A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Billy Madison is a 1993 movie that launched the post-SNL career of Adam Sandler. The immature humor is full of sex jokes and innuendo that's targeted toward teenagers; for example, Billy is excited because it's "nudie magazine day," where he receives magazines with titles like Drunk Chicks. An older maid makes continuous sexual advances at the protagonist (including a request to take her shirt off for him). There is lots of profanity throughout the film, including "f--k," "s--t," and use of the word "retarded." The film contains some scenes of binge drinking. Billy is often hazed by the bullies of each grade he attends. Rude behavior rules. The ending features a positive message of accomplishment and resilience.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
To inherit his family's chain of hotels, Billy (Adam Sandler) makes a deal with his father to pass grades 1-12 without cheating. There is only one problem: Billy is a good-for-nothing idiot. The 27-year-old spoiled brat is usually drunk. He chases invisible penguins and pranks neighbors by setting fire to bags of poo on their doorsteps. As the movie progresses, Billy slowly learns responsibility. The film culminates with an academic decathlon against conniving Madison Hotels V.P., Eric Gordon (Bradley Whitford) and Billy falling in love with his teacher Veronica Vaughn (Bridgette Wilson).
Is it any good?
Similar to Sandler's Happy Gilmore, BILLY MADISON is a silly, unintelligent comedy that offers no real message. Without warning, though, audiences both young and old may find themselves guffawing at the film's more random memorable moments (Miss Lippy's paste facial comes to mind). The film features great cameos by Steve Buscemi and Sandler's old SNL pals Chris Farley and Norm McDonald. There's lots of iffy material but young teens are sure to enjoy it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Billy's apathetic view on life. How did growing up without any pressures or responsibilities result in Billy's degenerate lifestyle?
This was Adam Sandler's first movie. How did this movie set the tone for future Adam Sandler movies? What similarities do you see between this and other movies starring Adam Sandler?
In light of so much gun violence in schools in the years since this movie was released, do you think the climactic scene in the high school auditorium would be the same had the movie been released just a few years later?
- In theaters: January 1, 1995
- On DVD or streaming: August 8, 1995
- Cast: Adam Sandler, Bradley Whitford, Norm MacDonald
- Director: Tamra Davis
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language and crude humor
- Last updated: November 24, 2019
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