A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The concept of collectible dolls worth high values could be of interest to kids, as could the idea of a professional career as a roller coaster designer. The film has positive messages of courage, kindness, and teamwork.
Kindness, friendship, courage, and love are all more valuable than skills or appearances. Being real is important. Toys are meant to bring joy.
Positive Role Models
Each of the dolls has its own disappointments about not living up to their prototypes, but they all learn to accept themselves and value each other as they are. The dolls demonstrate teamwork, putting their own lives at risk for each other. Earl is plagued by a guilty conscience for scheming to steal from his own brother, and decides to do the right thing. Binky isn’t guilty about lying and stealing, and instead seems driven by class resentment. Lots of stereotypes.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon violence ranges from a toddler nearly falling down stairs and off a table to a woman being tripped and stumbling down the same stairs. The woman hits her boyfriend over the head, ties him up, and locks him in a car trunk. Dolls fight and get chased by people and a dog, pushed, hit, discombobulated, and catapulted, but always emerge unscathed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two dolls flirt then have trouble making their bobbleheads fit together for a kiss, but manage by the end. They share a romantic song routine and a cuddle. 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.
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"Blows," "turd," "butt," "Lord," "crap," "stupid," "moron," "swear," "cray-cray," "low-class," "loser," "faker," "dumb," "sleazeball." Gross-out humor.
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Products & Purchases
The film promotes Bobblehead merchandise. A theme of the film is a "low-class" couple looking to get rich quick.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A woman drinks a martini in the bathtub.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.