How to Deal

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1 1/2

Content: -1

In this romantic comedy, 17-year-old Halley Martin (Mandy Moore) is a young high-school student struggling with love and the fear of being hurt by it. Everyone around her is injured in relationships with others. Her parents (Peter Gallagher and Allison Janney) are recently divorced, and her father has already hooked up with a younger woman. Halleys best friend Scarlett (Alexandra Holden) is sleeping with her boyfriend and ends up pregnant. And her sister (Mary Catherine Garrison) is about to get married to a guy with whom she constantly fights. Through all of the confusion, a somewhat odd boy, Macon Forrester (Trent Ford), suddenly begins paying her a lot of attention. This is the story of a confused and disappointed girl in the midst of turmoil and bad relationships who must move beyond them to experience real love.

How to Deal has both good and bad elements. Halleys sexually active friend offers some advice, Have fun, fool around, but dont fall in love. When her friend gets pregnant, it is not glamorized and the serious side of pregnancy is addressed. After the divorce of Halleys parents, the film shows her mothers struggle in dealing with the disconnection due to her husbands absence. Halley feels left out with everyone in her family occupied by his or her own problems. Halley, spoiled and self-centered, is not an ideal model. She becomes physically involved with a boy without commitment. One moment her grandmother is shown smoking pot, and the next she is offering good advice as an understanding adult. The film does not adequately answer the questions that it raises, but it may provide an opportunity for good discussion on important issues between kids and parents. While there are some redeeming values, the pictures negatives along with its pessimistic mood prevent Preview from recommending it.

Preview Reviewer: Alan Boyer

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: none.

Obscene Language: several (F-word 1, S-word 1, BS 1, A-hole 1).

Profanity: several (G 3, OMG 2, other 1).

Violence: few (car crash but camera turns away just before impact, demolished car is shown).

Sex: person walks in on couple having sex, and they are shown covering up.

Nudity: none.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: couple is engaged in petting.

Drugs: smoking marijuana, smoking tobacco, drinking wine with dinner, a woman is high on marijuana.

Other: none.

Running Time: 101 minutes.
Intended Audience: teenagers to adult.

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