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Movie Review

Tim Dunphy is a stoner on a downward spiral. His verbally abusive, poker-playing, martini-swilling dad (who drinks with his underage son) ships him off to prep school to keep him out of trouble. On campus, Tim bonds with a few rebellious rich kids, including Jane, an Ivy League-bound girl with a wild side just waiting to be unleashed (she's first smitten with him when he spikes her Coke).

Few films rival Outside Providence for sheer irresponsibility. Created by the Farrelly brothers (There's Something About Mary) and distributed by the Weinstein brothers (heads of Disney's Miramax subsidiary), this coming-of-age comedy set in the mid-1970s titters with adolescent recalcitrance. A contempt for authority. Crass sexual references. Nearly 50 f-words. Masturbation humor. But none of this compares with the movie's sniggering glamorization of teen drug and alcohol use.

Superimposed over a collage of classic rock tunes, kids roll joints, take hits from bongs, spike brownies and drive under the influence. A pot-head is eulogized for his partying prowess. Tim—who gives Jane roach clips as a gift—even argues that he studies better wasted.

In addition, after emerging from a strictly religious, yet broken home (Dad's a blaspheming bum and Mom shot herself), Tim concludes, "Maybe after you die, there's just nothin'." Sorry theology.

Teens can't help but stagger away from this negligent tripe dazed and confused. Whether trying to impress viewers with its grasp of vulgar vocabulary, or showing Tim and Jane frolicking nude in the surf, Outside Providence operates in a moral vacuum.


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