A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 2:Hrs is a comedy from England about an incorrigible high school student who discovers that he may only have two hours to live. He and his friends spend that time running from opportunistic villains and working out a "bucket list" of things he'd like to do in the "time he has left." Most likely, none but the most naive viewers will believe that the hero is actually going to die, so it's all in fun, with a little suspense thrown in for good measure. And it's a redemption story, as the hero is behaving badly when the movie opens but learns some valuable lessons. Viewers can expect slapstick action -- pratfalls, exaggerated fighting, chases, a couple of incidents with an electrified stun gun pointed at the good guys. One "hell" and one use of "d--k," along with "34C bust" and "I wet myself." Some kisses between a girl and boy.
What's the story?
Still grieving from the loss of his beloved dad, Tim Edge (Harry Jarvis) can't stay out of trouble in 2:HRS. He's mean to his sister, cutting classes, a brazen graffiti artist, and all-around bad apple. On a school trip to London's Natural History Museum, Tim coaxes his two best friends, Vic (Ella-Rae Smith) and Alf (Alhaji Fofana), to sneak away and explore on their own. Moving stealthily through a dark tunnel below the museum, they come upon a secret press conference. Scientist Lena Eidelhorm (Siobhan Redmond) is proudly displaying her newest technological marvel: The Vitalitron, a machine that she claims can accurately predict the time of death of any living creature. With the assembled distracted, the nervy Tim gets into the machine and turns it on. Within moments, everyone is dumbstruck when the Vitalitron predicts TIm's death in just two hours. In the chaos that follows, TIm, Vic, and Alf make a quick exit. Lena Eidelhorm, along with the "industrialist" who's funding the research, as well as two moronic reporters, are desperate to get the teens back. The chase is on. And as for Tim, what do you do when you discover you only have two hours to live?
Is it any good?
An outlandish concept is made plausible because of sincere performances from the teen leads and entertaining because of strong rooting interest for the hero. Also, there's a message beneath the madness. Decidedly British (in a good way), in 2:Hrs even the broadest silliness has feels more sophisticated. For example, the movie has a traditional bumbling, fumbling, slapstick duo menacing the heroes, and they're actually funny-absurd rather than simply absurd. A touching subplot involving Tim's little sister Shona (wonderfully played by Fabienne Piolini-Castle) is nicely developed, as well. Not necessarily a memorable movie, but solid enough to please kids of the appropriate ages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how movies often use grief as a story element, especially in movies about kids and teens. How does the fact that a character has lost a parent provide an immediate emotional connection for the audience? In 2:Hrs, how does Tim's recent loss help explain his behavior and his feelings? Does it fuel your support and/or empathy for the character?
It's illuminating to watch or read stories about young people in other societies and countries. How do Londoners Tim, Vic, and Alf remind you of kids you know? What do you think teens all over the world have in common despite cultural differences? Their goals? Lifestyles? Relationships?
Tim and his friends make a "bucket list" of things he wants to do before his two hours are up. What is the meaning of "bucket list?" Why is it a good idea to start doing the things you want and/or hope to do at an early age, without thinking about a finite time period? What's on your bucket list for this year? For this decade?
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