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"THE BOYS ARE BACK"
(2009) (Clive Owen, Nicholas McAnulty) (PG-13)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A new widower tries to figure out how to raise his young boy, as well as his estranged teenage son from a previous marriage, and balance that with work and dealing with his grief.
PLOT:
Joe Warr (CLIVE OWEN) is an Australian sportswriter who's often away from his wife, Katy (LAURA FRASER), and their young son, Artie (NICHOLAS McANULTY), while on the job. That changes when Katy dies from cancer, and while he gets support from his coworker and friend, Digby (ERIK THOMSON), as well as Katy's parents -- Barbara (JULIA BLAKE) and Tom (CHRIS HAYWOOD) -- Joe must figure out how best to deal with this sudden change and its effect on Artie.

He decides the best idea is to be as permissible as possible, resulting in a messy home. That not only raises the eyebrows of Barbara, but also Laura (EMMA BOOTH), the divorced parent of one of Artie's classmates who becomes the widower's friend. Things get even more complicated when Joe learns that his ex-wife, Flick (NATASHA LITTLE), will be sending their teenage son, Harry (GEORGE MacKAY), from England to live with him and Artie.

From that point on, Joe tries to balance his newfound single dad responsibilities with both his job and working through his grief.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans or someone in the cast or the director's past works, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some sexual language and thematic elements.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CLIVE OWEN plays an Australian sportswriter who must contend with his wife's untimely death and the raising of their son, as well as his son from a previous marriage when that teen unexpectedly shows up to live with them. He uses profanity, drinks, and tries to raise the kids in an unconventional method with as few rules as possible.
  • NICHOLAS McANULTY plays his son who's too young to be able to deal with his mother's death, but enjoys the surprise appearance of his older half-brother.
  • GEORGE MacKAY plays Joe's teenage son from a previous marriage who he essentially abandoned to start a new life with Katy. He isn't particularly happy to be living with his dad or being sent there by his mom who doesn't seem to want him. He uses some profanity.
  • EMMA BOOTH plays a divorced mother who befriends Joe and tries to help him out with his situation, although she eventually doesn't appreciate him taking her help for granted. She drinks some.
  • LAURA FRASER plays Joe's wife, seen both in flashback when she's dying from cancer, as well as a spirit of sorts (in his imagination) who chats with him about the raising of the boys.
  • JULIA BLAKE plays Katy's mom, still grieving over her adult daughter's untimely death, and not approving of the way Joe is raising her grandson and Harry.
  • NATASHA LITTLE plays Joe's ex-wife who sends their son to live with Joe so that she can move on with her life.
  • ERIK THOMSON plays Joe's friend and coworker who tries to help out. He drinks some.
  • 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 an incomplete "f" word and at least 6 "s" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is also present.

    There's a brief punch to the nose (with slightly bloody results), drinking occurs in various scenes, and there's a brief drug-related comment. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while all sorts of potentially imitative behavior (some of it possibly dangerous) is also present. Some scenes might be unsettling for some viewers, especially those involving a wife/mother dying from cancer. That and lots of subsequent tense family material occurs throughout the film.

