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"ROCKET SCIENCE"
(2007) (Reece Daniel Thompson, Anna Kendrick) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Dramedy: A high school student tries to make his school's debate team when he's recruited by a current member despite him being a stutterer.
PLOT:
Things aren't going well for New Jersey high school student Hal Hefner (REECE DANIEL THOMPSON). Not only have his parents, Juliet (LISBETH BARTLETT) and Doyle (DENIS O'HARE) split up, and his kleptomaniac brother Earl (VINCENT PIAZZA) constantly belittles him (usually by calling him by various girls' names), but he's also a stutterer.

Accordingly, he's shocked when Ginny Ryerson (ANNA KENDRICK) suddenly invites him into her universe. That isn't because she's pretty and he doesn't seem her type (although both are true), but mainly because she wants him to be her new partner on the debating team at Plainsboro High School.

Since her former teammate, Ben Wekselbaum (NICHOLAS D'AGOSTO), abruptly quit the team after a disastrous performance at the last championships, Ginny needs a replacement and convinces Coach Lumbly (MARGO MARTINDALE) that she can mold Hal into a champion debater. Accordingly, and as Juliet starts dating Judge Pete (STEVE PARK) and eventually has him move in with his teenage son, Heston (AARON YOO), Hal tries his best to overcome his speech impediment.

When Ginny shocks everyone by transferring to another school, Hal is upset because he thought he was making process, not just with debating, but also romantically with her. Thus, when not practicing for the upcoming championship, he spends his time across the street from Ginny's house in the bedroom of young Lewis (JOSH KAY), hoping he can see what she's up to, particularly when it appears she's gotten friendly with her new debate team partner.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might, especially if they're into art-house type comedies.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some sexual content and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • REECE DANIEL THOMPSON plays a high school student from a broken home with an abusive brother who's shocked when Ginny recruits him for the debate team, mainly because he has a serious problem with stuttering. He tries to overcome that, briefly uses strong profanity, makes out with Ginny, briefly drinks and appears intoxicated, and is upset when she abruptly transfers to another school and thus out of his life.
  • ANNA KENDRICK plays the debate team master who recruits Hal despite his speech impediment. Yet, she's only looking out for herself and her desire to manipulate others. She also smokes, and uses some profanity.
  • VINCENT PIAZZA plays Hal's brother who's a kleptomaniac and treats Hal in a demeaning but brotherly way.
  • NICHOLAS D'AGOSTO plays her former debate team partner who abruptly quit the team and moved away. He later reluctantly agrees to help Hal with the upcoming debate championships.
  • JOSH KAY plays a younger boy who lives across the street from Ginny and allows Hal to use his bedroom window to spy on her.
  • LISBETH BARTLETT plays Hal's mom with a penchant for driving men out of her home and life.
  • STEVE PARK plays her latest beau, a judge who moves in with her and the boys.
  • AARON YOO plays his teenage son who moves in with them and eventually joins Hal on the debate team.
  • MARGO MARTINDALE plays the debate team coach who's unsure of Hal being on the squad, and is upset when Ginny abruptly transfers to a rival school to be on its team.
  • 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 R-rated dramedy. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word (several more are used as "mother f-ing"), while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, as is some making out and the sounds of a sexual encounter from another room, while briefly seen illustrations from the Kama Sutra show various sexual positions.

    Drinking and smoking occur (including by teens, with one being intoxicated), various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, and various thematic elements and tense family material are present. Some behavior may be enticing for some kids to imitate, including some of the violent variety.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.



