A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bling is an animated film about a theme-park mechanic who's thwarted in his attempts to propose to his girlfriend by a supervillain. Most parents will probably find the romcom premise to be a strange choice for a kids' movie, as the action is entirely focused on Sam getting the best ring and putting together the best proposal for his girlfriend, though he's constantly thwarted by bad guys and evil robots. There's a plethora of terrible messages and one-liners, including "To a woman, the quality of the ring represents the quality of the man" and a man's promise to "save you from the doldrums of singlehood." Although the film tries to show that love is more important than material things, it fails pretty miserably. There's also a constant stream of chaotic, nonstop action that most parents, and some kids, will likely find exhausting, and some rude humor (farts are a plot point). Expect some minor insults such as "loser," "dingleberry," and "moron."
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What's the story?
In BLING, Sam (Taylor Kitsch), a struggling theme-park mechanic and amateur inventor, has been in love with his girlfriend, Sue (Jennette McCurdy), since they were kids. But after her Aunt Katherine (Carla Gugino) warns him that "a great man gives a great ring," he's reluctant to propose marriage until he can buy her a really fantastic ring and put together a showy proposal. When Sam thinks he finally has his act together, the supervillain Oscar (Jason Kravits) accidentally steals his ring. With the help of his band of robots, Sam must get his ring back and, in the process, save the city from being destroyed so he can finally propose to Sue.
Is it any good?
It's hard to find much good in this strange flick, which doesn't seem to know who its target audience is. Bling is an odd mix of a bad, one-note romcom mixed with a superhero movie, and it's a combination that doesn't work. Kids young enough to be into the movie likely won't be interested in the mechanics of a marriage proposal, especially the ones who will be entertained by the exhausting stream of nonstop action. The characters are flat, the robots are only mildly funny (in fact, some of the minor robot characters are a bad rip-off of the minions from Despicable Me, only they're minotaurs here), and it's hard to tell who the villain actually is.
Also, a lot of parents will probably be horrified by the consumerist message and the one-dimensional portrayal of the female characters. Who thought it was a good idea to show Sam putting an engagement ring he couldn't afford on his credit cards? Most kids won't get that the filmmakers are trying to illustrate what not to do, and most parents will wonder why these kinds of details are in a kids' movie in the first place.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the amount of action in Bling. Why do you think the filmmakers chose to include so many action sequences and so much violence? Do you think it furthered the plot of the movie? Why, or why not?
Do you think the film portrayed women in a positive way? What words did the male characters use to describe the female characters? How do you think the filmmakers could have done a better job portraying the female characters?
What was the main message of the film? Do you think it was an appropriate message for a kids' movie? Why, or why not?
- On DVD or streaming: March 3, 2016
- Cast: James Woods, Taylor Kitsch, Carla Gugino
- Directors: Wonjae Lee, Kyung Ho Lee
- Studio: Digiart Productions
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Run time: 82 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG for action, mayhem, and rude humor.
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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