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"PUMPKIN"
(2002) (Christina Ricci, Hank Harris) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A sorority sister's life is turned upside down when she starts falling for a mentally and physically challenged young man.
PLOT:
Carolyn McDuffy (CHRISTINA RICCI) is a senior at Southern California State University who loves her sorority, Alpha Omega Pi. A bright and bubbly young woman, Carolyn's life has been both easy and happy, much like her elitist mother, Chippy (LISA BANES).

Yet, when sorority president Julie Thurber (MARISA COUGHLAN) - in her quest to outdo a rival house for Sorority of the Year honors - decides they should help train some mentally and physically handicapped athletes for the Challenged Games, Carolyn and her roommate, Jeanine Kryszinsky (DOMINIQUE SWAIN), raise their voices in protest.

Despite their belief that such people aren't "right" and don't convey the image the sorority should project, the two girls - along with the rest of the sorority sisters - are each assigned their own athlete to help. Carolyn's is Pumpkin Romanoff (HANK HARRIS), a young man in a wheelchair who's so taken with her that he can only repeat her name. This, of course, freaks her out.

Her boyfriend, university tennis star Kent Woodlands (SAM BALL), thinks she's making too much out of nothing and adds that such people are just like them beyond God choosing to make them a little different. Carolyn reluctantly continues with the training, but then seems to be off in a different world in both her sorority functions as well as in class, such as with poetry professor Robert Meary (HARRY J. LENNIX).

This is because she now sees that the world isn't perfect and thus she's ready to quit on Pumpkin when he states that she's his friend and says that she's beautiful inside. Carolyn's view of him suddenly changes, and she even tries to set him up with her dateless friend, Cici Pinkus (MELISSA McCARTHY). When that goes disastrously wrong, Carolyn finds herself drawn even closer to Pumpkin, much to the dismay of Kent, her sorority sisters and the boy's overprotective mother, Judy (BRENDA BLETHYN).

From that point on, and as Carolyn's life is turned upside down due to her actions, self-discovery and newfound love for Pumpkin, whose condition improves due to her interest in him, she must decide what's right for her in life.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast or are interested in comedies about sororities and/or Special Olympics type programs, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and a scene of sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CHRISTINA RICCI plays a sorority sister who initially doesn't want anything to do with Pumpkin, but eventually finds herself falling for him. While doing so, she comes to realize that life isn't always perfect. She uses strong profanity, apparently has sex with Pumpkin, and even tries to kill herself after believing she's ruined everyone's lives.
  • HANK HARRIS plays a somewhat handicapped young man who becomes enamored with Carolyn and then begins to come out of his shell - physically and mentally - after meeting her. He also apparently has sex with her.
  • BRENDA BLETHYN plays Pumpkin's protective mother who doesn't want him to grow up and doesn't appreciate Carolyn's personal involvement with him.
  • DOMINIQUE SWAIN plays Carolyn's roommate who changes from a rebel-type to a conforming sorority sister. She uses strong profanity.
  • MARISA COUGHLAN plays the artificially cheery president of Carolyn's sorority who's obsessed with beating a rival house for Sorority of the Year honors and becomes upset with Carolyn for her involvement with Pumpkin.
  • SAM BALL plays Carolyn's boyfriend, a tennis player who's initially tolerant of Pumpkin and Carolyn's time with him, but then changes his ways and becomes a jerk. He uses strong profanity and has sex with another girl after breaking up with Carolyn.
  • HARRY J. LENNIX plays Carolyn's poetry professor who tries to get her to express her true feelings. He uses some strong profanity.
  • 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 consists of at least 16 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is also present, while a sex scene shows a woman having sex on top of a man with partially nudity, movement and sounds.

    Other sexual encounters are implied (with couples seen under the sheets before or after apparent sex) and a couple makes out in bed. Some women in bikinis are seen in old "girlie" magazines, some women show cleavage, and some men are seen in the shower room (from the waist up).