    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Juliet and her boyfriend have wine with dinner.
  • Juliet has a drink.
  • Among the things we see that Earl has stolen is a bottle of booze.
  • A song has the lyrics "When I'm out walking I strut my stuff yeah I'm so strung out. I'm high as a kite I just might stop to check you out" (potentially drug related).
  • Juliet and Pete have wine with dinner.
  • A teacher's wife or girlfriend has beer.
  • Hal drinks booze from the stolen bottle in Earl's room. He then has more, and later appears intoxicated. Mad that Ginny abandoned him as a debating partner and now seems to be dating another boy, he repeatedly throws a cello at her house, eventually hitting and breaking a front window.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A miscellaneous girl has a nose bleed and we see a tiny bit on a towel she's holding.
  • A teacher talks of some boy who pees himself in gym class and another who has irritable bowel syndrome (but nothing is seen regarding that).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • During a performance (where a young woman is dressed as Abe Lincoln), a student heckler yells out, "Lincoln's a chick" and "I thought it was sh*t itself."
  • Ginny condescendingly tells Earl that her family pays more in taxes than his (regarding her right to sit on the school bus seat of her choosing, superseding his choice).
  • About Hal being a stutterer, Ginny says that "deformed" people are the best for debate since they have deeply rooted sources of anger.
  • Hal uses Lewis' room to spy on Ginny's room across the street.
  • Earl habitually calls Hal various girls' names (all in a demeaning, brotherly fashion).
  • We learn that Earl is a kleptomaniac, and he states that what he's stolen is his.
  • Ginny uses the term "retarded," but not about a person.
  • Ginny tells Hal he'll be her debating partner, and she's chosen him so she can mold him how she likes.
  • A student indicates "die" to Hal.
  • Hearing Hal on the phone for Ginny, Ginny's mom asks him, "Virgin, is that you?"
  • Earl talks through the wall to Hal, telling him not to fail at the debate since if he does, the entire family will thus fail.
  • Hal learns that Ginny transferred to a rival school without telling him.
  • Hal steals a debate trophy.
  • Mad that Ginny abandoned him as a debating partner and now seems to be dating another boy, Hal, who's intoxicated, repeatedly throws a cello at her house, eventually hitting and breaking a front window.
  • Earl tells Hal that he hates him, as do all others (also done in a brotherly fashion).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Heston (with a toy cowboy gun) and Lewis (with a toy bow and arrow) run around.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Get your own mother f-ing plan" (said just like that), "I thought it was sh*t itself," "Don't do it, little sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "D*ck art," "I'm done with masturbation and I want to show her," "Do the dance" (sex), "Give me a break," "Lincoln's a chick," "Ass-kissers," "I ferreted you," "Weasel," "Freaked out," "Retarded," "Good afternoon, ladies and germs," "Would royally screw up," "Just keep on, keeping on," "Did rat poison and a straw come with that?" "You doofus dunce" and "It's crap."
  • Some debaters talk at a very high speed.
  • Ginny and Lewis give each other "the finger" through the window. Later, a student gives "the finger" to Hal, and even later, Hal's debate teacher gives "the finger" to Hal or someone at the girl's new school (for Ginny abruptly leaving her school to join the other). At the end of the film, Hal gives "the finger" to Ginny.
  • Earl habitually calls Hal various girls' names (all in a demeaning, brotherly fashion).
  • Hal spies on Ginny from Lewis' window across the street.
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti in a city.
  • Ben has Hal yell out debate points to him from another building top.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has the lyrics "When I'm out walking I strut my stuff yeah I'm so strung out. I'm high as a kite I just might stop to check you out" (potentially drug related) and "Let me go on big hands I know you're the one. Body and beats I stain my sheets I don't even know why" (possibly sexually related).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word (along with three uses of "mother f-ing"), 7 "s" words, 1 slang term for sex ("do the dance"), 1 using male genitals ("d*ck"), 2 asses, 2 craps, and 1 use each of "G-damn," "Good God" and "Oh Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a couple making out in a balcony.
  • We see a young couple making out.
  • We hear that the official school debate will be about abstinence, and various student debaters (including Ginny) spout out various facts, many of them sexually related, but not explicit in detail. This occurs in various scenes throughout the film, and includes talking points about sexual diseases, people dying as virgins, masturbation, sexual dysfunction, etc.
  • We (and Hal) hear the sounds of Juliet and her boyfriend having sex in another room, with pleasured and bed thumping sounds, as well as one saying, "Use your finger" (with Hal putting his pillow over his head to try to muffle those sounds).
  • Heston looks at a male beefcake photo and seemingly likes what he sees.
  • We see the camera focusing on Ginny's clothed butt (in a flashback).
  • Hal joins a younger boy, Lewis, whose bedroom is across the street from Ginny's house (and a view of her bedroom). Hal asks if he knows if Ginny wears a bra, and the boy then asks if Hal wants to see one (but Hal is uncomfortable when Lewis retrieves and puts one on).
