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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some straightforward messages are rather clumsily inserted into this odd mix of characters and plot lines: Have faith and confidence in yourself. If you love someone, confess it. The most powerful energies are love and courage. When the food chain is broken, the environment and its creatures will suffer.
Positive Role Models
Despite obstacles in her path, young Moon keeps her sunny disposition and optimistic attitude; she is loyal, persevering, and warm-hearted. Most of the other teens in the movie are shallow and insensitive. Because of an addiction to mahjong, Moon's mother is unreliable and self-centered.
Violence & Scariness
Some exaggerated martial arts moves result in competitors being thrown to the ground, but not hurt. Film shows some skateboard falls, a telekinetic knockdown, an attack of animated bugs. Coochie, an animated bug hero, is mistakenly thought to be smashed by a human and killed; later he is in danger of drowning in a jar of honey.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A brief teen girl discussion of breast size. Boy smears wet paint on the chest of the heroine; he's aghast and apologetic afterward. Two quick flashes find a teen couple in a suggestive embrace. Teen boys attempt to spy on girls from a bathroom stall - there's nothing for them to see.
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No swearing, but there are some sexual references and insults: "perverts," "private parts," "horny," "dumb," "flatty."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bug Me Not! is an offbeat blend of music, animation, high school romance, and super powers, in Chinese with English subtitles. The movie may appeal to pre-teens and teens who like their movies quirky and colorful, but don't care much about plot or logic. A few scenes refer to female breasts (or the lack thereof), and there's some coarse language ("horny," "perverts," "flatty") and insults ("dumb," "weirdo"). Mild action includes a few competitive, but comic martial arts moves, a cherished bug in peril, and a short, non-lethal attack on teens by animated insects. Expect some gross-out humor: one boy's super power is offset by his growing very long nose hairs and another pays for his super power by erupting in large puss-filled pimples. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Bug Me Not is a jumble of bright colors, upbeat musical numbers, non-stop flashy editing, special effects, animation, and exaggerated performances. Episodic by design, the story goes in a dozen, mostly comic, directions at once -- jumping erratically from a martial arts competition to an attack by an army of angry cartoon bugs mid-musical number, to a sweet romantic declaration of first love, to recurring shots of a mahjong game, to a tango.
The film is more of a visual and auditory experience than a cohesive story, but still it taps into some of the primary concerns that face teens: acceptance by peers, self-image, emotional ups-and-downs, and the pangs of first love. The highly-stylized confection will find an audience, but it's certainly not for everyone.
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.