[Screen It]


(2000) (Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Heavy None Moderate Minor None
Minor None None None Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Heavy Minor Heavy Moderate *Minor

Drama: Having switched plane tickets at the last minute with another man only to have that plane involved in a fatal crash, a guilt-ridden advertising executive goes to check on the dead man's wife and family and then finds himself falling for her.
Buddy Amaral (BEN AFFLECK) is an advertising executive who's trying to get back to Los Angeles from Chicago but finds himself delayed due to bad weather. In the interim, he meets and briefly gets to know several other stranded passengers, including Mimi Praeger (NATASHA HENSTRIDGE), a Dallas businesswoman, and Greg Janello (TONY GOLDWYN), a TV writer.

Flying on free tickets from his airline client, Buddy decides to give his seat to Greg not only so that man can get home to his family for the holidays, but also so that Buddy can have a one-night fling with Mimi. The next morning Buddy awakens to horrible news - the plane he was supposed to board and on which Greg took his place crashed during the night, killing hundreds of people including Greg.

Across the country, Greg's wife, Abby (GWYNETH PALTROW), gets a call from her distraught mother about Greg being on the plane. Certain that he was supposed to be on a flight the next morning, Abby is grief stricken when she receives the fateful confirmation, and there's only so much her friend, Donna (CAROLINE AARON), can do to console her.

Equally upset and struck with both shock and guilt, Buddy begins drinking heavily, eventually spending time in a drug and alcohol rehab center for his alcoholism. Months later and now sober, Buddy tries to get back to work with his business partner and boss, Jim Weller (JOE MORTON), as well as his new assistant, Seth (JOHNNY GALECKI), a gay, recovering alcoholic.

Despite his progress, Buddy still feels guilty about what happened, and thus sets out to find Greg's widow, now a novice realtor, and see how she and her two young sons, Scott (ALEX D. LINZ) and Joey (DAVID DORFMAN), are faring. Without telling her of his unique connection to her late husband, Buddy does what he can to help out Abby, and their friendship eventually turns into romance. Realizing that their relationship is deepening but still subjected to guilt whenever Abby mentions anything about Greg, Buddy tries to figure out if and when he should tell Abby the truth.

Unless they're fans of either Affleck or Paltrow, it doesn't seem very likely.
For some language and sensuality.
  • BEN AFFLECK plays a somewhat cocky but amiable advertising executive who gives his plane ticket to Greg out of kindness, but also so that he can sleep with Mimi. After learning of the fatal crash, he becomes an alcoholic, and after recovering from that decides to check up on Abby (mostly out of guilt). He then enters into a relationship with her (eventually sleeping with her), but can't manage to tell her the truth. He also uses some profanity (including 1 strong use).
  • GWYNETH PALTROW plays a married woman who suddenly finds herself a widow with two young boys. When Buddy shows up in her life, she thinks she's found her Prince Charming. She smokes some and sleeps with Buddy.
  • TONY GOLDWYN plays the unlucky recipient of Buddy's plane ticket who dies in the ensuing crash.
  • ALEX D. LINZ and DAVID DORFMAN plays Abby's sons who initially aren't crazy about Buddy, but eventually warm up to him.
  • NATASHA HENSTRIDGE plays a woman who has drinks and a one-night stand with Buddy at an airport hotel.
  • JOE MORTON plays Buddy's business partner and boss who's concerned about the way he's acting.
  • JOHNNY GALECKI plays Buddy's new gay assistant and former alcoholic who has no problem speaking his mind or getting involved in Buddy's personal matters.
  • CAROLINE AARON plays Abby's supportive friend.


    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).

    The following is a quick look at the content found in this PG-13 rated drama. Profanity is listed as heavy due to at least 1 use of the "f" word, while other expletives and some colorful phrases are also uttered. Two sexual encounters are implied, with one showing a couple in bed afterwards and another showing that first man and another woman making out and partially disrobing beforehand.

    Several characters drink while one briefly becomes an alcoholic and another smokes a few times. Although the actual incident isn't seen, hundreds of people die in a plane accident that leads to some tense family moments for the widow, while the protagonist doesn't tell her his unique and fateful connection to her late husband. Some other bad attitudes are also present. For those sensitive to such matters, there's a brief dog attack scene, but the victim isn't injured (although his clothes are torn up a bit).

