Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this movie is a spinoff of Forgetting Sarah Marshall focusing on that comedy's breakout character, musician Aldous Snow. This is yet another hard-R comedy produced by Judd Apatow's comedy machine, including his protege Jason Segel. Like in Sarah Marshall, the Snow character (and everyone around him) curses up a storm and acts like a substance-abusing narcissist who only thinks of partying and having sex. There is lots and lots of strong language (nearly every scene has an F-bomb in it), drinking to excess (vomit included), smoking marijuana, smuggling heroine, and having or talking about sex (including a woman-on-man rape scene played for laughs), threesomes, and venereal diseases. On a positive note, the movie does conclude that a rock star lifestyle is shallow and insignificant, and that it's the creation and performing of music that should be meaningful to an artist -- not the stuff and the partying. Parents should know that this review refers to the R-rated version -- the unrated version pushes all the limits even further.
Although there is not as much full-blown nudity as in other hard-R movies, there are lots of discussions about sex and scenes that show semi-clothed couples having raucous, exaggerated sex -- on bathroom toilets, couches, and beds. One scene involves a woman using a sex toy (visible) on a male character against his will that results in him wondering if he's been raped. A threesome occurs during which a man is under sheets, obviously performing oral sex on a woman. In another scene, Aldous performs oral sex on Jackie and asks her to return the favor. Aldous is shown making out with random women in a nightclub.
Compound fracture, anyone? A character falls off a roof, into a pool, and has a compound fracture that is bleeding heavily. This fall is a quasi-suicide attempt that is played for laughs, though with a dark edge. A father and son initiate a throw-down fist-to-fist brawl with furniture thrown, instruments smashed, and more. Loud arguments and foot-chase scenes.
A lot of strong language, including the most scandalous of words "c--t" and "motherf--ker." Lots and lots of "f--k," "dick," "bitch," "asshole," "twat," "cock," and more. Two instances of the "N word" said by an African American.
Ultimately Aldous' raucous lifestyle is exposed as empty, shallow, and lonely. Aldous needs Aaron to help him see what a gift his talent is, and that he needs to stop his self-destructive tendencies and return to his musical roots. But of course, all these positives are hidden beneath a movie that shows drinking and drug use, as well as random sex in a funny light -- sending some mixed messages to kids.
Many product placements and brands mentioned, discussed or shown, including TMZ.com, Rolling Stone magazine, Extra TV, HBO, Facebook, NIke Air Jordans, 8 Mile, Apple, Today Show, Gossip Girl, and more. Celebrities who cameo as themselves or are otherwise featured include Lars Ulrich, Meredith Viera, Pink, Derek Jeter, Billy Bush, Mario Lopez, Zoe Salmon, Kurt Loder, Christina Aguilera, and Tom Felton.
Drugs / Tobacco /
It's in no way surprising, considering that the protagonist is a notorious drug addict, that there's a tremendous amount of substance use and abuse in the movie. There's a lot of drinking -- everything from champagne to beer to absinthe and all drinks in between -- to excess (vomiting scenes included). Most drug scenes are limited to marijuana use and heroine smuggling, and there's cigarette smoking to boot. Several discussions are about drug addiction, rehab, being sober, etc. Despite some serious drug problems, it's all played for laughs.