What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy comedy appears to have been inspired by Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, it's not heavy-handed and is likely to appeal to teens who are fans of either of the stars or director Brett Ratner's action movies. Expect plenty of high-octane scenes -- car chases, a Ferrari dangling from 50 stories high, etc. -- as well as a fair amount of swearing (particularly "s--t"), product placement, and sexual innuendoes/references to sex. The characters' scheme is a crime, but they're presented as Robin Hood-esque in their motivations.
  • Families can talk about the characters' motivations. Are they justified in wanting to get revenge? Is it ever justifiable to commit a crime to right a wrong?
  • Does the movie seem skewed toward the perpetrators? Why? And should it be? Would you have as much sympathy for the characters if they were real-life people?
  • How does the movie address class and race? Does it undermine stereotypes or reinforce them? Are the characters a realistic depiction of life in New York?
  • Do you think people who commit Ponzi schemes start off expecting to defraud people, or do you think they accidentally end up in that situation when they take a big risk that fails? How should the legal system punish criminals who steal people's life savings?
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