HOW TO DEAL

Content -4
Quality
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: July 18, 2003

Starring: Mandy Moore, Allison Janney,
Trent Ford, Alexandra Holden,
Dylan Baker, and Peter
Gallagher

Genre: Drama

Audience: Teenagers and adults REVIEWER:
Lisa A. Rice Remember how it
felt to watch our beloved
Julie Andrews – you know,
Mary Poppins and Maria Von
Trapp – playing a crass role
in VICTOR VICTORIA and falling
headlong off our collective
pedestals? Ever so
regrettably, HOW TO DEAL gives
audiences that same, sad
letdown as they realize that
Mandy Moore is no longer
playing the sweet, relatable,
godly Christian young lady she
played in A WALK TO REMEMBER.
As a matter of fact, one of my
middle school children, who
has watched A WALK TO REMEMBER
more than a dozen times and
has proclaimed that she wants
to be just like Mandy’s
character, Jamie, actually
walked out of this latest
movie and asked me to pray for
her depressed
spirit. Depressing is probably
the most fitting word for HOW
TO DEAL. It’s the story of
Halley Martin (Mandy Moore),
who is trying to find a way to
“deal” with her father’s
abandonment and infidelity,
her man-hating mother’s fits
of rage, her best friend’s
highly sexual relationship
with her boyfriend, and the
mixed feelings she has for a
cute guy at school, Macon
(Trent Ford), whom she’s
supposed to hate because
he’s a man and therefore
potentially hurtful and
abandoning. (Aren’t we all
getting sick of the movies
that portray men as hurtful
and abandoning? Especially
since it’s God’s plan that
earthly fathers represent a
portrait of the incredible
love and faithfulness of our
heavenly Father?) The
movie’s official tagline is,
“There are no rules,” and
the worldview follows suit
throughout the story. Halley
encourages her best friend to
go ahead and fornicate with
her boyfriend and use him for
the good feelings he gives,
but to never fall in love with
a guy because that is a sure
ticket to a horrific breakup.
Ignoring Halley’s advice,
the friend falls in love, only
to have her boyfriend fall
over dead at a soccer game and
then find out she’s pregnant
with the boy’s
child. Meanwhile, the
class-cutting but charming
Macon continues to slowly work
his way into Halley’s life,
just at the time when she’s
most needed to comfort her
bereaved friend. How awkward
after all her preaching about
avoiding and using guys! The
relationship progresses and
moves toward sexual
exploration quickly. Halley
stops things in the nick of
time, though – not because
of any moral qualms, but
because she feels she might be
falling in love, and that’s
against her and her family’s
man-hating rules. Ah, such a
message to give our teens! On
another front, Halley’s
older sister shocks the family
(on the day her mother’s
divorce is final) by
announcing her own engagement
to a privileged young man from
the South. The problem is that
the couple fights incessantly,
and at a fancy dinner at the
fiancé’s house, the
grandmother gets stoned from
smoking too much pot and
royally embarrasses the
bride-to-be, while the dog
makes sexual gyrations on the
mother’s leg. To make
matters more confusing, angry
mom soon meets a Coca-Cola
repairman and begins secretly
sneaking out of the house at
night to fornicate with him.
The characters continue to
argue with each other and
berate each other with
obscenities, struggling with
their angst over being drawn
toward men. After much
plodding, depressing dialog,
one big quasi-compelling
question remains: Will any of
these rocky relationships work
out, or will the man-hating
spirit win out in the end? In
reality, the biggest question
of all is actually HOW TO DEAL
with children who might insist
on seeing this awful movie:
take them to the exciting and
moral SPY KIDS 3D, or the
swashbuckling fun of PIRATES
OF THE CARIBBEAN. If they’re
die-hard Mandy Moore fans,
please direct them back to the
video WALK TO REMEMBER with
its positive, redemptive
Christian elements, much
better choices for their
summer entertainment! Please
address your comments
to: Robert Shaye & Michael
Lynne Co-Chairman/Co-CEO New
Line Cinema 116 North
Robertson Blvd. Suite 200 Los
Angeles, CA 90048 Phone: (310)
854-5811 Fax: (310)
659-3568 Website:
www.newline.com

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 95 minutes

Distributor: New Line Cinema

Director: Claire Kilner

Executive Producer:

Producer: Erica Huggins and William
Teitler EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:
Ted Field, Chris van Allsburg,
Scott Kroopf, David Lynde, and
Michelle Weiss

Writer: Neena Beber BASED ON THE
NOVELS: SOMEONE LIKE YOU and
THAT SUMMER by Sarah Dessen

Address Comments To:

Content:

(PaPaPa, Ho, LL, SS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Depressing, hedonistic, humanistic worldview espousing an angry, man-hating spirit and a total ignorance of God’s wonderful plan for marriage and family, including a veiled homosexual theme with almost all female characters expressing hatred for men and almost all male characters being weak, stupid, and/or void of morals; 8 obscenities and 15 light profanities; major sexual theme with friend catching teenage couple fornicating (veiled), couples sneak out to fornicate, mother sneaks out to fornicate, boy disrobes girl (shown from back with upper female and male nudity), and dog sexually attacks mother’s leg at fancy dinner; several instances of drinking and drunkenness; portrayals of drugs with grandmother smoking marijuana at every possible turn and proclaiming, “Wow, I’ve got the munchies!”; and, lying, stealing, cheating, disrespectfulness to parents, and girl gets pregnant out of wedlock and discusses abortion and adoption, finally opting to keep the baby herself.

