A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Buddy Games is a raunchy, gross-out "bro comedy" written, directed, produced by, and starring Josh Duhamel. It's about a group of insufferable, immature, middle-aged White men who drink heavily, smoke pot, make fart jokes, and insult and try to one-up each other. The primary focus of their male bonding is on their genitals, and viewers get several viewings of said body parts -- including a long scene in which one man relentlessly slaps another's forehead with his testicles. Women exist only as mothers or as disposable sexual objects, and coarse language is constant ("f--k," "d--k," and much more). The competitions among the friends include comical violence, including kidnapping as a form of revenge. With perhaps the exception of co-star Dax Shepard, the characters are too old and uncool for any teen to want to imitate; this is more for viewers in the midst of their own midlife crisis than for kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Bob (Josh Duhamel) and his friends get together every year to play the BUDDY GAMES, a series of silly challenges in which the winner gets bragging rights. After an accident causes a rift and a five-year break from the games, Bob organizes a reunion, upping the stakes so that the winner will take home $150,000.
Is it any good?
Only in 2020 would one of the year's funniest movies also be the most regressively offensive. In many ways, Duhamel's raucous vanity project (he writes, directs, produces, and stars as the film's only cool character) is a throwback to the early 2000s: the kind of dumb comedy you'd expect to star Seann William Scott, about a bunch of White guys who treat each other and everyone else disrespectfully. It's all in terrible taste, but a lot of it is very funny, although it doesn't reach the highest of the lowbrow standard, The Hangover. It's more like a more socially insensitive Grown-Ups -- and when Adam Sandler outclasses you, you've got problems.
Diversity is barely existent here. Jokes based in sexuality abound: There's stereotypical behavior from the movie's one gay character, who's in the closet (again, what year was this film made?). It's shocking that outspoken feminist Olivia Munn is the love interest: Her character, Tiffany, exists only as Bob's beautiful girlfriend who waits for him at home while baking pies in lingerie -- seriously. And when she and another wifey, separately, aren't given attention for a moment, they pout and act out, sometimes violently. In the meantime, the men talk about women as something to "do" rather than as human beings. They're louts, and that's kind of the point here. They're not admirable, aspirational, or imitable. Buddy Games is a fantasy film for the guy past his prime who hasn't lived up to his own expectations: Bromance over romance! Stupidity over substance! Gross over growth! And while teens should be steered away from this tacky comedy, for adults, it may be a guilty pleasure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes raunchy, gross-out comedies popular. Why does it make people laugh to see someone else do something outrageously wrong?
How are women portrayed in Buddy Games? How can perpetuating stereotypes be harmful?
The film says that you get old when you stop playing games. What do you think of that?
Does the movie's strong language seem necessary, or excessive? What does it contribute to the movie?
- On DVD or streaming: November 24, 2020
- Cast: Josh Duhamel, Dax Shepard, Olivia Munn
- Director: Josh Duhamel
- Studio: Saban Films
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Friendship
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong crude sexual content and language throughout, some graphic nudity, drug use and brief violence
- Last updated: January 4, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love to laugh
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
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.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch