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"HOW TO DEAL"
(2003) (Mandy Moore, Trent Ford) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Minor Moderate Mild 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
Heavy Minor Heavy Heavy Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A disillusioned teenager tries to resist falling for a classmate for fear of being involved in a relationship she's sure will ultimately fail.
PLOT:
Halley Martin (MANDY MOORE) is a 17-year-old junior in high school who's disillusioned about love and relationships. That isn't exactly surprising considering that her flamboyant deejay dad, Len (PETER GALLAGHER), has just divorced her bitter mom, Lydia (ALLISON JANNEY), so that he can elope with his on-air co-host.

She also sees that her older, high maintenance sister, Ashley (MARY CATHERINE GARRISON), is always fighting with her fiancÚ, Lewis (MACKENZIE ASTIN), and simply can't understand why people feel the need to get together when it appears they'll inevitably break up. It doesn't help that Halley's best friend, Scarlett (ALEXANDRA HOLDEN), has fallen for a guy and is oblivious, at least in Halley's eyes, of the romantic icebergs that loom ahead.

Despite all of that, Halley finds herself attracted to her rebellious and unconventional classmate Macon Forrester (TRENT FORD). Yet, despite his desires, she doesn't want to fall for him. As the year quickly zips along, and as Ashley and Lewis' wedding date approaches, and tragedy and surprise visit her friend, Halley tries to sort out her feelings about the various familial and romantic relationships in her life.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Teenage girls and fans of Moore will likely be drawn to it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For sexual content, drug material, language and some thematic elements.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MANDY MOORE plays a teenager who's disillusioned about love and relationships due to seeing them being strained and/or failing all around her. She smokes one cigarette, fools around with Macon and uses some profanity while trying to sort out the relationships in her life.
  • ALLISON JANNEY plays her bitter mother who's still reeling from her recent divorce. She drinks, briefly uses strong profanity and apparently has sex with a man she's now seeing.
  • MARY CATHERINE GARRISON plays Halley's older and high maintenance sister who's obsessed with her upcoming wedding and fights with her fiancÚ. She is drunk in one scene.
  • ALEXANDRA HOLDEN plays Halley's romantic-at-heart best friend who finds herself pregnant and must deal with tragedy in her life.
  • TRENT FORD plays the unconventional classmate who falls for Halley and tries to get her to become his girlfriend. He fools around with her in several scenes, but temporarily abandons her for several days following a car accident.
  • PETER GALLAGHER plays Halley's flamboyant deejay father who divorced Lydia for a younger co-worker.
  • MACKENZIE ASTIN plays Ashley's fiancÚ who wants to make her happy.
  • NINA FOCH plays Halley's flighty grandmother who smokes pot and is high several times.
  • 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 brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are used. Some sexually related dialogue is present, while various couples are briefly seen fooling around on couches and in bedrooms (with kissing, caressing and some partial disrobing). One such encounter results in a teen pregnancy and the girl decides to keep her baby.

    Various characters drink (one to the point of being quite intoxicated) and one briefly smokes, while a grandmother smokes a joint and is high then and in a later scene. Some bad attitudes are present as is some tense family material (divorced parents, unhappy teens, etc.). A minor character suddenly collapses and dies (from a heart defect), while there's a brief car accident.

