A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Most of the movie's lessons have to do with communication, determination, and friendship. When Elmo loses his blankie, he needs to use a set of skills that will help him get it back. He has to communicate his needs, he has to co-operate with grouches, and he has to follow directions to help him find Huxley's castle.
As per usual, the friends on Sesame Street come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, and everyone pretty much gets along (except for the grouchy characters in Grouchland, of course).
Positive Role Models
Elmo's friends -- both adults and younger folks, human and monster -- come to Elmo's aid when he's in a bind. Everyone works together to help solve problems. The Grouchland characters throw manners out the window, but they're clearly in the wrong.
Violence & Scariness
Some perilous moments -- like a rollerblading scene and falling down a tunnel -- that might put little ones on the edge of their seat. The villain, Huxley, is a selfish meanie who sends Elmo into a dark tunnel after stealing his blankie. But Elmo asks his friends in the audience for help and escapes the dark place.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The Queen of Trash is a curvaceous, sensual woman. Huxley is shown in his boxer shorts and an undershirt.
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Grouches aren't models of friendly language. Part of their "charm" is saying "scram," "yuck," and "go away!"
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Products & Purchases
Elmo has lots of toys in his room, including some Fisher Price classics and a poster of Tiger Woods. Huxley sings a song about things that he wants to take from other people in which he names brands like Atari and Ferrari. There's a reference to Starbucks, though it's called "Tarbucks."
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that everything is topsy turvy when Elmo ventures into Grouchland, so a certain understanding of what is (and isn't) acceptable behavior is needed to get the humor fully -- hearing the pleasure with which the Grouches tell each other to get lost is funny only if you know it's not really OK. There are a few mildly perilous/tense moments that could upset sensitive or very young viewers, and some kids may be concerned that Elmo doesn't seem to have any parents and could need some reassurance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Sesame Street fans will love THE ADVENTURES OF ELMO IN GROUCHLAND, which has all of the wonderful Sesame Street trademarks. There are subtle puns for parents, delightful silliness for kids, and gentle lessons about cooperation, loyalty, sharing, and believing in yourself for everyone, all told with their characteristic warmth, good humor, and kindness. Even Oscar the Grouch (Carroll Spinney) admits that Elmo is his friend. And during the few moments of mild tension, Ernie and Bert appear to reassure kids that everything is all right.
Patinkin and Vanessa Williams (as the Trash Queen) provide some star power, but the real stars are the Muppets and the audience -- who are invited to participate in the movie at crucial moments.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.