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Still shot from the movie: Sweet November.

Sweet November

Can sex with a quirky woman for a month solve a man's obsession with himself and his work? This tearjerker wants us to buy into the plan, but neglects to include some of the consequences of joining the "Man-A-Month" club. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: C-
Violence: B
Sexual Content: D+
Language: C-
Drugs/Alcohol: B
Theater Release:
Video Release:
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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A woman once told me she wished she could marry every man she meets for half an hour... just long enough to make his life wonderful. However, my years of chuckling over her comment turned to astonishment after seeing Sweet November, a movie that proposes a similar plan.

Sweet November - Official site After busy ad exec Nelson (Keanu Reeves) asks Sara (Charlize Theron) to help him cheat on a driver's license exam, her test is disqualified, leaving Nelson feeling obligated to be Sara's taxi. What he doesn't know is Sara is evaluating him for her next "experiment."

Convinced Nelson hasn't found joy in his life, Sara reveals her true intentions when she invites him to move in and spend November under her tutelage. At month's end he will leave a new man, just like Mr. October and others before him. At first Nelson rejects the ludicrous idea, but after losing his job and girlfriend, he finds himself on Sara's doorstep. There he begins his transformation under Sara's direction and with help from her homosexual neighbor and a fatherless boy across the street.

Sweet November - Official site Certainly the idea of turning a workaholic into a sensitive guy is attractive and worthwhile, but it doesn't take a genius to discover a romp on the beach with an attractive woman is a lot more fun than writing ad pitches. Even more bothersome is Sara's 30-day treatment comes off as nothing more than an exercise to convince Nelson to participate in her "take it slow" sexual preferences as opposed to his "drive-through" sexual behavior.

Sweet November - Official site As Nelson undergoes Sara's instructions, we witness bedroom banter with clothed foreplay, a bathtub scene containing bare-ly enough bubbles, a visit with their transvestite neighbors, and a "carefully" filmed scene of the naked couple engaged in sex.

However, careful observation reveals that for all her criticism of Nelson, Sara is just as unwilling to make a commitment, using a serious personal crisis to justify her rejection of his marriage proposal. Abandoning commitment in favor of physical gratification, Sara's quick fix will likely have short-term effects on Nelson while leaving a long lasting impression on young viewers.

Sweet November is rated PG-13: for sexual content and language. (Previously rated R in 2000).

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron
Studio: 2001 Warner Brothers

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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