The first Anderson/Wilson offbeat, talky comedy.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this indie dramedy follows three best friends who become bumbling small-time crooks in hopes of getting in on a real heist. There is a lot of R-rated language plus one love scene (no nudity is visible, however). The overall theme of seeking excitement from planning and executing a robbery may not be suitable for younger children, but there's a great deal of humor to offset the "life of crime" elements.
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What's the Story?
In this quirky crime comedy, three best friends think committing petty heists -- like gently robbing the local book superstore -- will lead to a more exciting and fulfilling life. The trio's ring-leader is Dignan (Owen Wilson), the kind of loony, fast-talking friend who can convince a pal to do just about anything. Anthony (Luke Wilson) recently left a volunteer psychiatric facility, while Bob (Robert Musgrave) has family money and a car. Dignan sets out to prove his gang as successful crooks, so that his former landscaping employer and small-time crime boss Mr. Henry (James Caan) will hire them for a big score. Of course they're completely inept, and incapable of executing a real heist.
Is It Any Good?
It's not the best endeavor by writer-director Wes Anderson and writer-star Owen Wilson, but as their first it establishes central elements visible in all their films. This collaboration also sets the tone for their many quirky independent ensembles to come. Those familiar with Anderson's films will recognize some of the supporting players, like the Wilsons' older sibling Andrew as Bob's annoying bully of a brother and the always entertaining Kumar Pallana as a bumbling safe specialist. The overly stylized dialogue and slightly unstable relationships will also make sense, although it has become even wittier (some would say self-indulgent) over the years.
BOTTLE ROCKET was a critical success when it was released in 1996 and launched the careers of a creative team that know comedy can be talky, subtle, character driven, and even heartbreaking at times.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about risk-taking and peer pressure. Did Anthony seem like he really wanted to go along with Dignan, or was he just humoring him? Kids: Was Dignan using Bob for his money? What would you do if friends asked you to do something illegal?
- In theaters: February 21, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: December 22, 1998
- Cast: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Robert Musgrave
- Director: Wes Anderson
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language.
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Quirky '90s comedy has profanity, sex, underage drinking.
The Royal Tenenbaums
Quirky extended-family story with dry adult humor.
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Another quirkfest from Wes Anderson; not for kids.
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