Blast from the Past

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Blast from the Past Movie Poster Image
Fish-out-of-water comedy with some salty language.
  • PG-13
  • 1999
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The film consistently celebrates kindness, respect for others, education, and honesty. Even the most cynical characters come to find value in innocence and an open heart.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's all in fun as role models are magnified and idealized. Parents are super smart, obsessively committed mentors (even paranoia or secret drinking can’t spoil the image); Adam is the perfect child, then a flawlessly responsible and considerate adult. Adam's innocence and enthusiasm rub off on everyone he meets. A gay character is treated with respect.

Violence

A plane crashes into a house: no one is injured; the pilot escapes. A leading character suffers from what seems to be a heart attack, but he soon recovers. Cartoon action includes a brief fist fight, a fall, a car crash, and a chase.

Sex

Scenes set in the 1990s show some sexy TV commercials, girls in bikinis, and the exterior of an adult video porn shop. A prostitute in drag offers services to the innocent Adam -- he's oblivious. There are some gentle, romantic kisses between new lovers. Eve asks Adam, "Have you ever had sex before?"

Language

Lots of swearing and off-color language during the scenes set in the 1990s: "hell," "s--t," "goddamn," "f--k," "d--khead," "get laid," "bitch," "crap," "hooker," "pimp," "butthead," "slut," "screw you," "ass," "pee in pants," "son-of-a-bitch," "slut," "penis."

Consumerism

Dr. Pepper, Holiday Inn, U-Haul, Prince Albert, Ralph Lauren.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In the 1960s, most characters smoke cigarettes; one has a pipe. Social drinking; one character becomes a secret tippler; she's never portrayed as drunk and the scenes are played as comedy. In the 1990s, characters frequently consume alcohol -- there are scenes in a psychedelic bar, a saloon, and a restaurant. There's a brief discussion of Alcoholics Anonymous and some characters appear to be drugged or high during some humorous pseudo-religious scenes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the comedy in this film is based on an exaggerated clash of cultures -- the relative innocence and wholesomeness of the 1960s vs. the disillusionment and jaded materialism of the 1990s. Casual swearing is prominent in the 1990s scenes, where there are also porn shops, sexy TV commercials, a prostitute in drag, and scenes in which characters appear to be high on marijuana or drugs. In the 1960s, almost everyone smokes. And there's lots of drinking in both decades. 

User Reviews

Parent of a 11 and 16 year old Written byDemidov July 26, 2013

Strongly suggest "mature" 14+ age limit.

I do not understand why there is a common sense age rating for 12 year olds. The film depicts an adult book store, a male prostitute dressed in drag, the term... Continue reading
Adult Written bywonder dove December 28, 2012

Lots of fun! You'll want to buy this one!!!

Blast from the Past is a highly enjoyable movie about a nice young guy named Adam (Brendan Fraser) who grew up with his hilarious parents in a bomb shelter unde... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAdeyActMovie July 31, 2016

A little rude, but really sweet.

I am 13 and I thought it was very appropriate for my age, I cried because it was so sweet, Good acting, it was a little wierd sometimes, some characters were la... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTechzebra December 16, 2017

Pretty good

It was a pretty funny, tween appropriate comedy.

What's the story?

In BLAST FROM THE PAST, Brendan Fraser plays Adam, who was born in 1962, in an elaborate bomb shelter constructed by his eccentric genius of a father (Christopher Walken). His parents, mistakenly believing that a nuclear bomb exploded in Los Angeles, stayed in the shelter for 35 years. Adam comes out in 1997 to get supplies. He meets Eve (Alicia Silverstone) who is at first annoyed and bewildered by his innocence and old-fashioned values, but then charmed by them.

Is it any good?

This leisurely comedy has no surprises or special insights, but it does have attractive performers (including Dave Foley as Troy, the gay best friend). It doesn't waste much time on Adam's surprise at the changes of the last 35 years. Instead, it allows us to share his undiluted joy from the simple pleasures he has never had a chance to experience, like the sunrise and the ocean. And it's even poignant as Troy and Eve envy Adam's old-fashioned good manners and love for his family.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the differences between the early 1960s, when Adam was born, and the late 1990s, when he first experiences the world beyond his family's bomb shelter. Families can also learn more about the history of bomb shelters.

Movie details

For kids who love to laugh

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