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Licorice Pizza | 2021 | R | – 4.3.9

content-ratingsWhy is “Licorice Pizza” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language, sexual material and some drug use.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a few kissing scenes, partial nudity, many flirting scenes and references to sex, an arrest of a teen suspected of murder, threats of violence, a few falls and accidents with no injuries shown, many arguments and some shoving, and over 40 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A young woman (Alana Haim) and a teenage boy (Cooper Hoffman) meet and strike up a relationship that meanders through many adventures in their 1970’s California town. Also with Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, John Michael Higgins, Maya Rudolph, John C. Reilly, Ryan Heffington, Benny Safdie and Harriet Sansom Harris. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. [Running Time: 2:13]

Licorice Pizza SEX/NUDITY 4

 – A young woman and a teen boy argue about her not being willing to show him her breasts, but that she would show everyone for an acting job; the young woman goes to the boy’s house, unzips her dress and exposes her breasts to him (we see her bare back), he asks if he can touch them and she slaps him in the face and leaves.
 A young woman kisses a man on a street and wraps her leg around his waist, and then runs away as he calls after her. A young man and a young woman kiss against a wall in a parking lot. A teen boy and a teen girl lie in a waterbed together, they get up and leave the room; a young woman watches them, goes outside the building and peeks in through a window (we hear kissing sounds) and seems upset by what she sees. A young woman and a teen boy lie on a waterbed together (both are clothed), he moves his hand close to hers and holds his hand over her clothed breast (he does not touch her and she is asleep).
 A young woman and a young man walk hand-in-hand and a teen boy seems jealous. A young woman and a teen boy hug. A young woman hugs a teen boy from the back and rests her head on his back; the teen walks away. An older man flirts with a young woman and she goes along with it. A man passes two women wearing tennis outfits (their bare legs to the upper thighs are seen) and he turns around and follows them asking them about their skill at the sport, with suggestive undertones. A young woman and a teen boy run toward each other on a sidewalk, they embrace and fall on the ground (we hear a thud and they moan but do not see injuries). A man puts his arm around a young woman as they walk. A young man and a young woman lean over a table and nearly kiss (they are interrupted by a phone call). A young woman hugs a man to comfort him.
 A man leans over a young woman suggestively while helping her drive a truck and says, “You smell good.” A young woman asks another young woman if a teen boy has asked her for sex and implies that he asks her all the time. A young woman yells at a young man and asks him what his genitals look like, and then she asks if he is circumcised. A young woman tries to sell a waterbed over the phone to a man, as a teen boy tells her to “be more sexy”; the young woman makes suggestive remarks and offers to go to the man’s house to set up the bed and show him how it works. During an audition, a young woman says that she is from Intercourse, Pennsylvania. A man talks about loving sex so much and that he gets it all the time; he says, “It’s going to kill me one day.” A man is asked about his dating habits during a newspaper interview and he skirts the subject saying that he is too busy to date. A teen boy asks a young woman to go out to dinner with him. A young man flirts with a young woman. A teen boy flirts with a young woman. A teen boy tells his younger brother that he has met the girl he is going to marry. A woman asks a young woman if she would be willing to work topless during an interview for an acting job and the young woman says that she would.
 A teenage boy tries out a waterbed in a showroom and a young woman leans over him seductively; a man tells him that the bed will impress his lady friend. A restaurant is named The Tail of the Cock. A waterbed company is called “Soggy Bottom Waterbeds.” Several ads for sex and sex products are shown in a newspaper with a few containing scantily clad men and women (cleavage, bare abdomens, chests and backs are seen), and a listing for the movie “Deep Throat.” Several teen and pre-teen boys make sexual gestures with their hands and mouths and the nozzles of gas cans. A man smacks a young woman on the clothed buttock as she walks past him (she does not react). A teen boy stares at a young woman seated next to him at a bar (she tells him to stop).
 A young woman wears a bikini that reveals cleavage, bare abdomen and back and legs to the hips. A young woman wears a wrap-around dress that reveals deep cleavage. A young woman wears T-shirts and tops that reveal her nipples through the fabric in several scenes. A young woman wears short skirts that reveal her legs to the mid-thighs in many scenes. A young woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage. A young woman wears a halter-top that reveals cleavage and her bare back. A man in a police station is shown shirtless (we see his bare chest, abdomen and back). A young woman wearing a bikini flops onto her bed and tissues are seen above the bra top (indicating that the bra was stuffed with tissues).