    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
  • Lydia and Scarlett's mom have wine.
  • Lydia has wine.
  • People have champagne and drinks at a wedding.
  • Halley's grandmother smokes a joint in the bathroom with her. We hear she was supposed to stop using it (for medicinal purposes), but the grandmother states she had a headache and now feels much better. She later acts high there and at dinner where her family and Ashley's future in-laws have wine.
  • Lydia and a date have wine.
  • Adults have drinks at a party.
  • Teens drink at a party, including Halley and Macon who finish some and then have more.
  • Halley returns home to find Ashley passed out while propped up against the door. Halley gets her inside, where Ashley acts rather drunk (stating she just came from her bachelorette party). The next day, Ashley has a hangover.
  • Len and his new bride have martinis.
  • Halley's grandmother states that she's just been smoking a little marijuana (following a fall). She's then seeing things and later states that she has "the munchies."
  • Various people have wine with dinner.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see urine in several test cups for multiple pregnancy tests.
  • Macon has a little bit of blood on his lip following a car accident.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Halley has a bad (mostly sarcastic) attitude toward her dad's new girlfriend.
  • Some girls badmouth Scarlett for not wearing black to a funeral (she had no black dress to wear).
  • Scarlett's mother says, "Thank God you told me in time" about her daughter's pregnancy (possibly indicating she wants her to have an abortion, but she doesn't address that again).
  • Ashley's future mother-in-law has a condescending attitude toward Ashley and her family.
  • Halley sneaks out and disobeys her mom's grounding order.
  • After being involved in a car crash together, Macon leaves Halley in the hospital and doesn't come to see her there or speak to her for days.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A classmate dies of a heart defect (we see him collapse on a soccer field and others gather around him lying on the ground).
  • A car comes into the path of another car, causing it to swerve and crash into a tree (briefly seen).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "Bullsh*t," "Hell of a long wait," "Butt kissing," "That sucked," "Bastard," "Bimbo," "Geek," "Freak," "Loser," "Give me a break," "Shut up," "That is so freaky," "Freaked out," "You've got a broomstick up your butt" and "Suck."
  • Halley wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • To get Halley's attention at night, Macon tosses small stones against her window.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 4 "s" words (1 mouthed), 3 slang terms for sex ("humped," "doing it" and "hooked up"), 1 ass (used with "hole"), 1 damn, 1 hell, 1 S.O.B., 8 uses of "God," 7 of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "God forbid" and "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see Halley in small and tight cut-off jean shorts while she does yoga and her rear sticks up into the air.
  • Halley walks in on Scarlett and her boyfriend fooling around (we hear brief sexual sounds before Halley opens the door). We then see Scarlett with the sheets pulled up around her (as she kneels on the bed) and her boyfriend has something wrapped around him (with Halley handing him something else to cover his crotch, but nothing explicit is seen). Later, Halley tells Scarlett, "You didn't tell me you were doing it." Scarlett then tells Halley that it's like "everything you thought." Halley then asks her if she's going to let herself turn into mush over something like sex.
  • Lydia rants about men who can't keep their zipper up when a younger woman comes along and then tells her future video suitor, "You ain't getting any from me."
  • Scarlett and her boyfriend kiss in a card store.
  • Halley tells Scarlett to enjoy Mike and fool around with him, but not to fall in love with him.
  • Halley and Macon briefly kiss.
  • Halley and Scarlett go through a checklist of the latter possibly being pregnant, including breast tenderness. They then realize that she is indeed pregnant.
  • A small dog humps Lydia's leg at a family gathering. She later states, "I'm the one who got humped by a dog in there."
  • There's some brief passionate and clothed kissing between Halley and Macon.
  • After Halley tells Scarlett that she and Macon are just friends, Scarlett adds, "With benefits."
  • Halley and Macon lie on the couch together, making out (with their bodies somewhat intertwined, but both are clothed). His shirt is then unbuttoned and her outer top is removed. He starts to put his hand up her top and they kiss some more, but Lydia then walks in and interrupts them.
  • Two adults make out at a party.
  • Macon takes Halley into a bedroom where they see what looks like oral sex (a clothed teen over a guy's crotch on the bed, but she turns out to have been looking for an earring, or so she says, but we don't see anything sexual occurring). After the two guys leave, that girl talks about Scarlett being pregnant and says that she didn't know that Scarlett and Mike "hooked up." The girl then leaves, Macon returns and he and Halley lie together on the bed where they then kiss (both are clothed). He puts his hand on her bare belly and she then climbs on top of him on the bed and kisses him. He then removes her top (we see the back of her bra) and gets on top of her (mostly seen in head and shoulders only shots). She then pushes him off her (we see her in her bra from the front), puts her top back on and leaves.
  • Halley finds a male stripper's thong underwear around Ashley's neck following a bachelorette party.
  • Ashley tells Halley that their mom sneaks out on Fridays to have sex with Steve, her new boyfriend.
  • Scarlett's mother shows a bit of cleavage in several scenes.
  • Halley and Macon make out while standing and dressed.
  • SMOKING
  • Halley finds a box of cigarettes in a bathroom and smokes one (coughing as she does).
  • We briefly see a cigar in a cartoon.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Halley's parents have just gotten divorced and Lydia is bitter about that in various scenes.
  • We hear that Scarlett's mom is also divorced.
  • Halley and her mom argue. When Lydia says that Halley used to talk to her, Halley says that Lydia was too busy hating Halley's father to hear her. Halley then says that she hates her father, but then says that she doesn't (at least not all of the time).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Being disillusioned about love and romance, and the refusal to fall for someone due to fear of being emotionally hurt or left sometime down the road.
  • Divorce and dealing with it as a teenager.
  • The notion that things happen, and you just have to deal with them.
  • A classmate dies of a heart defect (we see him collapse on a soccer field and others gather around him lying on the ground).
  • Teen pregnancy.
  • Scarlett's mother says, "Thank God you told me in time" about her daughter's pregnancy (possibly indicating she wants her to have an abortion, but she doesn't address that again). Scarlett later briefly comments on the abortion option regarding her pregnancy, but says that she's going to keep the baby.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Lydia angrily bangs on a soda machine when it doesn't deliver the goods.
  • A car comes into the path of another car, causing it to swerve and crash into a tree (briefly seen and from the car's point of view). That results in Halley being in the hospital for a bit and she leaves with a cast on her arm.
  • Macon briefly struggles with Len over control of a radio station microphone and then pushes him back in his chair (so that he can address Halley over the radio).



  • Reviewed July 16, 2003 / Posted July 18, 2003

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