[Screen It]


(2002) (Colin Hanks, Jack Black) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Heavy Mild Heavy None None
Moderate None None None Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
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Talk About
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Comedy: After his college admission is rejected due to a technical error, a high school student does what he can to make sure he's accepted to Stanford, all while dealing with his family and friends who inevitably complicate his mission.
Shaun Brumder (COLIN HANKS) is class president at Vista Del Mar High School in Orange County, California. While at one time he was satisfied surfing with his buddies Chad (RJ KNOLL) and Arlo (KYLE HOWARD), Shaun now wants to be a writer thanks to discovering author Marcus Skinner's (KEVIN KLINE) novel about teenage life, "Straight Jacket."

Accordingly, he wants to attend Stanford where Skinner is a professor, not only to become a writer, but also to escape his family life. His mom, Cindy Beugler (CATHERINE O'HARA) is a depressed alcoholic who forgets to give Bob, her wheelchair-bound husband, his medicine, and doesn't want Shaun to leave home for college. His brother, Lance (JACK BLACK), is always high and/or in a perpetual daze, while their estranged and self-absorbed but wealthy father, Bud (JOHN LITHGOW), isn't happy with Shaun's career choice.

Shaun's only real support comes from his girlfriend, Ashley (SCHUYLER FISK), but she isn't crazy about the idea of them going to different colleges. Nevertheless, Shaun is intent on attending Stanford, but when his admission application is rejected due to a clerical error by Charlotte Cobb (LILY TOMLIN), Vista Del Mar's college counselor, his world is shattered.

From that point on, and with the assistance of Ashley and Lance, Shaun sets out to correct the error. That leads them to meeting various people along the way, including Arthur Gantner (GARRY MARSHALL), Stanford's Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his wife Vera (DANA IVEY); Dean of Admissions Don Durkett (HAROLD RAMIS); and others, all of whom he tries to convince to admit him to Stanford, all while dealing with his family and friends who inevitably complicate matters.

If they're fans of someone in the cast, or are looking for a high school set comedy, they just might.
For drug content, language and sexuality.
  • COLIN HANKS plays a high school student who desperately wants to attend Stanford and become a writer. Accordingly, he does what he must when a technical error causes his admission to be rejected. He also briefly fools around with his girlfriend.
  • JACK BLACK plays his brother who's usually high and/or in a perpetual daze. He briefly uses strong profanity, smokes, and has sex with a woman he just met.
  • CATHERINE O'HARA plays their depressed and seemingly alcoholic mom who doesn't want Shaun to leave home for college.
  • SCHUYLER FISK plays Shaun's girlfriend who helps him despite not wanting him to go away for college. She briefly fools around with him.
  • JOHN LITHGOW plays Shaun's self-absorbed, critical and estranged father who doesn't like Shaun's career choice, but eventually comes around.
  • HAROLD RAMIS plays Stanford's Dean of Admissions who unknowingly ingests ecstasy and is then high from that.
  • LILY TOMLIN plays the high school's ditsy college counselor who goofs up Shaun's transcripts.
  • RJ KNOLL and KYLE HOWARD play Shaun's best friends who may be gay and enjoy goofing off and surfing.
  • KEVIN KLINE plays the professor and novelist who inspires Shaun. He briefly smokes and drinks.


    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 brief summary of the content found in this comedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word (and another partial one), as well as other expletives and colorful phrases. Some non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is also present,

    Various women are seen in varying degrees of revealing attire, while one man is seen in his underwear and most of his bare rear end is briefly seen in a nonsexual setting. Various couples are seen making out (including two women, as well as the beginnings of what appears will be a threesome), implied sexual encounters seemingly take place off camera, and there are some indications that two high school friends are really gay.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some imitative behavior is present. One character is a druggie (he shares a joint with a woman, while some of his pills cause a Dean to become high), while other characters drink and/or smoke.

    Some tense family matters are present regarding an estranged father, and a son trying to cope with his family's dysfunctional behavior. A character is killed off camera while surfing, while various pratfalls, some slapstick material and some person-to-person violence are present (and all played for laughs).

