Boys on the Side

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Nightclub singer Jane (Whoopi Goldberg) wants to leave the Big Apple for a fresh start in California. She agrees to share the driving with Robin (Mary-Louise Parker), a seemingly wholesome young woman. On the way, they pick up Jane's friend Holly (Drew Barrymore), but not before clobbering Holly's abusive drug-dealing boyfriend with a bat, tying him up and taking his money. The girls settle in Tucson when Robin gets sick. Surprise! Sweet Robin's promiscuity has resulted in HIV. Ah, but now she fits in better with her friends: flirtatious Holly is pregnant and doesn't know who the father is; Jane is gay. The movie is about how friends need to stick together, even when confidences are betrayed and you're put on trial for murder. Or maybe it's about enjoying life with beer-soaked parties and casual sex. The three female leads and supporting cast deliver wonderful performances, and the directing and photography are seamless.

What makes discerning viewers cringe sends Jane, Robin and Holly into giggles: premarital sex, tarot-card reading, excessive drinking, drug use, nudity, much gutter language, even murder. AIDS, pregnancy and broken hearts are portrayed as the party-poopers of life's endless celebration. In spite of trying to pawn itself off as a friendship-based tear-jerker, the film condones atrocious behavior. Here, the heroines carouse, criticize and generally live in messed-up worlds of utter selfishness. Honest people are seen as morons without a clue to life's meaning. Sorry, Mr. Filmmakers: Using someone's head for baseball practice, then shaking bare breasts at him is not entertainment. Avoid BOYS ON THE SIDE.

Preview Reviewer: Bob Liparulo
Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (31) times - Mild 2, Moderate 29

Obscene Language: Many (65) times (f-word 48, s-word 11, other 6)

Profanity: Many (13) times - Regular 11 (J, JC, G, G-d), Exclamatory 2

Violence: Several times - Mostly severe (man beats women; head struck with bat; gagged and tied to chair; dead body shown)

Sex: Implied twice (sounds off-screen; couple in bed)

Nudity: Several times (female upper frontal nudity twice; male rear nudity; near nudity: female rear, low-cut dresses, very short shorts; sides of female legs to hips)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times (discussions of sexual activity, porno tapes, condom use; sensual kissing, flirting and fondling)

Drugs: Many times (bar drinking; drunkenness; drinking in car and from paper bags; discussion of dealing drugs; smoking marijuana)

Other: Promiscuous pregnant woman contracts AIDS, but refuses to have abortion because 'I would feel like a murderer;' lying condoned; psychic consulted several times

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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