MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: -2 1/2

Content: -3

Two by two, six lost souls gravitate to Kansas City seeking the $5,000 grand prize in a Karaoke competition. From the west, Todd Woods (Paul Giamatti), a burned-out salesman running from family and job, picks up hitchhiker Reggie Kane (Andre Braugher), an ex-convict with a great voice. Karaoke hustler and drifter Ricky Dean (Huey Lewis) meets his daughter Liv (Gwyneth Paltrow) for the first time in Las Vegas at the funeral of his former girlfriend, Liv's mother. While drowning his sorrows in a Cleveland bar, taxi driver Billy (Scott Speedman) meets Suzi (Maria Bello) and agrees to drive her in his cab to Kansas City for the competition. Oscar winner Paltrow shares the limelight with her lesser known co-stars, and each contributes equally to a fascinating plot. Promoted as a comedy/drama, the film has some light, funny moments, but leans more toward drama than comedy. Although getting mixed reviews, DUETS definitely has an audience.

Facing a mid-life crisis, Todd starts on a cross-country journey of drugs, drinking and Karaoke. If not for Reggie, a hardened criminal, Todd's path of self-destruction would cost him his life. Reggie becomes a fugitive after holding up a trucker and it is implied that he kills him. After Liv loses her mother, she expects Ricky to suddenly include her in his life, but he has no intention of inviting her to join his hustling and con games. He frequently picks up women for one-night stands, illustrated in one graphic sex scene with breast nudity. Suzi is the most difficult to sympathize with, however, as she steals from a beggar, bargains for everything with sex, and shows no morals whatsoever. Her coarse, crude behavior includes many sexual references, although her encounters are only implied. Innocent cab driver Billy, who once studied for the priesthood, recognizes Suzi as desperately in need of a friend and tries to change her ways. Woven into the dialogue are many obscenities and profanities. Those, plus one graphic shooting in a crowded bar, an explicit sex scene and frequent drug use throw DUETS way off-key on our acceptability scale.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Buena Vista (Hollywood Pictures/Disney), 350 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

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 (5) times Mild 2, Moderate 3

Obscene Language: Many (20) times - F-word 5, s-word 12, other 3

Profanity: Many (11) times Regular 9 (GD 5, C-sake 1, J 1, swear to G 1, JC 1); Exclamatory 2 (OG)

Violence: Few times Moderate (man holds up motel and convenience store firing gun, bar fight, man shot and killed by police)

Sex: Once (graphic with motions/ nudity)

Nudity: Few times (breast nudity in sex scene, breast and rear female nudity as woman dresses)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (woman barters for goods with unconventional sex, admits she is bisexual, crude references to sex acts, old lady spouts obscenities)

Drugs: Many times (drinking in bars, man pops pills, drugs and alcohol used together)

Other: Woman steals money from beggar; woman vomits

Running Time: 113 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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