A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bobbleheads will appeal to kids familiar with the dolls. It has positive messages about teamwork and friendship, as well as a cameo by a Cher (in doll form), but it also relies on stereotypes. An overweight, white couple with Southern accents are characterized as not-particularly-bright, camo-wearing, Jell-O-toting petty thieves. It's never explained why Jim's brother has a thick country accent. A skater girl doll acts tough and uses slangy language, a British cat is snooty, and a doll with a Japanese-sounding name appears to do meditation or yoga moves and has computer and video game skills. The film also goes for some easy laughs with gross-out humor, like a man mistaking a dog's fart for his girlfriend's breath. There's plenty of cartoon violence, some of it gratuitous, like when the dolls purposefully trip a woman down a flight of stairs, a man is hog-tied and shoved into a car trunk, and a doll gets catapulted onto a ceiling fan, where she hangs by her neck temporarily. Nobody is actually injured. Language ranges from insults like "low-class," "loser," "sleazeball," and "moron" to words like "crap," "butt," "turd," "blows," "dumb," and "stupid." A male and a female bobblehead flirt and kiss. A woman mistakes a toy for her sponge in the bath, and the toy later complains he's seen things no toy should ever have to see.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Jim (Anthony de Stefanis) and his wife need a break from their frustrating work as theme park designers and decide to take their two daughters on a weekend trip in BOBBLEHEADS. While they're away, Jim's no-good brother, Earl (Luke Wilson), and Earl's mischievous girlfriend Binky (Jennifer Coolidge), sneak into the house to find a collectible doll worth millions. But the trio of bobbleheads who live in the house, including Ikioi (Karen Fukuhara), Purrbles McCat (Julian Sands), and Kelani (Brenda Song), pair with baseball player Bobble Deuce (Khary Payton) that Earl's brought as a trade to thwart their plans.
Is it any good?
Bobbleheads has lots of action, little story, and heavy stereotyping. This makes the film easy to understand but possibly disappointing for fans of subtler animated stories with more developed characters, such as the Toy Story series. The messages of teamwork and the value of friendship are positive enough, and the animation is glossy and appealing (though some viewers may find the bobbling of the bobbleheads distracting).
Following a tradition of adopting popular toys to film, Bobbleheads will appeal to fans and could spark more sales of the dolls. But the film missteps with un-funny, heavily-handed characterizations of Earl and Binky and a bit too much gratuitous violence that doesn't feel right for the target audience. Cher makes her grand entrance at the end and stars in some silly end credits, but even that's a bit of a let-down after the build-up of her participation in the marketing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Bobblehead creed. The dolls offer their own versions, but Cher corrects them at the end. What is the creed and what do you interpret it to mean?
Are you familiar with Cher? Where could you go to find more information about her?
How do the bobblehead characters compare with the actual dolls? Is this how you might have imagined them come to life?
Earl seems to feel guilty even before Binky turns on him. Do you think his brother was right to forgive him and welcome him into his home?
The movie has lots of stereotypes. Which ones did you identify? Why can stereotypes be harmful?
- On DVD or streaming: December 8, 2020
- Cast: Cher, Luke Wilson, Jennifer Coolidge
- Director: Kirk Wise
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: rude material, language and brief violence
- Last updated: November 22, 2021
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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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