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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Bombastic and wildly-inaccurate animated version of the American Revolution satirizes, among other things, contemporary divisions in American society, White privilege, racism, sexism, willful ignorance, the broken promises of European colonists and the American government in their dealings with Native Americans, and the clear contradictions of the United States Constitution in terms of the freedoms not afforded to minorities and women.
Positive Role Models
In its own overblown way, this satire of American history expresses a diversity that also addresses stereotypes. For instance, Thomas Edison is revealed to be an Asian American immigrant, and the shock and dismay of some of the White characters is a comedic reflection of xenophobic sexism more than anything else, especially as Edison is typically the most level-headed character in the movie. Depictions of Native Americans and African Americans is in a similar vein. However, Martha Washington in this incarnation is presented as a stereotypical "blonde bimbo" with large breasts barely contained in her blouse.
Violence & Scariness
Exaggerated animated violence throughout. Benedict Arnold turns into a werewolf and bites Abraham Lincoln's neck, resulting in massive rivulets of spurting blood before his head is decapitated and he dies. The signing of the Declaration of Independence in Independence Hall turns into a bloodbath as the Red Coats enter and kill everyone in sight with muskets, resulting in more decapitations and lost limbs, before Independence Hall is destroyed by dynamite. A soccer ball turns monstrous and eats a British soldier alive; blood. Assault weapon fire, machine gun fire, rocket launcher fire. Exaggerated battle violence. Geronimo cuts off his arm with an ax. Character's heart ripped out. Exaggerated horse-and-buggy chase meant to parody certain movie franchises centered on exaggerated car racing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some sexual content, frequent sex jokes. George and Martha Washington meet for the first time and then immediately are shown having loud sex -- no nudity, but Martha barely covers her large breasts with one arm. Jokes involving "tea bagging" and "Lincoln Log." Martha Washington, while in bed with a stressed-out George, offers to masturbate him. Characters shown in a strip club -- breasts. Female breasts in background of raucous party. Man passed out at a "fraternity party" with a penis drawn on his forehead and "I [heart sign] Penis" written on his face with a black Sharpie quill. Implied ritual of fraternity pledges during "Hell Week" sticking their thumbs up the rear ends of other pledges.
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Constant profanity. "F--k" often used. "Motherf--ker" used several times. Also: "a--holes," "a--wipe," "s--t," "d--k," "d--khole," "d--khead," "bitches," "pissed," "damn," "bastard," "ass," "cum." Middle finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
Store is a barely-disguised version of Walmart, where characters buy assault rifles. Sam Adams is a frat bro who brews his own beer. Joke references FedEd/Kinko's.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
This version of Samuel Adams is a frat bro who brews his own beer and throws chaotic frat parties -- characters binge drink and pass out. Shots of colonists playing beer pong. Cocaine jokes, and how Abraham Lincoln used cocaine. Edison stops the British from making it rain tea by making it rain beer, resulting in people turning into drunken frat bros.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that America: The Motion Picture is an animated comedy in which George Washington (Channing Tatum) leads a ragtag group to help him avenge the death of his best friend, Abe Lincoln (Will Forte). It's a satirical and highly-inaccurate retelling of the Revolutionary War, one in which, for instance, Abraham Lincoln is not only Washington's best friend in 1776, but is also killed by a werewolf Benedict Arnold (Andy Samberg), and is known by his friends to be a lover of cocaine. There are scenes of George and Martha Washington having sex, Samuel Adams as a jacked-up frat bro, and graphic violence, including everything from assault rifles to muskets to versions of the AT-AT Walkers from The Empire Strikes Back. Binge beer drinking. Some nudity at parties and in a strip club (breasts). Constant profanity, including "f--k" and variations, "a--holes," "a--wipe," "s--t," "d--k," "d--khole," "d--khead," "bitches," "pissed," "damn," "bastard," "ass," and "cum." In the midst of all this crass humor, there's also quite a bit of satire that uses comedy to address not only contemporary political divisions in our society, but also disdain for science, xenophobia, racism, and sexism. In this movie, Thomas Edison is revealed to be a female Asian American immigrant who forcefully stands up to the ignorance of many of the White male characters in the movie. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie is bombastic, absurd, over the top, obnoxious, and often hilarious (for older teens and adults only, that is). America: The Motion Picture is an animated satirical reimagining of the American Revolution. It's a crass and overblown comedy in the vein of Team America: World Police. It's not exactly subtle, but then again, neither is the country that the movie is satirizing. While there are many dumb jokes one laughs at in spite of themselves, some thoughtful (and funny) satire emerges in the midst of all the gags and exaggerated, well, everything -- satire on White male privilege, fragility, xenophobia, racism, and sexism (then and now), assault weapons, and the many ways in which contemporary American society is divided along ideological lines. As David St. Hubbins of Spinal Tap famously observed, "There's such a fine line between clever and stupid," and this movie successfully mines humor from both.
It doesn't always work. Sometimes, the jokes are so obvious, an eyeroll is the only proper reaction. For instance, to present Samuel Adams as a jacked-up party dude frat bro who brews his own beer isn't exactly a groundbreaking premise, even if the stupidity of Adams' character results in some of the funnier parts of the movie. There's also a play on words involving "blacksmith" that is so obvious, everyone should easily figure out where the joke is going the moment the word "blacksmith" is first uttered. But overall, for fans of this kind of dumb/smart, dry, satirical parodic humor, the chaotic energy and total absurdity of America: The Motion Picture carry it through, and provide some much-needed levity in these uncertain times.
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.