    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.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, some camera movement is present.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see Tom with wine and Digby holding a beer.
  • People have drinks at a party.
  • Various people drink at Katy's wake, including Joe, while Katy's father holds a glass of wine. Later, Joe has more, Barbara doesn't think that's a good idea, and Joe grabs the bottle and leaves (we briefly see him drinking outside, alone).
  • Joe has a beer by a pool.
  • Joe has a beer in a motel room.
  • Joe and Digby have beer.
  • Artie informs Joe that he wants to live with Laura, prompting Joe to drink, while Artie then cries and tells his dad he'll do whatever he wants.
  • Joe has a beer.
  • Some teens appear to be drinking outdoors at night.
  • Joe and Laura have wine, and her later offers her more, but she declines, saying that she's driving. In between that, she says that her daughter asked what dope was, and she replied it was the name of the girl's father. She then tells Joe that her ex-husband is better now that he's clean.
  • Laura tells Joe that he drinks too much.
  • Joe has a drink in a bar (where others drink) and then asks for another.
  • Hearing that the boys' father is out of town, a group of teens or twenty-somethings descend upon the house and throw a wild party where they drink and trash the place (the results of which are seen after the fact), much to Artie and Harry's horror at the time.
  • Joe has a beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • While jumping on the trampoline, Artie says "hands up if you like" "cow pee" and "dog farts."
  • About chickens around the house, Harry states they "sh*t" on you.
  • Laura runs in, stating she needs to use the loo.
  • A stranger punches Joe in the face, bloodying his nose, after Joe defends the honor of a female bartender to whom the male stranger was sexually rude.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • We hear that Joe left his first wife, and Harry at the age of 6, to be with Katy.
  • Artie repeatedly kicks the back of the empty passenger's seat in Joe's vehicle. When Joe gets him some food to settle him down, the boy throws that aside in a tantrum where he starts kicking the seat again.
  • Joe has few rules for his boys (some may see that as lack of good parenting).
  • So that he doesn't leave his boys home alone for several days straight, Joe pretends to be covering the Australian Open from the event, while he's really watching it on TV at home and writing his stories from that.
  • About who to root for in a women's tennis match, Joe says he doesn't know whether to choose long legs or big breasts. When a female associate asks about the women's skills, Joe jokingly replies "breasts."
  • A man asks a female bartender, "Do you know why you should masturbate with these two fingers?" (holding up two of his own) He then delivers the punch line, "Because they're mine." That man then punches Joe in the face, bloodying his nose, after Joe defends the honor of that woman.
  • Hearing that the boys' father is out of town, a group of teens or twenty-somethings descend upon the house and throw a wild party where they drink and trash the place (the results of which are seen after the fact), much to Artie and Harry's horror at the time.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Katy is suddenly in pain at a party and then collapses, followed by a view of Joe looking concerned by her hospital bed.
  • Joe returns to a motel room to find Artie lying motionless on the floor, and he panics, only to find the boy okay and off in a daze watching TV.
  • Joe has to grab Artie to stop him from darting out into traffic at night in the rain.
  • Harry watches a horror film, and we hear a female character screaming, but don't see anything scary/unsettling on the screen in our very brief views of the footage.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • We see Harry playing a first-person shooter video game (nothing graphic).
  • Katy's father states he had his shotgun at the ready while his wife dispersed a party at Joe's house while he was gone.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "She's sicker than sh*t," "Oh sh*t," "What the hell /are you doing/happened/were you doing?" "You moron," "You idiot," "Rubbish," "No you bloody can't," "I've got nibbles," "Don't be so bloody precocious," "Better get your ass over there," "That's runny cheese" and "God yeah."
  • We see Joe driving along the beach with Artie riding on the hood, leaning back on the windshield, while Joe shoots at him with a water pistol (while still driving).
  • We see Artie going down a fairly high zip line without any sort of safety attachment. He does this again later in the film, as do other kids.
  • Artie repeatedly kicks the back of the empty passenger's seat in Joe's vehicle. When Joe gets him some food to settle him down, the boy throws that aside in a tantrum where he starts kicking the seat again.
  • Artie does a cannonball into a filled motel room Jacuzzi (and then again, with Joe's consent).
  • To entertain his young child, Digby rides by on the riding lawn mower, first leaning back with no hands on the wheel, and then again lying on his front.
  • Artie states that cat food looks better than it tastes (we don't see him with any).
  • Joe has Artie steer as they drive their SUV through a deep puddle several times, spraying water everywhere.
  • Joe and Artie have a water balloon battle in the house.
  • We briefly see Artie riding his bike in the house.
  • While jumping on the trampoline, Artie says "hands up if you like" "cow pee" and "dog farts."
  • Joe and Artie have a pillow fight.
  • Harry and Artie play soccer inside the house.
  • Artie puts his mouth up against some glass and blows, thus making his mouth and cheeks expand.
  • Harry and Artie hit fruit with a tennis racket (outside).
  • Following Joe being stressed and angry, Harry swipes dishes off counters and throws stuff that also breaks while upset with his dad.
  • A man asks a female bartender, "Do you know why you should masturbate with these two fingers?" (holding up two of his own) He then delivers the punch line, "Because they're mine."
