A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bug Off! is a sibling rivalry film where a girl gets her wish that her brother be turned into a bug. The film is largely spent navigating the brother-is-a-bug scenario, so for any kids squeamish about giant beetles/cockroaches, it could be a difficult watch. There's also some crude humor used of the classic little brother variety, i.e., loads of belching and pranks, but otherwise the messages are of cooperation and sibling love.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the long tradition of annoying little brothers and the older sisters who despise them, Tyler (Andrew Fugate) and Krista (Briana Shipley) don't get along. He plants bugs in her room; she wishes he were a bug (and he wouldn't exactly mind finding out what that's like). Oops -- when a babysitter from another planet pulls out her magical enforcer/bug transformer machine, Krista and Tyler get exactly what they both want -- they think. Both learn what it means to be siblings (and bugs), and what it will take to get along. If they can just figure out how to turn him back into a boy...
Is it any good?
BUG OFF! has some entertaining and relatable things going for it: sibling rivalry, extraordinarily weird babysitters, well-meaning parents who are just hoping a phase passes. It's not a high-budget affair, but the premise of an annoying sibling turning into a bug and the ensuing fun with ventriloquism (and making adults think they're hearing voices) will likely be an irresistible premise.
Parents might enjoy the unassuming way the movie works casual alienism into the film, its faux documentary framing, and the positive message about valuing one's siblings in spite of their annoyances, because you'll still miss them when their gone. And any kids who like bugs will no doubt enjoy imagining their point of view for a day.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way siblings are often portrayed in films. Do you have siblings? Do you get along well? Do you feel like the film showed a realistic portrayal of real-life sibling relationships? Why or why not?
Learn more about insects and their lifespan online or at the library. What function do many common household insects perform? How long do they often live?
- On DVD or streaming: August 1, 2001
- Cast: Briana Shipley, Steve Anderson
- Director: T.C. Christensen
- Studio: GoDigital
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Bugs, Friendship, Science and Nature
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG for mild crude humor
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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