    Beyond that, the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned with the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home, you may want to examine our detailed content listings a bit more closely.

  • Buddy has a drink in a limo.
  • Buddy offers to buy an airline employee a drink in the airport. She declines his offer, but we then see him having drinks with Mimi.
  • In shock over the turn of events, Buddy pours himself a drink, but Jim takes the bottle away from him telling him he should take it easy with the drinking.
  • In the aftermath of the airline crash, Buddy starts drinking more and eventually becomes an alcoholic as the months pass. After an embarrassing drunken display at an awards ceremony (where others have drinks and he ends up passed out on the floor), we see him successfully leaving a drug and alcohol rehab center sometime later.
  • People drink at a party.
  • Seth admits to being a recovering alcoholic and catches Buddy nearly drinking the leftovers of someone's drink.
  • We see Buddy emptying a bottle of liquor down his sink.
  • Buddy jokes that next week Abby will be on heroin in response to hearing her plan about smoking cigarettes to get off nicotine gum.
  • Abby has some wine.
  • A man talking to Buddy at a barbeque holds a beer, while others later have wine.
  • None.
  • Buddy gets an airline employee to change the passenger manifest for him (after he gives his ticket to Greg).
  • The airline tries to do some damage control by running memorial newspaper and TV ads showcasing the victims (when they were still alive).
  • Some may see Buddy as having both for stating that he doesn't believe in God (although we don't know if that's really true or not).
  • Buddy doesn't tell Abby the truth about his unique connection with her and her late husband (although he wants to).
  • Abby lies to Buddy and tells him that she's divorced (since she feels weird saying that her husband was killed in a plane crash).
  • Buddy and Abby tell Jim some white lies about her prior knowledge of a building their company wants to buy.
  • Buddy seems to be blowing off Abby after their first "date," but in reality he's simply feeling awkward about their situation (and the secret he's keeping from her).
  • For those sensitive to such matters, Abby's large dog briefly attacks Buddy and rips both his jacket and pants leg before she pulls it off him.
  • None.
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "Dogsh*t," "Who gives a sh*t?" "Sh*t happens," "I don't give a sh*t," "Idiot," "(Don't) screw up," "Pissed him off" and "I suck."
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "f" word, 8 "s" words, 3 hells, 1 ass (used with "hole"), 1 crap, 4 uses each of "God" and "Oh my God," 2 each of "G-damn," "Jesus" and "Oh Jesus" and 1 use each of "Christ," "For God's sakes," "My God," "Oh God" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • After Buddy gives Greg his plane ticket, he returns to Mimi and asks if she still has the hotel voucher Greg earlier gave her. She knowingly smiles and we then later see Buddy waking up in bed with her next to him under the sheets (implying sex, but we don't see anything other than him in his boxers and her bare back).
  • A woman at an awards ceremony shows a fair amount of cleavage in her dress.
  • Seth states that he he's gay, but we don't see any related activity.
  • After Buddy calls and asks for Abby's realtor help, she tells her female friend that he called up wanting some of her business. That friend then suggestively says, "I bet."
  • Buddy and Abby briefly make out in her car and then briefly do so again in her house (but nothing else happens in those scenes).
  • Buddy and Abby kiss some more and we then see them in bed with him partly on top of her. She then sits up, he removes her top (we don't see anything) and they then kiss again while lying down where we then briefly see just part of the side of her bare breast. It's then implied that they have sex.
  • Abby smokes several times and then tells Buddy that she's not really a smoker, but that she got hooked on nicotine gum when her friend started using it and that she's smoking cigarettes trying to get off the gum.
  • Abby is in shock and then grief over her husband's sudden death, and the grief occasionally shows up in later scenes. In addition, we see the reaction of her boys much later as Scott is occasionally angry.
  • Plane crashes/airline safety.
  • Whether/when Buddy should have told Abby the truth before she discovered it on her own.
  • One-night stands.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Although we don't see the actual incident and then only briefly see a few fiery remains on the news, a plane crashes and kills several hundred people.
  • Abby's large dog briefly attacks Buddy and rips both his jacket and pants leg before she pulls it off him.
  • The two young brothers briefly fight with each other.

  • Reviewed November 15, 2000 / Posted November 17, 2000

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