  • Hearing that the boys' father is out of town, a group of teens or twenty-somethings descend upon the house and throw a wild party where they drink and trash the place (the results of which are seen after the fact), much to Artie and Harry's horror at the time.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • An incomplete "f" word (partially used with "mother") and another possible one, 6 "s" words, 3 hells, 1 ass, 1 bugger, 1 crappy, 1 sodding, 5 uses of "For God's sakes," 4 of "God," 3 each of "Jesus" and "Oh my God," 2 each of "Christ," "My God," "Oh God" and "Oh Jesus" and 1 use of "For Christ's sakes."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Joe and Katy briefly kiss at a party.
  • We see young Artie in his underwear.
  • We briefly see a male swimmer in just swim trunks, while we hear Joe writing about Michael Phelps where he mentions if one ran their hand over his naked flanks -- adding, "And you know you want to" -- that it would be a smooth as the material of his suit.
  • Laura shows some cleavage.
  • We see Artie shirtless and he repeatedly jokes, "I've got nibbles" (nipples).
  • Joe tells Harry that he got Katy pregnant and then left Harry's mother, adding that they used to fight all of the time.
  • Among the lists of Katy's attributes, Joe says one was "sex appeal."
  • Laura shows some cleavage.
  • When Laura realizes Joe would like her to watch his kids as he has to travel out of town for work, she's mad and asks what makes him think she won't be spending the time having non-stop sex with her lover.
  • About who to root for in a women's tennis match, Joe says he doesn't know whether to choose long legs or big breasts. When a female associate asks about the women's skills, Joe jokingly replies "breasts."
  • A man asks a female bartender, "Do you know why you should masturbate with these two fingers?" (holding up two of his own) He then delivers the punch line, "Because they're mine."
  • Joe briefly visits his ex-wife who's pregnant by her boyfriend.
  • We see Harry shirtless while asleep in bed, while Artie strips down to his underwear (seen) and then removes that (not seen) to put it in the washer.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Katy is suddenly in pain at a party and then collapses, followed by a view of Joe looking concerned by her hospital bed. We then see him talking about this with Digby, saying she's "sicker than sh*t" with cancer, and then see him caring for her at home, including carrying her from the bathroom to the bedroom and then retrieving her portable oxygen mask. Artie hears her gasping for air and then peeks in to see her with an oxygen mask on. Later, Joe wakes up to find her gone from the bed, and locates her in the kitchen, confused and making lunch for Artie despite it being nighttime.
  • Joe tells Artie that the boy's mom is quite sick, will probably fall into a deep sleep and never wake up, and that she's likely going to die soon. Artie doesn't seem to be able to process this information, asking if she'll die before dinner or bedtime, with Joe saying no one knows.
  • We see Joe in bed with Katy in his arms, and Artie comes in to hug her, and it's then that we realize she's dead. Artie then goes off and tells his grandmother who's then obviously emotionally distraught, as is Joe (all look on as she's later removed from the house in a body bag on a gurney).
  • Artie states that he wants to die so that he can be with his mother.
  • Joe cries about his loss while out in a field.
  • We hear that Joe left his first wife, and Harry at the age of 6, to be with Katy.
  • Joe imagines seeing and talking to Katy about Artie (this and later such imagined visits end up reminding him of his loss).
  • Joe returns to a motel room to find Artie lying motionless on the floor, and he panics, only to find the boy okay and off in a daze watching TV.
  • Joe imagines seeing and talking to Katy in the supermarket.
  • Artie informs Joe that he wants to live with Laura, prompting Joe to drink, while Artie then cries and tells his dad he'll do whatever he wants.
  • Joe learns that Harry is coming to stay with them.
  • Barbara tells Joe that she still sees Katy from time to time.
  • Joe tells Harry that he got Katy pregnant and then left Harry's mother, adding that they used to fight all of the time.
  • Harry and Artie play soccer inside the house, but Joe yells at them for not putting their clothes in the laundry.
  • Laura says that her daughter asked what dope was, and Laura replied it was the name of the girl's father. She then tells Joe that her ex-husband is better now that he's clean.
  • Following Joe being stressed and angry, Harry swipes dishes off counters and throws stuff that also breaks while upset with his dad.
  • Joe learns that Harry returned to England while he was gone.
  • Barbara doesn't want Joe to take Artie home after a wild party there while he was gone, but Joe snatches up his boy and confronts her with, "You can't replace your daughter with my son!"
  • Joe and Artie head off to England to see Harry, but the teen doesn't want to see his father. Nevertheless, Joe perseveres and the two talk about things. That includes Harry asking why his father left him as a kid, states that his mother hates him, and then accuses Joe of never wanting him.
  • Joe wants Harry to return to Australia to live with him and Artie, but Harry says he can't (although he later changes his mind).
  • Joe briefly visits his ex-wife who's pregnant by her boyfriend.
  • When Joe informs Artie that Harry won't be moving back in with them, the boy repeatedly hits his father, including on the head, but Joe just takes it.
  • Joe realizes Artie is missing in a busy train station, and briefly panics before spotting him.
  • Joe imagines seeing and talking to his wife again (and then she's gone, just like all of the previous times that's occurred).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Death of a spouse/parent.
  • How young children do/don't deal with traumatic losses in their lives.
  • Joe's comment that the map of a child's mind is confused and goes around in circle.
  • Joe's comment that Neverland is always more or less an island.
  • Joe has few rules for his boys.
  • Laura tells Joe that he drinks too much.
  • Single parents who must balance work with raising their kids.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Following Joe being stressed and angry, Harry swipes dishes off counters and throws stuff that also breaks while upset with his dad.
  • A stranger punches Joe in the face, bloodying his nose, after Joe defends the honor of a female bartender to whom the male stranger was sexually rude.
  • When Joe informs Artie that Harry won't be moving back in with them, the boy repeatedly hits his father, including on the head, but Joe just takes it.



  • Reviewed September 22, 2009 / Posted October 16, 2009

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