What You Need To Know:
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Huey Lewis star in this comedy. Though the story is shallow and even unrealistic at times, there are a few funny moments and some decent acting. There are some redeeming qualities to the characters, but the gratuitous foul language, sex and nudity spoiled the story. Also, the idea of running away from family and suburban life was depicted in a “fun” way, but the movie really fails to show the emotions and consequences of such actions. Despite the laughs, this movie is marred by foul language, depicted sex and many other objectionable elements
(PaPa, C, LLL, VV, SS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Mostly pagan worldview of characters acting impulsively, plus some mild redemptive qualities; 19 obscenities, 14 profanities, implied vomiting, & many lewd sexual references; man’s old school teacher is rude & mean, woman takes beggar’s coin cup, saying, “God bless you,” man drives at high speeds while under the influence, a near accident with car, fighting with depicted bottle broken over man’s head, man holds other man hostage, shootout in convenience store, man slaps other man, & man shoots self with some depicted blood; depicted fornication, implied adultery, woman kisses married man but no relationship, girl talks about her sexual past saying, “after 10 years of being with women,” & implied oral sex as a favor; upper male & female nudity with some partial lower female nudity of girl getting into underwear; alcohol use, drunkenness & man drinks & drives; smoking & drug use to “take away fear”; and, gambling, lying, theft & bad role models.
In DUETS, different journeys involving various personalities are depicted en route to a karaoke championship.
Ricky Dean (recording artist Huey Lewis) is a singer who hustles small circuit karaoke winners by betting on and winning karaoke tournaments in a smaller arena. One day, while in bed with a woman he met the night before, Ricky receives a call that his ex-wife died. He travels to the funeral where he meets Liv (Gwyneth Paltrow of THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY), a young girl who worked with the deceased woman. To their surprise, Ricky’s ex-mother-in law informs them both that they are actually father and daughter. While Liv embraces the fact and is eager to do all the things she missed with him while growing up, Ricky wants no part of it and determines he was born a ramblin’ man. Liv tags along anyway, much to Ricky’s displeasure.
Meanwhile, Todd, a traveling salesman, arrives at a business meeting. After passing out folders and apologizing for his tardiness, he not only realizes he’s in the wrong meeting, but the wrong state. He goes to his suburban home where his children ignore him, and his wife, preoccupied with being online, barely makes conversation with him. He tells her he is going out for cigarettes and gets on a plane to anywhere but home. He ends up in a karaoke bar in Arizona, where he meets a wild girl. She convinces him to try singing, and gives him some of her drugs used to “take the fear away.” Though a bit nervous at first, he gives it a try and takes off on the open road. He picks up a hitchhiker named Reggie, who also happens to be a wanted criminal. One night, they stop in at a karaoke bar where a competition for duets only is taking place. Eager to enter, Todd convinces Reggie to participate, and Reggie displays a beautiful voice.
While all of this is happening, a cab driver named Billy (Scott Speedman of TV’s FELICITY) is far away, dealing with major battles in his life. His girlfriend cheated on him with his business partner and an old school teacher called him an underachiever. Having had the desire to be a priest before, he changed his mind, saying, “I thought I would help people – it’s a crock.” Drowning his sorrows at a karaoke bar, he meets Suzi (Maria Bello of COYOTE UGLY), an outspoken woman who thinks nothing of giving a sexual favor in order to get something in return. She is also a karaoke singer and convinces Billy to take her to California, stopping along the way at a karaoke bar to win a qualifying spot to the championships.
Eventually, all of these individuals come together for the karaoke championships, learning about themselves and gaining friends along the way. Though the story’s depth is rather shallow, there are a few funny moments, carried out by some decent acting. This story could have easily become a darker comedy than it is, but there are some redeeming qualities to the characters that resolve some conflicts.
Regrettably, there was plenty of unnecessary foul language, sex and nudity that not only spoiled the story but often seemed out of place. Also, the idea of running away from family and suburban life was depicted in a “fun” way, but movie really fails to show the emotions and consequences of such actions.