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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

(2004), PG-13
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
May 28, 2004
62 out of 100

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2004), PG-13 -- "I HATE YOU" ... "YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE"

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): High Arc Productions, Beacon Pictures, Mandeville Films, Touchstone Pictures
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): Garry Marshall
Producer(s): Ashok Amritraj, David Hoberman, Mario Iscovich, Todd Lieberman, David Scharf, Ellen H. Schwartz, Karen Stirgwolt
Story: Patrick J. Clifton, Beth Rigazio
Screenplay: Jack Amiel, Michael Begler
Cinematography/Camera: Charles Minsky, Michael Stone
Music: John Debney
Film Editing: Bruce Green, Tara Timpone
Casting: Mali Finn
Production Design: Steven J. Jordan
Art Direction: William Hiney
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

This analysis is dedicated to Mrs. E. V. for her generous donation of $80. Helping Mrs. E. V. were K. H. with $2, R. T. with $15, J. T. with $20, A. L. with $3 and S B. with $5. Though their combined donations were not enough to meet minimum costs, their help was most appreciated indeed.

Raising Helen had some good things to say. And it had some not-so-good things to say. But what might be good for your children is up to you. We just tell you about the moral and ethical assaults being fed to our kids in and as entertainment, you decide whether the film is fit for your family.

Lindsay (Felicity Huffman) and Paul Davis (Sean O'Bryan) are killed and leave behind there three children, under 16 years old Audrey (Hayden Panettiere), preteen Henry (Spencer Breslin) and little Sarah (Abigail Breslin) with the nose boogies. Also surviving Lindsay and Paul are Lindsay's sisters Jenny Portman (Joan Cusack) and Helen Harris (Kate Hudson). Linday's Last Will leaves the children not to Jenny, the obviously best choice since Jenny is already a mother but to single Kate who is a high ranking associate of a successful model agency. Kate didn't have the time to care for children. At the start, anyway.

A subplot involves Kate signing the New Jersey kids up to attend school near her in Manhattan. Seeing the level of debauchery in the [stereotype] public schools, Kate signed the kids up at a clean-looking Lutheran school, the St. Barbara's school whose boss was principal Pastor Dan Parker (John Corbett), a new age "sexy man of God." Pastor Dan was instrumental in helping the kids learn living. But not as instrumental as Jenny as she chased Audrey out of a motel room with a kid who thought "What's the big deal? It's just prom."

One other good influence in Audrey's life occurred when she was caught having a party when Kate was gone. Lost for what to do when she showed up, Kate acted quite permissive to Audrey's insistence that it was a harmless get-together - with drinking. All the kids acted, of course, "We ain't doing nothin' wrong!" [Prov. 30:20] But when advice came long distance from Jenny to kick their little behinds out, Kate was unable to do so. To the rescue was a veteran mother neighbor whose name I wish I could remember. A delightful lady who used a baseball bat to chase the "baggypants" (underwear showing) kids out in no uncertain terms.

That is it for the plot summary. Cost-cutting measures are never pleasant.

Well, Raising Helen earned a 62 which places it confidently in the scoring range earned by PG-13 movies in the comparative baseline database (55 to 67 our of 100), but that does not mean it is fit for 13 year olds. YOU decide that for your 13 year olds, indeed any minors living in your house, not the MPAA.

Raising Helen does contains some of the typical Hollywood adolescent screaming of "I HATE YOU" and "YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE" by malcontent teens whose only perception of the real world, by no fault of their own, comes from the big screen and music: who, by no fault of their own, do not yet have any real idea what real life is beyond the big screen but are certain they know since the entertainment industry feeds them everything they want and need to know about real life, dontcha know. I wonder what kids did to learn about real life before the big screen. I think they used real life to learn about real life. And their parents!

Six uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, once by a teen and once by a pastor. The only instance of violence was the bat lady swinging a baseball bat at the mouthy kids challenging moral limits. Issues of arrogance against fair authority (in addition to the above notations) are typical of a teen flick and abound in Raising Helen: an underage teen getting a fake ID (and an adult congratulating her); teens uttering vulgar expressions; teens trying to minimize the gravity of sexual irresponsibility to excuse manufacturing sexual freedom [again Prov. 30:20 plus Heb. 13:17]; additional matters of teen arrogance against fair authority [Exod. 20:12]. And we wonder why our teens are this way in real life when the are encouraged and emboldened to be that way from every entertainment angle [Eccl. 8:11, Luke 17:2].

Issues of sexual immorality included camera angle to force viewer on private parts, dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, a request for sex, an invitation to sex, excessive cleavage, below navel skin challenging exposure of that which follows, teens pushing the limits of sexual morality and more. [Gal. 5:19]

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will tell you all that was found.

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If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Prov. 30:20 This is the way of an adulteress: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, `I've done nothing wrong.' [Though this verse speaks to the adulterous woman, it applies to anyone who boasts there is nothing wrong with wrong doing.]
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
  • Heb. 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you [fair and responsible authority, properly appointed], and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account [report to God], that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
  • Eccl. 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work [which includes sexual immorality] is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    Raising Helen (2004) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • a woman swinging a baseball bat at teen boys who invaded her friend's apartment to be with her friend's daughter

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 6 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, once by a teen and once by a pastor
  • an adult congratulating a teen for getting a fake ID
  • teen partying in girl's apartment without adult supervision
  • ten arrogance against fair authority, repeatedly
  • vulgar expression by a teen boy
  • teen pushing the limits of sexual morality with an air of "Nothing wrong with it"; belittling the gravity of sexual irresponsibility to excuse sexual freedom
  • teen screaming hate at fair authority

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts, repeatedly
  • sensuous dance
  • lies, repeatedly
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, including by teens, repeatedly
  • request for sex
  • invitation to sex
  • woman removing man's garb with her teeth with sensuous talk
  • adolescent showing below navel skin, repeatedly
  • excessive cleavage
  • teen underwear exposed intentionally
  • teens trying to excuse violating sexual morality limits
  • suggestive eye movements
  • women as toys
  • two women holding hands amorously
  • adult displaying lower underwear n a photo

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • smoking
  • teen drinking
  • teen smoking
  • booze

    Offense to God (O)
  • one use of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • lying with God
  • "I'm a sexy man of God"

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted


     Artist:   Album:   Title:   Lyric:  

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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