GENRE: Drama

PaPaPa

LL

Ho

SS

NN

AA

DD

MM

Summary:

In HOW TO DEAL, Halley Martin must learn to deal with her parents’ divorce, her best friend’s unplanned teenage pregnancy, and the angst of feeling drawn toward the male sex, creatures that will undoubtedly abandon and/or wound. With a highly relativistic, humanistic outlook, and foul language and sexual themes more fit for an R-rated movie, audiences will be wondering HOW TO DEAL with their depression after seeing this movie!

Review:

Remember how it felt to watch our beloved Julie Andrews – you know, Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp – playing a crass role in VICTOR VICTORIA and falling headlong off our collective pedestals? Ever so regrettably, HOW TO DEAL gives audiences that same, sad letdown as they realize that Mandy Moore is no longer playing the sweet, relatable, godly Christian young lady she played in A WALK TO REMEMBER. As a matter of fact, one of my middle school children, who has watched A WALK TO REMEMBER more than a dozen times and has proclaimed that she wants to be just like Mandy’s character, Jamie, actually walked out of this latest movie and asked me to pray for her depressed spirit.

Depressing is probably the most fitting word for HOW TO DEAL. It’s the story of Halley Martin (Mandy Moore), who is trying to find a way to “deal” with her father’s abandonment and infidelity, her man-hating mother’s fits of rage, her best friend’s highly sexual relationship with her boyfriend, and the mixed feelings she has for a cute guy at school, Macon (Trent Ford), whom she’s supposed to hate because he’s a man and therefore potentially hurtful and abandoning. (Aren’t we all getting sick of the movies that portray men as hurtful and abandoning? Especially since it’s God’s plan that earthly fathers represent a portrait of the incredible love and faithfulness of our heavenly Father?)

The movie’s official tagline is, “There are no rules,” and the worldview follows suit throughout the story. Halley encourages her best friend to go ahead and fornicate with her boyfriend and use him for the good feelings he gives, but to never fall in love with a guy because that is a sure ticket to a horrific breakup. Ignoring Halley’s advice, the friend falls in love, only to have her boyfriend fall over dead at a soccer game and then find out she’s pregnant with the boy’s child.

Meanwhile, the class-cutting but charming Macon continues to slowly work his way into Halley’s life, just at the time when she’s most needed to comfort her bereaved friend. How awkward after all her preaching about avoiding and using guys! The relationship progresses and moves toward sexual exploration quickly. Halley stops things in the nick of time, though – not because of any moral qualms, but because she feels she might be falling in love, and that’s against her and her family’s man-hating rules. Ah, such a message to give our teens!

On another front, Halley’s older sister shocks the family (on the day her mother’s divorce is final) by announcing her own engagement to a privileged young man from the South. The problem is that the couple fights incessantly, and at a fancy dinner at the fiancé’s house, the grandmother gets stoned from smoking too much pot and royally embarrasses the bride-to-be, while the dog makes sexual gyrations on the mother’s leg. To make matters more confusing, angry mom soon meets a Coca-Cola repairman and begins secretly sneaking out of the house at night to fornicate with him. The characters continue to argue with each other and berate each other with obscenities, struggling with their angst over being drawn toward men.

After much plodding, depressing dialog, one big quasi-compelling question remains: Will any of these rocky relationships work out, or will the man-hating spirit win out in the end? In reality, the biggest question of all is actually HOW TO DEAL with children who might insist on seeing this awful movie: take them to the exciting and moral SPY KIDS 3D, or the swashbuckling fun of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. If they’re die-hard Mandy Moore fans, please direct them back to the video WALK TO REMEMBER with its positive, redemptive Christian elements, much better choices for their summer entertainment!

Please address your comments to:

Robert Shaye & Michael Lynne

Co-Chairman/Co-CEO

New Line Cinema

116 North Robertson Blvd.

Suite 200

Los Angeles, CA 90048

Phone: (310) 854-5811

Fax: (310) 659-3568

Website: www.newline.com

SUMMARY: In HOW TO DEAL, Halley Martin must learn to deal with her parents’ divorce, her best friend’s unplanned teenage pregnancy, and the angst of feeling drawn toward the male sex, creatures that will undoubtedly abandon and/or wound. With a highly relativistic, humanistic outlook, and foul language and sexual themes more fit for an R-rated movie, audiences will be wondering HOW TO DEAL with their depression after seeing this movie!

In Brief: