A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bad Grandmas is a comedy about a group of older female friends (including Florence Henderson and Pam Grier) who get mixed up in violent crime. While no blood or gore is shown on-screen -- and most of the violence is played for laughs -- it could be disturbing to younger viewers. The women dismember two dead bodies with chainsaws and the like, and a severed head is shown in a freezer. There's also a shooting, two bludgeonings, and an incompetent shoot-out. Language is fairly infrequent but includes "s--t" and "bitch." There's also a brief verbal reference to elderly porn.
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What's the story?
In BAD GRANDMAS, Florence Henderson stars as Mimi, the ringleader of a group of older female friends who get mixed up in violent crime. When Mimi decides to stand up for a friend who's being cheated out of her home by her no-good ex-son-in-law, she brings a gun along. The confrontation gets out of hand, the cad gets shot, and, naturally, Mimi and her friends (including Pam Grier's Coralee) decide to dismember the body (after making sure he's dead). No worries. Meanwhile, a very slow-talking detective (Randall Batinkoff) investigates, slowly, and a bad guy (Judge Reinhold) wants money from them.
Is it any good?
In the unintentionally truthful advertising department, Grandmas really is bad. Henderson's apparently final film appearance is wasted in this film, which has to keep reminding us it's a comedy through egregious use of fiddles and banjos. When Mimi and her friends get mixed up in the sort-of accidental shooting and end up dismembering the victim, there's no emotional response whatsoever. And it happens to another bad guy later, with a whole lotta (bloodless) bludgeoning. So are these women psychopaths? Grier is among them, but you can hardly tell it's her under the odd blonde wig and lack of characterization in the script and direction.
Every moment seems to take too long, scenes are rife with unnecessary shots and edits, and exposition is crammed down our throats. There's no emotional resonance in Bad Grandmas, and there are no consequences -- and, therefore, there are no stakes. And, just like drama, comedy needs stakes to succeed -- either that, or it has to leap fully into the absurd, à la Monty Python. This ain't that. No one appears to have bothered to think through the plot or add interesting complications. Threads are left dangling (maybe there was supposed to be some mother-daughter drama, but it doesn't materialize, while another daughter's potential romance is a bizarre afterthought). The similarly themed The Homebodies much more effectively explores this territory. Most viewers' hours will be better spent with a visit to their actual grandmas.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Bad Grandmas compares to how older people are typically portrayed in the media. Does it seem realistic? Insightful? Why or why not?
The movie has incidents of extreme violence, but they aren't shown in a graphic or gory way. Did they make you feel anything? Why or why not? Do you think that was a filmmaking choice or an accident?
Do you think the women's actions are good, bad, excusable, understandable?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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