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The Rules of Attraction



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: R

Romantic satire set in an affluent New England liberal arts college during the 1980s about romantic and sexual complications among several students: Sean (James Van Der Beek) deals drugs on the side, Paul (Ian Somerhalder) is bisexual, and his ex-girlfriend Lauren (Shannyn Sossamon) wants to save herself for her boyfriend Victor (Kip Pardue) who's backpacking across Europe. Sean is in love with Lauren, who's in love with both Sean and Victor, while Paul loves Sean. Also with Jessica Biel, Clare Kramer, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Kate Bosworth. [1:50]

SEX/NUDITY 9 - In a date rape scene a young man has sex with an unconscious young woman who's lying on her stomach, while another young man films them (we see the young man thrusting and the young woman moving), and we see this scene repeated again later. A young woman moans and asks for more as a young man thrusts rhythmically and she reaches climax. A young man climbs on top of a young woman and begins thrusting and we hear her moaning. An older man invites a young woman to join him on a couch, they kiss, he lifts her top, he caresses her clothed breast, we hear him unzip his pants, see him push her head toward his crotch and watch him make pleasured expressions. Two young men kiss passionately, take off their shirts and lie back on a floor. A young man climbs on top of another young man and thrusts his hips suggestively (they are both clothed), a young man invites another young man to take a shower with him and they begin to take off their clothes. A young man fantasizes about a sexual partner while masturbating, a young man masturbates while looking at pornography on his computer (we see women with bare breasts), a young man masturbates and we see his arm moving rhythmically, and a young man masturbates in the shower and we see his bare buttocks. Two young men watch a pornographic movie: we see two women kiss each other and caress each other's bare breasts and hear them moaning. We see a young woman's bare breasts as she lies dead in a bathtub. At a party with a sexual theme it is required that the attendees dress suggestively and we see many, many young women with bare breasts and wearing thong underwear and young men in only jockey shorts. During the party, a young man caresses a young woman's bare breast, and another young woman holds him from behind and they sway together. We see a bit of a young man's bare buttocks as he pulls up his pants after having had sex with a young woman. A young man caresses another young man's abdomen and tries to kiss him. A young woman goes into a dorm room followed by many young men, one of whom lifts her onto a bed and another closes the door; it is suggested that she has sex with all of the young men in the room. A young woman in underwear and stockings jumps on a bed and a bare-chested young man goes into the room and closes the door behind him. A young man runs through a laundry list of things he did while in Europe and we see some very quick clips of him at a sex show where we see women with bare breasts: we see him dancing with a young woman, we very briefly see them having sex and kissing. A young man and woman kiss a few times. Young men and women dance together, a young man dances toward another young man while making suggestive remarks. We see a young woman in her bra and boxer shorts, and women wear outfits that reveal bare abdomens, shoulders, backs and cleavage. A young man is bare chested and wearing shorts while doing yoga, a young man lies in bed in his jockey shorts, a young man puts his hand in his underwear and scratches. A young woman looks at a book of photographs of people with sores and other lesions caused by venereal disease (she uses this book to keep from wanting to have sex). There is a lot of sexual innuendo and many sexual remarks: a young woman talks about losing her virginity, a young man admires a young woman's cleavage and breasts, we are told that a young woman "did the whole football team," and a young woman talks about "swallowing his DNA." There are a few homosexual references, a young man looks at another young man longingly, and two young women hold hands. A young man rubs lotion on a young woman's back, a young man reads several suggestive letters written to him describing what an admirer would like to do with him sexually, a young man's dorm room door has a drawing of part of the male anatomy and a suggestive anatomical term is written next to it, there is a reference to an orgy, and a young woman invites two young men back to her room (one accepts). A young man dances in front of a mirror in his underwear, two young women discuss the effectiveness of birth control pills and condoms, there are a few discussions and comments made about masturbation, young people talk about going to a party with a suggestive name and there is a discussion about whether or not a woman climaxes. A man looks through a pornographic magazine with a suggestive title.

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A young woman commits suicide by slitting her wrists in a bathtub; we see blood pour from the wounds, we watch her grimace and see the tub full of bloody water. In a date rape scene, a young man has sex with an unconscious young woman lying on her stomach. A young woman tries to pull a young woman, who is dead, out of a bathtub (she is the first to discover her). A man holds a gun to a young man's eye. A man pulls a knife on two young men, there is a scuffle and a young man cuts the man's arm with an electric knife, and the man pulls a gun on them as they race away in a car (we see one of the young men with a bloody nose). A young man is punched and kicked and hit with a bat repeatedly. A man grabs a young man's arm and twists it. A young man yanks a telephone wire out of the wall, ties it around his neck, then around a light fixture in the ceiling and tries, unsuccessfully, to hang himself; the same young man tries, with no luck, to slit his wrists with a disposable razor, and the same young man takes a handful of cold pills hoping to overdose (when he awakens he discovers he has urinated in his pants and the bed). A young man vomits on a young woman's back (we see the goo). A young man who has apparently tried to commit suicide is shown unconscious, his skin is bluish and he is dragged around by his friends and ultimately taken to the hospital (one of his friends says that he tried to kill himself). A young man punches a young woman in the face and we see her bloody nose. A young man is kicked in the crotch and spat on by another young man. A young man injects himself in the foot with a needle, and a young woman's nose bleeds after snorting cocaine. A young man pretends to be dead and paints fake blood on his neck and mouth. A young man puts a lit cigarette in his belly button (as ostensibly a place to hold it). A young man has a bruised cheek and mouth in a few scenes. A young man has a bowel movement and we hear flatulent sounds and see him wiping himself, a young man picks his nose, and a woman vomits into a bucket. A straw man collapses in flames, and a young man punches a pumpkin.

PROFANITY 10 - 112 F-words and its derivatives, 1 obscene hand gesture, 19 sexual references, 1 sexual hand gesture, 26 scatological terms, 22 anatomical terms, 12 mild obscenities, 2 derogatory terms for homosexuals, 25 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Date rape, relationships, attraction, suicide, emotional vampirism, virgins, karma, college, birth control, venereal disease, love, homosexuality, jealousy.

MESSAGE - No one ever really, truly knows anybody else.

(Note: There are many college campus party scenes where young men and women drink alcohol to the point of inebriation, as well as smoke cigarettes. And, there are other, non-party scenes that show people drinking and smoking cigarettes. People are also shown using marijuana and other illegal drugs in several scenes.)

Special Keywords: S9 - V6 - P10 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

INAPPROPRIATE ADS? We have little control over ads since we belong to ad agencies that serve ads automatically; a standing order should prevent provocative ads, but inappropriate ads do sneak in.
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