Be Kind Rewind

Quirky Jack Black comedy is sweet and silly.
  • Review Date: June 16, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The entire community unites for a common goal: to make a film and celebrate how it ties them to the neighborhood's history -- real or imagined.


In one scene, Jerry is magnetized by a power plant, but it's not disturbing, just funny. Mr. Fletcher roughly holds onto a punky teen while admonishing him. Pretend violence in the re-shot films.


Shots of kissing during scenes from various re-filmed movies. In one conversation about "how much action" the main characters get, Mr. Fletcher makes a somewhat crude joke.


Language includes "s--t," "damn," and "dammit."


Recognizable brands/names include West Coast Video and the many, many movies the guys re-shoot: Ghostbusters, RoboCop, Rush Hour 2, etc. Throughout the film, the life of jazz legend Fats Waller is an ongoing theme.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the stars of this comedy -- Jack Black and Mos Def -- are both extremely popular with teens and even tweens. Happily, the movie is age-appropriate for both groups (particularly teens). There's some language (including "s--t"), but not as much as in most PG-13 films, and virtually no sexual activity, save for a few "on camera" kisses while the characters re-shoot movies. There's also one discussion about "getting action." The main product tie-ins are West Coast Video and the re-filmed movies themselves.

What's the story?

Jack Black and Mos Def star as best friends Jerry and Mike, who live in Passaic, New Jersey, and spend their time working in BE KIND REWIND, a small video store (VHS only!) owned by Mike's former guardian, Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover). While Mr. Fletcher -- who's trying to save his building from being condemned -- is on a trip, Jerry gets unintentionally magnetized by the power plant he lives next to and accidentally erases all of the tapes in the store. Desperate not to lose customers, the duo decides to film no-budget, amateurish versions of a few movies for their customers. Much to their astonishment, the redone videos are a hit, and soon people are lining up to get their favorite movies "Sweded" (redone) by Jerry, Mike, and their hired leading lady, Alma (Melonie Davis).

Is it any good?


Devotees of eccentric French director Michel Gondry may be slightly disappointed that Rewind isn't the mind-bending masterpiece that 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was for many critics and fans. But it's still dreamlike in many ways. That people would embrace and participate in silly remakes of blockbuster or cult movies is definitely far-fetched, as is the sense that Passaic is a sleepy urban town that folks get "stuck in," rather than a suburb of New York City. Forgiving the believability of the setting or the circumstances (who runs a VHS-only video store?), the film is, like most of Gondry's work, charming and endearing, with most of the laughs stemming predictably from Black's manic behavior and Def's pitch-perfect straight man work.

Glover, who usually doesn't look like a man in his 60s, is delightful as the store owner who slowly comes to accept and contribute to the new business model of custom movies, even playing Morgan Freeman to smitten neighbor Mia Farrow's Jessica Tandy in a Sweded version of Driving Miss Daisy. And Hollywood newcomer Melonie Diaz (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) is adorable as the guys' go-to actress/director/cinematographer. Like Alma, the film is pleasant and at times moving, while still remaining lighthearted and sweet. Those looking for an introspective treatise on love and life should rewind Gondry's past films, but those open to a funny, less-probing comedy will leave the theater wanting more of the Sweded films.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what the film is saying about Hollywood movies. Can a redone, amateurish 20-minute version of a movie be just as good as -- or better than -- the original? Or is the point that, in re-shooting the films with other movie fans, everyone becomes part of the films and the community? Kids: Does a movie have to be believable to be good?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 21, 2008
DVD release date:June 16, 2008
Cast:Danny Glover, Jack Black, Mos Def
Director:Michel Gondry
Studio:New Line
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexual references.

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old February 25, 2009
age 12+

Be kind rewind is overrated and was for most of the time boring

From the advertisements and commercials I thought this was going to be a winner. A film starting one of the funniest comedians from previous films, Jack Black, I knew it had to be good. Unfortunately, it wasn't even decent. The film spends way too much time with character development. I understand that in this film, as it progresses it gets better. The first half of this film, forty minutes approximately are the most boring minutes I've spent viewing in a movie. Not only is it just dialogue nothing happens. Then the second half of this film is where the film starts getting better, but when it gets to the point where it's excellent it just stops. This is one you could see on DVD or even skip. I don't really understand the phenomenal reviews. As for the movie's content it's a mild PG-13. It could even pass as a strong PG. There is no sex or nudity in this film. But there are at least three jokes about a character being gay or homosexual. Not that explicit or inappropriate though. For the violence, there really isn't any. The only violence I can think of is some slapstick humor or that one scene where (MINOR SPOILERS) Jack Black gets electrocuted by that fence (END SPOILERS). The profanity is minimum. A few anatomical and scatological terms that are used rarely. Overall, Be kind rewind is a movie I wish I could rewind over and remind myself not to see this movie.
Teen, 15 years old Written bychargnar August 24, 2012
age 10+


A really unique movie with funny jokes and a good story. I would recommend this for sure
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Educator and Parent Written bywhgraham July 2, 2012
age 14+

Crude joke about "getting action" is worse than crude

I was fine with the idea of the movie, and am generally OK with Jack Black. But the "somewhat crude joke" is a bit worse than that, and I was shocked to hear it from a movie that was deemed OK for 12 and under. Consensus here is 10 and 11. I don't agree with those ages.
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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