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including in relation to the mentally and/or physically challenged), some drink, and some imitative behavior is present (including an attempted suicide via overdose). Violence includes a fistfight, a car driving off a cliff, exploding and crashing to the ground (resulting in a character apparently being paralyzed from the waist down), and a few instances of characters being struck or knocked around.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Carolyn's mother has a drink.
  • Carolyn's mother drinks wine.
  • Judy has a drink.
  • We see Judy asleep or passed out with a drink in her hand.
  • Judy has another drink.
  • A few people appear to have champagne at a formal dance.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Pumpkin has a little bit of blood from his nose after a fight.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Carolyn's mother has an elitist attitude, as does Carolyn (at first) and various sorority sisters. In one scene, the mother hopes that Carolyn isn't seeing a boy who's African or Jewish (and makes out the last category to be the worst).
  • Jeanine and Carolyn don't think their sorority's idea of supporting the mentally and physically challenged students as being right, saying that they're "different" and not the image that their sorority should convey.
  • Members of a competing sorority have bad attitudes toward Carolyn and her sisters and make fun of Carolyn's connection with Pumpkin.
  • Jeanine tells her challenged student that it's not his or her fault, but that of the system regarding why she can't work with him. She then runs off.
  • Carolyn sets up a friend with Pumpkin on a blind date without informing her of his condition. That friend then runs off in tears after a few moments with Pumpkin, and thinking of how Carolyn views her for fixing her up with him (as if she's desperate for dates).
  • We learn that Kent thinks of Carolyn and her sorority sisters as airheads.
  • Carolyn forgets that she left Pumpkin at the beach by himself (for several hours).
  • Pumpkin's mom doesn't let him grow up and instead treats him like a child.
  • Carolyn's sorority sisters develop a bad attitude toward her. They eventually ostracize her, but then want her back only so that Kent will attend their formal dance and thus make the sorority look good in front of the Greek Council.
  • Kent mockingly imitates Pumpkin (and any challenged person) in a stereotypical fashion. Later, he decides he must fight him over Carolyn and punches him many times.
  • One of Kent's fellow tennis players says he's heard of guys losing their "chicks" to "black guys and lesbians," but not to "retards."
  • Some rival sorority girls put a handicapped parking sign on the steps of the AOPi house with the phrase "For a good time park here" written above the handicap symbol.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Kent erratically drives down the highway at night and then ends up going through a guardrail and off a cliff. As the car falls toward the ground, it explodes and hits the ground in flames where a large fireball then erupts.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What a f*cking relief," "I'll rip your f*cking heads off," "You're f*cking sorry," "This is bullsh*t," "I can't take anymore of this bullsh*t," "Cut the crap," "What in the hell were you thinking?" "You're an idiot," "(Dimwitted) Retarded," "Bitch(es)," "Whore," "Slut" and "Chicks."
  • We see Carolyn and other sorority sisters doing a skit where they dance in Hawaiian outfits (bikini-like tops -- that show some cleavage -- and grass skirts). During this, they do some pelvic thrusting in unison and also wiggle their chests like strippers.
  • Kent mockingly imitates Pumpkin (and any challenged person) in a stereotypical fashion.
  • Some rival sorority girls put a handicapped parking sign on the steps of the AOPi house with the phrase "For a good time park here" written above the handicap symbol.
  • Carolyn appears to be trying to commit suicide by downing just about everything in her medicine cabinet (various pills, Nyquil, contact solution, etc.), but isn't successful.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Some overly dramatic music plays in a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 16 "f" words, 4 "s" words, 2 hells, 1 crap, 7 uses of "Oh my God," 2 each of "G-damn," "For God's sakes" and "My God" and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • As they embrace (while clothed), Kent runs his hand down to Carolyn's butt.
  • We see Carolyn and other sorority sisters doing a skit where they dance in Hawaiian outfits (bikini-like tops -- that show some cleavage -- and grass skirts). During this, they do some pelvic thrusting in unison and also wiggle their chests like strippers.
  • A young woman from a competing sorority says that their social effort is "safe sex in public schools" and then tells Carolyn and Jeanine that she's heard that the mentally challenged are easily aroused and hopes that the girls are taking the proper precautions.
