Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this hard-R action comedy starring kid favorites Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and (thanks to Iron Man) Robert Downey Jr. is really a satirical send-up of Hollywood culture -- from the stereotypical castes of actors and greedy studio heads to celeb-obsessed TV shows. Much has been made of some of the movie's more controversial sources of humor, including having Downey darken his skin to play an African-American character and a running gag about a mentally challenged man played by Stiller's character. It's all meant to drive home the movie's points about Hollywood, but you may need to explain that to teens. There's also a lot of gory violence (both fake and realistic) -- including a 12-year-old drug lord who's scary and good with weapons -- as well as enough swear words to make Quentin Tarantino blush. Drugs (use and manufacture) are part of a significant subplot, but there are basically no women in the film, so there's only brief mention of sex.
The men discuss relationships, and one closeted character proclaims he loves "p---y" while another talks crudely about how he'd perform oral sex on the gay man in exchange for help out of a predicament. Other than that, just a quick kiss at the end between an actor and his date.
At first the blood-and-guts gore is fake (part of the movie-within-a-movie's makeup/special effects), but at a certain point it becomes real. Graphic violence includes a man's body exploding; a menacing young boy (possibly a young teen) toting machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and handguns; a decapitated head being played with; body parts strewn around; many explosions and close-up shots of G-4 and other explosives; a toddler knifing someone and being comically thrown off a bridge (but surviving), and much more.
Nearly every sentence includes explicit language, with very few exceptions. This is a contender for most on-screen "F" bombs of the year. Along with the constant "f--k"s, "motherf----r," "p---y," "c--k," "c--t," and other hard-R words make several appearances.
Robert Downey Jr.'s character is a Caucasian actor who undergoes a skin-darkening procedure to play an African-American soldier; while in character, his demeanor is purposely stereotypical. There's also a running gag about "retards" regarding Ben Stiller's character's portrayal of a mentally challenged man. Both of these issues are meant to illustrate the movie's theme: that Hollywood is full of self-absorbed prima donnas who need to stop being so insecure and egotistical. There's also finger-pointing at audiences who eat up tabloid fodder and mindless entertainment.
Product placement is mocked with a fake energy drink called "Booty Sweat." Real brands include Diet Coke, Access Hollywood, TiVo (quite prominently), and the Gulfstream V jet.
Drugs / Tobacco /
A major subplot involves a heroin processing plant; a character is a heroin addict; various characters drink and smoke.