Parents' Guide to

Boy Genius

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Gifted-kid comedy has charming cast, lightweight plot.

Movie NR 2019 93 minutes
Boy Genius Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

age 8+

Finally, a sweet and smart movie for the whole family

This movie is a charmer. Funny, smart and endearing-a film that you can play for the whole family. The story is about an engaging 12 year old boy genius named Emmett who must help solve a mystery at his school to help his brother. But more than that it is a joyous window into the life of Emmett. Lots of great themes of friendship and family are included in this wistful and fanciful gem!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

This child-prodigy comedy is familiar and funny enough to amuse younger viewers but doesn't stand out quite as much as its main character does. Brown's precocious Emmett and Wilson's eccentric Mary have a charming intergenerational friendship as they attempt to use her true-crime know-how and his super intelligence to find the real thief. There's a particularly funny moment when Mary barges into a high school party and plays Naughty by Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray" to give Emmett more time to investigate a classmate's bedroom. There aren't enough movies about multigenerational friendships, so it's nice to see Emmett learning from Mary.

Although Boy Genius' plot is rather thin, the filmmakers do include a few surprisingly substantive conversations and themes in the story. It's revealed that Emmett and Luke's dead father, who was also incredibly intelligent, had a mental illness, and Emmett worries, relatably, that he'll follow in his father's footsteps. The script falters in its preoccupation with Emmett's crush (for someone who's such a prodigy, it seems rather immature that he thinks a 16- or 17-year-old could return his affection), and the resolution of the crime investigation ends up feeling a bit anticlimactic. But for tweens, it's an entertaining pick with a charming cast.

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