Mack & Rita Parent Guide
Intriguing premise. Flat execution.
Parent Movie Review
Mackenzie (known as Mack and played by Elizabeth Lail) is an old soul. Raised by her self-assured grandmother, Mack wants nothing more than to wear vintage clothes, live life at her own relaxed pace, speak her mind, and stop pretending that she enjoys the same social activities as her peers.
“Be careful what you wish for” is an old saying and Mack discovers its wisdom when she enters a purported “past life regression” chamber only to emerge in an aged version of her own body (played by Diane Keaton). The regression chamber operator has disappeared and Mack has no choice but to return to her life, pretending to be her “Aunt Rita” while she tries desperately to regain her youthful body. Along the way, Mack discovers that some advantages come along with those advancing years…
There’s another wise adage that is particularly relevant to movie critics – “Keep your expectations low and you won’t be disappointed”. Boy, did I ever blow it on this one. After watching the trailer, I was excited to watch Mack & Rita. It looked fun and I could relate to Mack. I, too, spent my youth trying to pretend I was interested in pop culture when I really wanted to curl up with books and old movies. Sadly, despite my strong personal connection to Mack’s struggles, the actual movie left me cold.
There’s nothing wrong with the story arc: by seeing her life from a different perspective, Mack learns to value her distinctive interests instead of hiding them. That increased sense of self-respect also gives her the ability to speak up and reach for what she wants. Where the movie stumbles is in Elizabeth Lail’s curiously flat performance. She too often sounds like she’s reciting lines; not inhabiting a character. In addition, the quasi-romantic relationship between Aunt Rita and handsome neighbor Jack (Dustin Milligan) feels forced and lacking in chemistry.
The biggest challenge with this film, though, is its negative content. Mack & Rita is literally awash in alcohol, with characters drinking wine or other booze in almost every social scene. Illegal drugs also make an appearance, with Rita consuming a tea made from magic mushrooms in hopes that it will trigger a return to her thirty-year-old self. All is does is cause hallucinations, which are treated as comic material. Throw in dozens of profanities and some sexual innuendo, and this production clearly misses the mark for family entertainment.
To be honest, this film was never geared at families: it’s aimed directly at older women. Its message – that women of all ages and experiences are valuable – is worthwhile. But you don’t need to watch the movie to appreciate the theme. Just spend time with a woman you respect.Directed by Katie Aselton. Starring Diane Keaton, Elizabeth Lail, Taylour Paige. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release August 12, 2022. Updated August 12, 2022
Watch the trailer for Mack & Rita
Mack & Rita
Rating & Content Info
Why is Mack & Rita rated PG-13? Mack & Rita is rated PG-13 by the MPAA For some drug use, sexual references and language.
Violence: A woman’s wig catches fire – no one is injured. A woman screams and threatens an intruder with pepper spray.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss. A woman makes occasional brief comments about the size and shape of her breasts. A woman briefly mentions showing her breast to a celebrity. A woman wears a very low cut dress that exposes lots of cleavage. A character holds a candle that claims to smell like someone’s genitals. There is very brief, non-descriptive mention of people having sex. A woman briefly comments on a man’s anatomy.
Profanity: There are almost two dozen terms of deity, two scatological curses, three crude anatomical expressions, and about a dozen mild profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters drink alcohol in almost every social setting and heavy alcohol consumption is treated humorously. A woman consumes a drink purportedly made from magic mushrooms and hallucinates.
Page last updated August 12, 2022
Mack & Rita Parents' Guide
Why does Mack feel compelled to keep her interests hidden from her peers? Have you ever felt out of step with your friends? What does Mack learn about valuing her distinctive personality? How does self respect relate to self-confidence?
Related home video titles:
A mother and daughter are horrified when they wake up one morning, having switched bodies. In Freaky Friday, they need to figure out how to return to their own bodies before they wreck their lives.
Would you ever want to return to your youth? In 17 Again, a father is returned to his teens, only to wind up in high school with his own teenaged children.
A supercharged DeLorean takes Marty McFly back in time to his parents’ high school years. Unless he can make sure they fall in love with each other, Marty will never make it Back to the Future.
Diane Keaton plays an older woman determined to make her dreams come true in her remaining time in Poms.
A young woman is incapable of getting old; the effects are shown in The Age of Adaline.