  • Ginny shows a little cleavage.
  • Ginny talks of a locket that's missing, adding that her mom thinks it was stolen by a pedophile to suck on or use for other erotic purposes. With his wording coming out the wrong way, Hal then tells her he doesn't think anyone would think of her sexually like that, thus unintentionally hurting her feelings.
  • Earl attacks Hal in the shower (in a brotherly fashion) for having gone through his stolen things (we only see Hal's bare torso).
  • Hal peeks through a slightly open door to spot Ginny lying face down on her bed in jeans (with the camera going up her body, representing his POV, with her then telling him to stop).
  • About the official abstinence debate, Hal tries to sound out Ginny about her true feelings about the topic, with him saying he doesn't think it's a good idea, but she doesn't take the bait).
  • We quickly see brief views of the standard drawings of the Kama Sutra (various sexual positions) as Lewis shows it to Hal. He adds that his father said that he and his mom have done all of them, some twice, adding that he could have been the Barry Bonds of the Kama Sutra. Lewis then says he tried one position with his pants on with the dog, but the dog wouldn't sit still and then died a month later.
  • Juliet and Pete make out.
  • A song has the lyrics "Let me go on big hands I know you're the one. Body and beats I stain my sheets I don't even know why" (possibly sexually related).
  • Ginny shows some cleavage.
  • One student mentions a concert for "sexlessness" (regarding the abstinence debate).
  • Hal and Ginny awkwardly but passionately make out in a janitor's closet.
  • Earl tells Hal that the latter needs an agenda/plan, such as "Today I'm getting a blow job." Hal then says he doubts a "BJ" is high on Ginny's agenda. Earl then says once Hal has a "blow job," he'll understand, adding that it's like walking through a brick wall. Other related talk ensues.
  • Hal suddenly blurts out debate-related talking points about masturbation to Ginny's mom at her door. He then says he's done with masturbation and wants to show Ginny (meaning for the debate, but sounding different to the mom, although she doesn't react adversely to that).
  • Hearing Hal on the phone for Ginny, Ginny's mom asks him, "Virgin, is that you?"
  • A male teacher comments that open relationships (presumably referring to the freedom to have sex with others) don't work.
  • We briefly see some miscellaneous making out.
  • The narrator states that Hal stopped dreaming a certain kind of dream about Ginny (meaning sexual), adding, "At least most of the time."
  • Ginny and her new boyfriend make out.
  • About Ginny, Hal refers to himself as "her ex-lover."
  • A miscellaneous female student asks Hal how far he got with Ginny. He asks if groping through a shirt is considered second base, with the teen responding "maybe in public school."
  • The sexual phrase "do the dance" is used.
  • SMOKING
  • Ginny smokes at least twice.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Hal doesn't show any reaction as he hears his parents arguing. His father then tells him and Earl that he's moving out, saying he doesn't know what to say and that he can't put it into words.
  • Earl habitually calls Hal various girls' names (all in a demeaning, brotherly fashion).
  • Earl tells Hal that he hates him, as do all others (also done in a brotherly fashion).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Stuttering.
  • Kleptomania.
  • Debating and debate teams.
  • People who look out only for themselves and use others for their own means.
  • The question of whether a voice can travel from one person to another, like yawning or mono.
  • Earl tells Hal the latter's problem is that he has no agenda for life.
  • We hear that the official school debate will be about abstinence, and various student debaters (including Ginny) spout out various facts, many of them sexually related, but not explicit in detail. This occurs in various scenes throughout the film, and includes talking points about sexual diseases, people dying as virgins, masturbation, sexual dysfunction, etc.
  • About Hal being a stutterer, Ginny says that "deformed" people are the best for debate since they have deeply rooted sources of anger.
  • Ginny stating that the best debaters don't believe in anything, as it gets in the way of such behavior.
  • A male teacher comments that open relationships (presumably referring to the freedom to have sex with others) don't work.
  • The comment that one isn't a failure, but rather it's the activity that failed you.
  • The advice about not trying to outlive one's limitations.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Earl attacks Hal in the shower (in a brotherly fashion) for having gone through his stolen things (we only see Hal's bare torso).
  • Hal repeatedly kicks a bus tire in anger (about Ginny abandoning him).
  • Mad that Ginny abandoned him as a debating partner and now seems to be dating another boy, Hal, who's intoxicated, repeatedly throws a cello at her house, eventually hitting and breaking a front window.
  • The boys see Pete being emotionally upset about their mom breaking up with him. While exiting the house, he falls over a bike that he then picks up and throws into the yard.
  • Hal throws a stolen trophy back toward but not directly at a school (it just lands on the ground).



  • Reviewed July 9, 2007 / Posted August 17, 2007

    Other new reviews available this week include:

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