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Whatever Works | 2009 | PG-13 | - 7.4.4

Woody Allen comedy about a misanthropic man (Larry David) who takes in a young runaway (Evan Rachel Wood) and inflicts his jaded view of the world upon her. Also with Patricia Clarkson, Ed Begley Jr., Conleth Hill and Michael McKean. [1:32]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - A woman is in a kitchen with her two male lovers and one grabs her behind and then the other puts his arms around her and kisses her. A woman is seen in two scenes sleeping in a bed with two men (one on either side of her) with the sheets and blankets wrapped around them (we see their bare legs, the tops of their chests and their bare arms and shoulders).
 At a photography exhibition, we see large black and white photos of naked bodies (full frontal nudity including breasts, pubic hair and penises and full rear nudity including male and female buttocks). In multiple scenes, a young woman walks around in short shorts, underpants and tight tank tops (we she her cleavage, bare legs, shoulders, back and top of her chest). A girl twirls around in a negligee.
 A married woman and a single man kiss passionately. A man and a woman kiss tenderly and hold one another. At a party two men hold and kiss each other. A man holds a woman and lays his head on her breast. A man and a woman hold each other. At a party, people hug and kiss.
 A woman asks a man if he likes to "make love." A man tells a married woman that he's in love with her. A married woman says, "I always carry Viagra" and offers it to a single man she's about to have sex with. Two men meet in a bar and discuss homosexuality and they flirt with one another. A man flirts with a woman in the street and asks her on a date. A woman talks about living in a ménage à trois and being very happy. A woman tells her daughter that her husband left her for her best friend. A man talks about a woman sleeping with his friend and all of his friend's acquaintances. A man asks a woman, "How often did you have intercourse?" A man says another man is "making love with a sheep." A man calls people polygamists. A woman says to a man, "you cheated on her" (meaning his wife). A man says, "God is gay." A man discusses the realization that he is gay. A man refers to being gay and having sex with women as "a square peg in a round hole." A woman tells a man that her mother makes love with a man in front of another man. A man asks another man "Is she good in bed?" A woman calls another woman a "promiscuous whore." A man calls a woman a pornographer. A man talks about a woman casting aspersions on his manhood: the size of his penis and his erectile dysfunction. A man asks a woman if she wants to live in a "threesome like her mother." A man says he has no urge to have sex. A man tells another man he couldn't make love to his wife and that he had no "burning sexual desire." A man says he had no idea a certain woman was so sexual. A man talks about disliking sex and refers to it as "absurd choreography" and the "up and down." A husband and his wife argue about the woman having an affair. A young Christian woman says she sinned by having sex before marriage. A young woman talks about having sex for the first time including her fear of the act hurting, the "perversions" involved, and says she thought she would just "lie down and bear it." A woman mentions a man doing "all the little extras" during sex. A woman says to a man, "You loved sex." A man talks about not fulfilling "womanly needs." A man implies that a woman's husband, who's away on business, is probably "hanging out with naked co-eds." A man talks about African-Americans vs. Jews and makes references to large and small penises. A man tells a young woman she'll wind up a prostitute "like those Asian girls who come here." A man talks to another man about a woman's "beautifully shaped breasts." A man talks about liking a woman's behind. A man talks about women's behinds being "apple vs. pear-shaped." A man says he'd like to get a woman "into bed." A man talks about a woman's photographs and comments about her having "sexual perversity" and "an erotic imagination." In a few scenes, a man talks with other men about rating a woman's looks on a scale of one to ten. A man talks about the sperm finding the egg.
 A married woman flirts with a single man. A man is interested in a married woman and follows her around to flirt with her. A man is upset about his male lover leaving him.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A man attempts suicide by jumping through a plate glass window, and we see him run and crash through the glass: we do not see him fall but see him in the next scene lying on top of a woman and a dog; the man is unharmed, the woman sustains a broken leg and arm and we see her in the hospital later.
 A man suffers from panic attacks in multiple scenes and ends up in the emergency room in two scenes. A woman faints when she finds out her daughter is married (she falls to the floor but is unharmed).
 A man makes numerous references to death, dying and suicide. A man talks about attempting to commit suicide and failing. A man mentions that his father committed suicide. A man yells out, "I'm dying! Eventually." A woman asks a man if he'd like to be buried or cremated. A man says he's less inclined to take his own life because of a woman he has met. A homeless girl living in boxes says she's "so hungry." A man talks about people "bending over for the blacks." A man says children should be sent to concentration camps to be taught about reality. A woman says to a man, "I should punch you in the nose." A man talks to a woman about a man she is dating saying, "I hope he's not a serial killer. He'll put you in the trunk of a car and you can't breathe." A man makes a reference to Ted Bundy. A man makes a reference to capital punishment. A woman calls the universe "unspeakably violent and indifferent." A man talks about being "one step closer to the grave." A man says to another man, "I hate you and I just met you." A woman tells her husband she's fallen in love with someone else and he is upset. A woman yells at a man for hitting her child with a chessboard and throwing chess pieces at him and the man yells back, insulting her and her child's intellect. A man argues with other men about Christianity and Judaism and the "God racket." A man insults his wife throughout the film. A man yells at children and various other people throughout the film. A man insults children and various other people throughout the film. In one diatribe, a man yells and complains about suicide, AIDS, Darfur, colonoscopy, 9/11, and "the horror." A man makes several references to the following topics: Jewish people, African-American people, AIDS, panic attacks, suicide, abortion, Communism, religion, sexual inadequacy, hypochondria, the Bible, Christianity, entropy, sex, diabetes, terrorism, hating people, medication. A woman says, "Abortion is murder." A man says to a woman, "are you looking to wind up in an abortion clinic?" A woman asks another woman, "Did he drug you?" A man says about another man, "I'm praying he has herpes." A man calls a man and a woman "religious psychotics."
 People attend a concert and on the marquee the band name reads "Anal Sphincter." A man talks about stinking from formaldehyde. A man says he thought a mosquito bite was Melanoma.


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LANGUAGE 4 - 3 anatomical terms, 42 sexual references, 6 mild obscenities, 20 religious exclamations, 6 religious profanities, name-calling (simple-minded, moron, Neanderthal, imbecile, idiot, microbe, incompetent, cretin, brainless little twit, simpleton, stupid, bigot, inchworm, religious psychotics, promiscuous, aborigine, communist, boozehound, roach, mindless zombie, cracker).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A woman smokes marijuana from a hookah pipe. A woman prays with the Bible in one hand and an alcoholic drink in the other, a woman appears tipsy in one scene, a man makes himself a drink, a woman states, "I need more booze," and people drink wine in a few scenes.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Misery, misanthropy, falling in love, the Bible, Christianity, insulting and yelling at people (including children), chess, cheating, affairs, failed marriages, abortion, rape, serial killers, AIDS, 9/11, runaways, hidden homosexuality, sexual liberation, older men marrying younger women, general malaise, panic attacks, hating the human race, denouncing God's existence, living in a threesome, culture shock, pursuing a married person, Judaism.

MESSAGE - It may take some time, but life is all about complaining until you find what works for you.

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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