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

  • Shaun states (in voice over narration), that he thought there might be more to life than extreme sports and trying "to get laid," but then adds that he's been "too high" to figure it out (a possible drug reference).
  • When Shaun announces he's giving up surfing, his friends think he's lost his mind and one announces that they should "get lit" and jump off his house.
  • Shaun states that Lance is perpetually recovering from the night before. Later, we see Lance asleep on the floor, apparently from having passed out there, and he then states that he needs Shaun's urine to pass his drug test for his parole officer. At other moments, he appears high/drugged out. In one scene, he tells Shaun that he hides his "stash" in regular medicine containers, and mentions speed and "X" (ecstasy).
  • In a flashback, we see a girl passing a flask to Arlo and Chad. We then see another later one where she's lifting her head out of the toilet (implying she was drunk and vomiting).
  • Cindy states that she'll need a glass of wine to meet some visiting Stanford officials. Shaun gets her some and she drinks it, but Shaun asks that there be no big drunken scenes. A few moments later, however, she's somewhat drunk, and we see her pouring wine for another woman. Later, Cindy drinks even more wine and is more intoxicated.
  • Lance states that he and his brother don't state they love each other enough, and then adds, "It's not the drugs."
  • Ashley finds what she believes to be aspirin in Lance's coat that he's loaned her, and a Stanford official asks if he can have a few after spotting them. They turn out to be the ecstasy (from above) and that official is soon acting very high.
  • Bud asks Cindy if she has any beer, and we then see him drinking one while she has wine.
  • Lance and a woman he just had sex with share a joint and both act like they're high.
  • Lance admits to Shaun that he was high, prompting Shaun to state that he's always high and is a drugged out loser.
  • Bud has a beer and Cindy has wine in bed.
  • Various students drink what's presumably beer at a party.
  • Skinner and Shaun drink straight liquor.
  • We see Lance vomit onto Shaun's writing.
  • Cindy belches from drinking too much.
  • We see a small container of urine that Shaun left for Lance (that a visiting woman accidentally picks up and then drops, spilling it onto a sofa).
  • We see a bandage on Bob's head that has some bloodstains on it.
  • Trying to get his attention, Lance throws a can that hits Shaun on the head (resulting in a tiny bit of blood above an eyebrow).
  • Lance is always under the influence of something (or recovering from that) and states that he needs Shaun's urine to pass his drug test for his parole officer (and Shaun complies to help him).
  • Bud has a bad attitude toward Shaun and his decision to be a writer (stating, among other things, that Shaun's not gay).
  • Shaun's much younger brother is a spoiled brat.
  • After a classmate refuses to help Shaun get into Stanford (her grandfather is on the Board), Ashley essentially blackmails her by reminding the girl of her past sexual behavior.
  • After Ashley rescues a healthy dog and brings it back to Shaun's house, Cindy states that the SPCA can put it to sleep for her.
  • Lance decides to break into an admission office at night to help his brother, but ultimately ends up burning down the building (and then runs away without admitting his guilt).
  • Shaun and Ashley try to take advantage of a Stanford official who's high to get him to admit Shaun into the school.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Phrases: An incomplete "What the f*ck?" "One sh*t storm after another," "Screw" (nonsexual), "Piss" (urine), "I'll stick my foot up your ass" (seen in subtitles), "Kick ass," "Shut up," "Kiss my ass," "Dumb ass," "Coyote ugly," "Pain in the ass," "You're such as asshole," "Hotter than Hell," "Loser," "Totally bitching," "Horny" (sexual), "Fruit cake" and "Sucks."
  • Arlo has some large tattoos on his arms.
  • Some girls wear midriff-baring tops.
  • Lance drives a like a madman down the highway, swerving through cars, nearly hitting others, etc.
  • Cindy gives the finger to Bud.
  • Lance ignites some papers and then throws them into a trashcan (but they catch a curtain on fire and then burn down the whole building).
  • We see that Shaun's friends have rigged a surfboard with many M-80s and are trying to ignite them, but that never happens.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "f" word (and another incomplete one), 1 "s" word, 3 slang terms for sex ("get laid," "screwing around" and "banged"), 7 asses (1 used with hole and 1 seen in subtitles), 3 craps (1 seen in subtitles), 1 damn, 6 uses of "Oh my God," 2 each of "G-damn" and "Oh God" and 1 use each of "God," "Jesus" and "Dear God" as exclamations.
  • We see some women in bikinis (some of which are small and/or show varying amounts of cleavage).
