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Movie Review

The Next Best Thing

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements, sexual content, partial nudity and language.

Reviewed by: Gabe Rodriguez
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older Teen to Adult
Genre:
Drama
Length:
1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Relevant Issues
Scene from “The Next Best Thing”

What’s wrong with being gay? Answer

What should be the attitude of the church toward homosexuals and homosexuality?

What does the Bible say about same-sex marriages?

Can a gay person go to Heaven?

I just found out I’m pregnant and I’m not married. What should I do?

Abortion / Pro-life topics

Personal stories from women dealing with unplanned pregnancies, abortion, medical complications during pregnancy, and more…

Featuring: Madonna, Michael Vartan, Rupert Everett, Josef Sommer, Benjamin Bratt
Director: John Schlesinger
Producer: Leslie Dixon, Tom Rosenberg, Linne Radmin
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“The Next Best Thing” had promise. The acting leads are talented and the film’s premise COULD have been interesting. But after about 45 minutes of some hybrid British accent from Madonna, too many gay jokes, too much gay rights propaganda, and an overabundance of poor acting from Madonna, one might start to doze off.

Madonna plays Abbie, a single woman who is beyond fed up with dating all these losers who never give her any respect. On the cusp of her latest breakup, she runs to her best friend for a shoulder to cry on (the gay Robert; played well by Rupert Everett). And when Abbie and Robert get drunk, they end up having an alcohol-induced one night stand which results in an unplanned pregnancy. So Abbie and Robert decide to raise the baby together. Flash forward. The baby is no longer a baby, but a 6-year-old boy. He doesn’t really understand his family’s odd predicament, but he’s beginning too. And when Abbie becomes engaged to Ben (Benjamin Bratt, also with a good performance) who plans to move to New York, the best friends part ways and their little boy ends up in the middle of a bitter custody battle.

From a Christian perspective, this film could and most definitely will offend many Christian moviegoers. If you believe homosexuality is biblically wrong, “The Next Best Thing” will most likely infuriate you. It is 100% pro-gay-rights. Also included is an implied sexual relationship between two men (we see them wake up after sex), some foul language, and several scenes of partial nudity: Abbie is seen from behind in a thong bikini; in another scene she is wearing a see-through bra which exposes her breasts; then there is the photo from a childbirth book that shows in detail the head of a baby exiting the mother during birth).

Combined with the few scenes of nudity and the pro-gay slant (more of a mountainside, really) and Madonna’s wretched performance and bad, bad script, “The Next Best Thing” is just as its title implies.


Viewer Comments
I thought “The Next Best Thing” was going to be a step up for Madonna, but it was more like a step down. I was extremely disappointed in this movie. It was kind of okay some of the time, but put too much pressure on people accepting the gay community. Rupert Everett sleeps with another man proving that this world really is sick. Madonna’s child seems to be okay with everything that is going on, considering that he doesn’t have a father, and the man who acts as the father figure is gay. It isn’t worth it and parents wouldn’t be pleased. My Ratings: [1½/1½]
—Marie C., age 13
This movie was good overall. It in no way placed gays and lesbians in a superior position to straight people. Instead, it was a movie about tolerance and the ignorance that breeds homophobia. The Christian jokes were necessary to let it be known that Christians are not practicing what they preach. God is love, and discriminates against no one.
—Angelina, age 19
Movie Critics
…The entire point of “The Next Best Thing” is to expose the general public to the ideas and passions of the gay community… preaches gay equality, if not gay superiority…
—Steven Isaac, Plugged In, Focus on the Family
…“The Next Best Thing” to slamming your head in the car door would be to see this film…
—Jon Popick, Nzone
…It’s just flat-out bad. …[Madonna’s] made it abundantly clear that she doesn’t need anyone to cry for her, but you almost have to pity Madonna for her unerring bad luck with movies…
—Ernest Hardy, Film.com
…heavy profanity…
—ScreenIt
…includes graphic photo of female genitals. Many obscenities… jokes about conservative religion…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review