Reelist is a column of Kristen Page-Kirby’s musings on movies. To read Washington Post film critic Michael O’Sullivan’s review, click here.
I don’t care how sophisticated you think your kid is. Unless you want to explain pegging — or Google and THEN explain pegging (please don’t Google pegging at work) — this isn’t the movie for them.
That said, if your teenager claims he or she is going to see “The Choice,” and you notice that “Deadpool” is playing around the same time, and your kid is wearing a Deadpool T-shirt picked up from Hot Topic, then mayyyyyybe you pretend you don’t know what he or she is up to and hand over some popcorn money.
Look, I don’t know much about raising teenagers; my time in those particular trenches was a few years spent teaching high school English. I remember a few things: Never make a threat you don’t intend to follow through on, step into the hallway so the class won’t see you laugh at the inappropriate joke the really funny kid just made, and occasionally let them get away with something. If I caught them at everything, they’d find worse and worse things to try. Better to pretend I believed their aunt died. In fact, due dates for papers on “King Lear” are the leading cause of death for fictional aunts. Ask your doctor!
Thanks to all its “bad” elements, “Deadpool” absolutely deserves its solidly R rating, but there’s so much good in there, too. Deadpool the man respects women — not as some flashy character trait, but because he’s a good man and that’s what good men do. The violence has all the atrial spurting of a Tarantino film, but without the lascivious meanness. The F-word shows up as every possible part of speech, including articles and pronouns. The sex is enthusiastic, fun and always consensual; there’s full-frontal female nudity, but we also catch glimpses of Ryan Reynolds’ light (though it is mostly covered under a bushel of shadow). In short, “Deadpool” has all the things teenagers already see and hear in movies they’re not supposed to see, but it presents them in a new, better, more positive light.
So “Deadpool” is not for kids (PLEASE believe me). But for those on the threshold of adulthood, it has messages that they don’t see often but desperately need to learn. They’re just presented in a profanity-laced, full-frontal, blood-soaked way. And sometimes that’s just what teenagers need.
More Reelists from Kristen Page-Kirby