Reality Bites

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2 1/2

Bright, pretty and clever. Lelaina (Winona Ryder) has just graduated from college, valedictorian of her class and has an entry level job in a television station. Her father has given her his BMW and a gas company credit card with unlimited charges for one year. She generously shares her apartment with three of her not-so-fortunate friends, Vickie, Sammy and Troy. They grocery shop at the corner gas station with her credit card, smoke pot and drink beer. Lelaina creates a clever documentary, interviewing her roommates, who share their dreams, disappointments and feelings about life. When Lelaina accidentally meets Michael (Ben Stiller), a successful yuppie who attempts to help her career as a television journalist, Troy (Ethan Hawke) becomes jealous even though he and Lelaina are "just friends." Troy has long dirty hair and a high IQ but no degree and sings in a neighborhood bar. Who will win Lelaina's heart - the knight in shining armor or the cerebral bum? REALITY BITES has some clever dialogue, and Winona Ryder, as always, is delightful to watch. The twenty-something crowd will probably think its cool; mature audiences will leave the theatre depressed, wondering what the world is coming to.

"Lost" best describes the four young friends. None of them are close to their families. They chain smoke, watch old TV shows, drink and have casual sex with various partners. And, of course, obscenities and profanity abound in the dialogue. One girl is shown waking up and looking at the guy she slept with, then noting in her diary that he is number 66. When Lelaina meets Michael, he tells her he is a non-practicing Jew. She says she is a non-practicing virgin. A few minutes later they are having sex in his car. Vickie laments that the only thing she learned in college was her social security number. Vickie also goes to the local health clinic to be tested for AIDS. When she finally gets a good report, there is no mention of changing lifestyles, just celebration. Carefree these kids are not. Underneath each one is scared, with just each other to hold onto. If this is reality, let's hope it's not contagious.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal Blvd., Universal City, CA 91608

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: Several (9) times - Mild 3, Moderate 6

Obscene Language: Many (17) times (s-word 11; other 6)

Profanity: Several (9) times - Regular 4, Exclamatory 5

Violence: None

Sex: Three times (once in backseat of car with motions only, no nudity; implied in bedroom scenes twice (no nudity)

Nudity: Near nudity once (poster of girl in thong bathing suit)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: References to sex; joking remarks about homosexuality

Drugs: Alcohol drinking, some drunkenness; implied drug use; chain smoking

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Young adults

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