Licorice Pizza VIOLENCE/GORE 3

 – Two police officers grab a teen boy, handcuff him and take him away from a teen fair, they shove him into a cruiser, tell him he is going to prison for murder and speed to the station where they handcuff him to a bench; a man is dragged into the room to identify the teen but he does not and an officer unlocks his handcuffs and the boy leaves. A man holds a lighter in front of a gas pump and threatens another man that had been using the pump. A man threatens a teen boy with physical violence and also threatens the boy’s family.
 A man is alarmed when a young man seated at his dinner table informs him that he is an atheist, after the man invites him to perform a ceremony at their Sabbath table; the young woman he is there with later yells at the young man (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A woman hits a teen boy and yells at him for humiliating her onstage. After a young woman exposes her breasts (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details) to a teen boy, he asks if he can touch them and she slaps him in the face and leaves. A man drives a car fast and his passenger seems alarmed. Two men spar with spoons over a table in a bar. A teen boy with a tire iron pounds on the windshield of a man’s car shattering it.
 A scene is created on a golf course with large flames burning as a man on a motorcycle revs and speeds toward the flames, jumps over them, tips the bike over and falls on the ground (he is OK); when the man starts the run, the young woman seated behind him on the bike falls off on her back onto the ground (she is also OK). A truck runs out of gas and a young woman maneuvers it as it rolls backward along winding roads (young boys in the back of the truck hold onto straps as they are thrown around), into an intersection and very near a gas station where they refill the tank. A teen boy pushes past a young woman, and starts and drives away in a car; he drives fast and seems nervous after a young woman ties to stop him. A man throws a garbage can through a store window breaking it and kicks things around on the sidewalk while grumbling about something. A few teen boys yell and run out of a bathroom stall as a toilet blows water out of it. A teen boy and a young woman leave a hose running and spilling water on the carpet of a man’s house (we do not see the result). A man bumps against a pinball machine while playing and a teen boy tries to stop him until the man yells at him; the teen picks up a young boy and takes him outside when the boy is monopolizing a machine, and the teen yells at other young boys for dropping their bikes in front of the door of the shop.
 A young woman describes Krav Maga as a military training that teaches you how to stab someone’s eye out using a pen. During an audition, a young woman says that her parents are dead. A man describes flying between two bridges in Korea (it’s not clear if this is a movie scene or from his military service). Several scenes show a teen boy and a young woman running for various reasons. We hear news reports and video footage about a gas crisis, oil embargoes and long lines of cars waiting for gas as well as a report of troubles between Israelis and Palestinians. A man yells and throws a gas canister when his car runs out of gas. A man films a TV commercial talking about property ownership and political corruption. We hear that pinball was outlawed in California. A young woman insults a teen boy and he reciprocates; they argue and the young woman says that if he smokes a pack of cigarettes he’ll throw up; she says, “Your breath smells,” he says, “You’re old,” and she says, “I’m cooler than you.” Two men argue about their relationship taking a backseat to the one man’s political aspirations. A man puts on a Japanese accent when speaking to his Japanese wife (he does not speak the language). A man tells a young woman, “Two of my best Black friends were beheaded in the Congo.” A woman tells a young woman in an interview, “You have a very Jewish nose.” A young woman yells at her father and her sister after an embarrassing dinner with a young man as a guest. A man yells at his daughter when she comes home late. A young woman yells at a teen boy and shoves him after he was taken to a police station but released. A young woman berates a teen boy for asking her how old she is, saying, “You’re not supposed to ask a girl how old she is.” A teen boy calls a young woman on the phone and doesn’t talk; she tells him she can hear someone breathing. A young woman calls a teen boy on the phone and breathes into the receiver. A young woman sticks her tongue out at a teen boy seated across a restaurant, taunting him.

Licorice Pizza LANGUAGE 9

 – About 43 F-words and its derivatives, 7 sexual references, 12 scatological terms, 13 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (such an actor, braggy, man, little hustler, old lady, a mess, forgetful, absent-minded, old, creep, big man, crazy, cronies, weird, little Robert Goulet, Albert Einstein, slimy, Jack, squares, stupid, Don Rickles, little doll, idiot, hardcore, mischievous man), exclamations (shut-up, oh come on, do you dig it, blew it), 6 religious profanities (GD), 2 religious exclamations (e.g. God, oh my God). | profanity glossary |

Licorice Pizza SUBSTANCE USE

 – Two young women smoke marijuana cigarettes in a few scenes, a young woman says that she is so high in one scene and that someone gave her something, and a teen boy asks another teen boy if he should give their potential customers LSD (the teen tells him to stick to marijuana). A man orders a martini for a young woman and himself in a restaurant and the young woman seems inebriated, a 15-year-old boy sits at a bar in a few scenes (he orders sodas), people carry cocktails onto a golf course, a man guzzles a glass of liquor, and people drink and smoke in a few bar scenes. Men smoke in many scenes throughout the movie, a man smokes in an audition, a man smokes while driving, people smoke in a restaurant, a woman smokes in a dressing room, a woman smokes in an office, a teen boy lights and smokes a cigarette and blows smoke into a young woman’s face, and a man smokes a cigar in a bar.

Licorice Pizza DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – First love, jealousy, ambition, fate, hope, gas crisis of 1973, disappointment, racism, sexism, divorce, homophobia, Krav Maga, integrity, politics, secrets.

Licorice Pizza MESSAGE

 – Friendship can lead to love.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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