  • We see a shirtless Kent in Pumpkin's bed under the sheets, while she comes and sits on the bed in a robe (nothing happens).
  • Carolyn sees a school counselor about her problems and he asks her standard questions off a sheet such as whether she's "been raped, date-raped, drugged, fondled, assaulted or sexually harassed" of if she's having "sexual feelings for or fantasies toward members of your own sex, your immediate family, your professors, or any non-traditional subject." She says she isn't, but then adds that her feelings aren't sexual, but instead are romantic.
  • Pumpkin's mom finds him looking through his dad's old "girlie" magazines named "Boudoir" and "Playpen" that show women in bikinis (one in a centerfold). She then comments that he shouldn't be looking through them since he doesn't have natural restraints.
  • We see Carolyn in bed and Kent sitting there with her with just a towel around him (he's bare-chested). She then says that she wants things the way they used to be (as she caresses his bare chest and has part of the sheet around her) so they start passionately making out (with him doing some hard breathing and partially lying on top of her), but she then stops them because she wants to talk.
  • Pumpkin's mom bursts into his room in the morning to find him under the covers with Carolyn (they're not doing anything, but appear to be nude under there and it's implied they had sex). As Carolyn then races out of the house (dressed), Judy calls her a "whore" and "slut." Later, Carolyn's mother asks if Pumpkin raped her and Carolyn replies that it was consensual.
  • We see Kent and other tennis players in the showers, but only see them from the waist up. One of the male players, however, stares down at Kent's crotch for some reason, causing Kent to storm out.
  • One of Kent's fellow tennis players says he's heard of guys losing their "chicks" to "black guys and lesbians," but not to "retards."
  • After Carolyn has broken up with him, Kent has sex with a girl from a rival sorority. We see a shot (from behind them and at a little bit of a side angle) of them having sex with her on top of him on a bed. While the lower part of their bodies is under the bedding, we see various glimpses of the side of her bare breast, as well as sexual movement and his pleasured facial reactions, while also hearing sexually related sounds. After they're finished and she's satisfied, that girl tells Kent that Pumpkin must be superman (presumably meant sexually) to have taken Carolyn away from him.
  • Some rival sorority girls put a handicapped parking sign on the steps of the AOPi house with the phrase "For a good time park here" written above the handicap symbol.
  • Carolyn makes out with Pumpkin on the dance floor.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Judy's husband died sometime in the past.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The mentally and/or physically handicapped and people's reactions to them.
  • Sorority life and this film's portrayal of that.
  • The film's use and degree of satire and whether it's successful.
  • The comment that only through suffering can one grow into beauty and the theme that everyone has handicaps of one sort or another.
  • Pumpkin's mom doesn't let him grow up and instead treats him like a child.
  • Carolyn appears to be trying to commit suicide by downing just about everything in her medicine cabinet (various pills, Nyquil, contact solution, etc.), but isn't successful.
  • Kent erratically drives down the highway at night and then ends up going through a guardrail and off a cliff. Later, we see that Kent was injured in the accident and reportedly might not walk again (he's apparently paralyzed from the waist down).
  • VIOLENCE
  • A woman comes over to visit Pumpkin's mom, and while they talk, her mentally challenged son knees Pumpkin in the body (seen in the background of the shot) and then has his arm around his head.
  • Julie throws a framed picture of Carolyn to the floor and then repeatedly stomps down on it in anger.
  • Pumpkin tries to drive his mom's car out of the garage, but ends up accidentally driving into and over some large planters.
  • Kent decides to pick a fight with Pumpkin over Carolyn. He then punches him several times in the face and gut before Pumpkin gets him in a bear hug and then throws him to the sidewalk where Kent hits his head quite hard.
  • Kent erratically drives down the highway at night and then ends up going through a guardrail and off a cliff. As the car falls toward the ground, it explodes and hits the ground in flames where a large fireball then erupts. Later, we see that Kent was injured in the accident and reportedly might not walk again (he's apparently paralyzed from the waist down, but shows no other signs of injury).
  • During the Challenged Games, Pumpkin is run over, knocked down, purposefully stepped on, and hit (including by an elbow) by other players.



  • Reviewed June 25, 2002 / Posted July 5, 2002

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