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The Heartbreak Kid Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

Discussion-worthy '70s anti-romantic comedy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is not the R-rated 2007 remake, which is full of slapstick, cartoonish characters, hit music, and exaggerated dirty jokes, but rather the more down-to-earth original from the early 1970s. It would probably earn a PG-13 rating today (no such thing in the '70s), for mild bedroom scenes, some stripping, talk of sex, and swear words, mostly uttered by a horrified prospective father-in-law. The ending is not exactly in line with traditional notions of good behavior being rewarded, bad behavior punished.

  • Families can talk about the way Kelly tells cheating husband Leonard he's the "noblest" man she's ever met. Is she being incredibly dumb, or does she have a point? What has Leonard sacrificed because of his obsession with Kelly? What could/should the characters have done differently? What do you think will happen to them after the ending?

The good stuff
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    Messages: This is a morality drama with a marked lack of good role models. Leonard may strike some viewers as a complete creep because of what he does to his new wife -- with the qualifier that he'll willingly give her everything in his divorce settlement. Kelly, his replacement love interest, is teasing and flighty. Her father's hatred of Leonard may be part bigotry. And there's a negative body image message: Leonard dumps an average-sized woman for svelte Kelly (Shepherd was actually a fashion model at the time).

What to watch for
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    Violence: Not an issue

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    Sex: Two lovers strip naked to look at each other (a chaste sex game that involves getting as close as possible without touching); strategic shadows prevent us from seeing anything. Newlyweds shown non-explicitly undressed in bed on their honeymoon. Lila, who refused to have sex before marriage (in a roundabout way this is taken as a negative) tries to give her new husband Leonard oral sex in a car and thrusts her breasts (barely covered by her bra) into his face.

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    Language: "S--t"

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    Consumerism: Not an issue

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    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Recreational drinking. Talk of characters being prodigious drinkers or suspected drug users and dealers.