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How to Deal (2003)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 18 July 2003 (USA)
2:32 | Trailer

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A teenager (Moore), disillusioned by too many examples of love gone wrong, refuses to believe that true love exists. Then this new guy (Ford) comes along...



(novels), (screenplay)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Beckwith
Grandma Halley
Lewis Warsher
Ashley Martin
Sonja Smits ...
Carol Warsher
Laura Catalano ...
Lorna Queen
Donald Sherwood
Buck Warsher
Michael Sherwood
Alison MacLeod ...
Sharon Sherwood


Halley is a young high school student who is disillusioned with love after seeing the many dysfunctional relationships around her. Her parents are now divorced and her father has a new young girlfriend she doesn't care for too much. Her mother is now always alone; and her sister is so overwhelmed by her upcoming wedding that she barely leaves the house anymore. On top of that, the shallowness of all the girls and guys at her school convinces Halley that finding true love is impossible. A tragic accident, however, leads her to meeting Macon, and suddenly Halley finds that true love can occur under unusual circumstances. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A lesson in love for non-believers. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material, language and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

18 July 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enamórate  »

Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,809,960 (USA) (18 July 2003)


$14,108,518 (USA) (8 August 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Mandy Moore cut her hair short because she felt it suited the role; the movie producers weren't happy about it. In the end they compromised and had her wear hair extension for some of the movie and then have her having her hair cut put into the film. See more »


When Lydia is in the kitchen ranting about her ex-husband, she is chopping carrots. The shot cuts away then cuts back to show her chopping the top off a zucchini. But, when the scene cuts away and back again, she is chopping the carrots again. See more »


Macon: You're gonna let this slide, because it's only the first day , it was an honest mistake, and the fire got put out as quickly as it was started.
See more »


References Hulk (2003) See more »


Hidden Charms
Written by Willie Dixon
Performed by Howlin' Wolf
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

It's NOT a romantic comedy
5 March 2005 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

New Line has sold this movie short and filed it as a Romantic Comedy but I must stress it is not. It's a teen drama with some romance and humor. Think of it as a teen version of American Beauty. Though it's all rather light, How to Deal does have some seriousness and important parts.

Mandy Moore (marry me?) is Halley Martin, a teenage girl who refuses to believe that true love exists (like me). Her best pal does but is heartbroken when her boyfriend drops dead on the football field of a heart defect (err...like me). Halley's parents have split and found others, her sister is engaged to some guy and all they do is argue. It seems like the best way to deal with love is to avoid it.

All that changes when Halley meets Macon (stupid name) a geeky Star Wars nerd. He seems like a dweeb at first but his character grows on you, as he does Halley. He's played by Trent Ford and on the cover he's wearing a white vest and is marketed as a sexually neutral, non-threatening pretty boy (Orlando Bloom, Justin Timberlake etc) but that ain't him or his character at all and he never appears in a vest at any point in the movie. I expected to hate him just because of the cover but that ain't so. In the course of her steadily strengthening relationship with Macom (really, what a stupid name!) Halley learns how to deal with teen pregnancy, being a bridesmaid, her dope-smoking grandmother, car crashes, stepmoms, stepdads etc. Stuff that every kid learns. Real kids, not the kids that make love to pastries or live in mansions, which are the only 2 types of kids Hollywood thinks exist.

Taken from 2 separate novels by Sarah Dessen called 'Someone Like You' and 'That Summer' it's possible that How to Deal might have a sequel. And if it does its literary roots guarantee it will a better sequel than most.

I recommend How to Deal for anyone who is sick to death of endless American Pie clones or Harold and Kumar or Maid in Manhatten/Laws of Attraction/Two Weeks Notice/Sweet Home Alabama/blah blah blah. It's not a romantic comedy, not by a long shot. It's far more realistic than that and it doesn't insult your intelligence. Give it a go.

The DVD is in great-looking 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound. The extras are actually quite good for a change, one of them focusing on Young Adult Literature and it's definitely a good DVD for the price.

30 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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