  • Abortion - Sally admits to having one and not telling Joe until two weeks later.
  • Sophia's comment on kids robbing parents of the ability to off themselves (commit suicide) when things go bad.
  • VIOLENCE
  • While arguing rather vehemently with her, Joe violently pushes Sally with his finger (while making a point) and then slaps her rather hard across the face (after learning she had an abortion).



  • Reviewed June 12, 2001 / Posted June 22, 2001

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