  • Shaun states (in voice over narration), that he thought there might be more to life than extreme sports and trying "to get laid." He then adds that Skinner's book captured what it's like to be a teenager and the accompanying "horniness."
  • Cindy shows some cleavage.
  • We see some high school cheerleaders doing some partially suggestive dancing in their short skirts.
  • We see Shaun's stepmother in a small bikini (with a towel around her waist) that shows cleavage. She somewhat comes on to Shaun when he shows up, and we later see her doing the same to a leaf blower worker who caresses her with his blower.
  • After a classmate refuses to help Shaun get into Stanford (her grandfather is on the Board), Ashley essentially blackmails her by reminding the girl of her past sexual behavior. Accordingly, we then see quick flashback scenes of her on top of a younger student on a bed, kissing him and apparently reaching her hand down toward his clothed crotch; her passing a flask to Arlo and Chad and then making out with both of them; and then making out with a female janitor in the bathroom.
  • Shaun passionately kisses Ashley on the mouth and neck.
  • A dog humps Cindy's leg.
  • Cindy (Shaun's mom) states that she had sex with Bob (her husband), four times, to ensure a good home and future for him. During this, we see a small sculpture of a nude woman at the end of her bed.
  • Cindy tells some visitors that once Bud started making money in the past, he then started "screwing around" on her. She then says that he got with a twenty-year-old and that she walked in on them in a hotel and mentions they were naked and handcuffed to the bed.
  • It's implied that Arlo and Chad have gay feelings toward each other, with one stating they'll be out in the van "picking each other's butts" (with the other chiming in "naked"). Later, one comments on the other professing his love for the other, and there's a comment about one waking up and the other was fondling him (the other says he lost his keys).
  • Lance walks out in just his underwear.
  • After Mona, a receptionist, catches Lance in the admissions office after dark, she sternly asks if he wants her to call security. In response, he asks if she wants him to get naked and "start the revolution." He then takes her non-response to mean "maybe" and then drops his pants (we just see his bare leg, but she apparently sees everything else). We later see them lying on the floor (he in just his underwear and she in her panties and tank top), sharing a joint, apparently after having sex. They later walk out of the building dressed that way (in their underwear and her in the tank top).
  • Bud states that his new wife is sleeping around on him.
  • Bud and Cindy make out and then drop to the kitchen floor and it's implied that they have sex. Later, Lance asks, "You banged mom?"
  • While unknowingly high on ecstasy, a male Dean tries to kiss Ashley and then does the same to Shaun who's driving.
  • Bud's wife asks if he slept with Cindy.
  • A girl at a party states to her girlfriends, "Lock me up, because I am horny."
  • We see most of Lance's bare butt from a distance as he runs off and his pants ride down on him.
  • Shaun and Ashley make out in a car while lying down on the seat. She worries that Lance will wake up, but Shaun assures her he won't and they continue making out with him partially on top of her (with suggested fooling around).
  • Skinner smokes twice, while Lance smokes once.
  • We hear that Bud abandoned the family some time ago and he's not initially supportive of his son's career choice, but he eventually comes around and even gets back together with Cindy.
  • Bud and his wife split up, but it's very amicable (and played entirely for laughs).
  • Putting up with one's family and their idiosyncrasies.
  • Applying for college and what it takes to be accepted.
  • Although we don't see it and it's all played for laughs, a friend of Shaun's dies while surfing a huge wave.
  • Shaun accidentally opens the door and bangs Lance on the head as he sleeps on the floor.
  • After Shaun pushes his father-in-law's wheelchair backwards to retrieve some mail beneath its wheel, the chair bangs into the wall and a small vase falls and lands on Bob's head.
  • After Shaun grabs a high school counselor's shoulders stating it's her fault (after discovering she sent the wrong transcripts to Stanford that resulted in them rejecting his admission), she knees him in the crotch or gut, sending him to the floor, doubled over in pain.
  • Bob accidentally rolls down the sidewalk backwards and bangs into a car.
  • While breaking into an admissions office at night, Lance falls from the window to the floor.
  • Lance ignites some papers and then throws them into a trashcan (but they catch a curtain on fire and then burn down the whole building).
  • Shaun accidentally falls from a house's second floor to the ground below with a thud, but is okay.
  • Trying to get his attention, Lance throws a can that hits Shaun on the head.

  • Reviewed January 8, 2002 / Posted January 11, 2002

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