A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the movie includes slapsticky roughhousing and stupid antics, including a clambake disrupted by fireworks and a tennis game disrupted by two young boys careening in a golf cart. Women (especially Carmen Electra) wear tight tops, with several shots focused on cleavage. There is homophobic humor and mild profanity. Parents aren't portrayed in the best light; fathers engage in obnoxious, childish competition.
What's the story?
It's summertime and Tom (Steve Martin) and his large brood head to the lake, where the college football coach engages in male competition with annoying childhood rival Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy). Self-conscious nerd Jimmy lords it over Tom that he's rich and married to trophy wife number three, Sarina (Carmen Electra). Tom soon turns as overbearing as Jimmy, ignoring longsuffering wife Kate (Bonnie Hunt) when she begs him not to set his kids to compete against Jimmy's brood. When they're not pressing their kids to compete against each other in various activities, the two dads hide out in the movie theater balcony, spying on a few of the kids involved in budding romances.
Is it any good?
Adam Shankman's sequel is unevenly paced and uninspired. Whereas dad Tom was sweet and bungling in the first film, here he's just manic and inept. While the dads arrange for any number of impromptu challenges, the children are relegated to providing reaction shots, even as they try to distance themselves from their fathers' shenanigans.
In one particularly ridiculous scene, Tom shows Jimmy the move where you yawn-n-stretch to put your arm around your date. They're mistaken for a gay couple by phobic fellow theatergoers ("Disgusting!"), leading to yet another spastic-dad joke. Dangling from the balcony during the ensuing mini-melee, Tom horrifies Sarah and demonstrates once again that he's a sensationally incompetent parent. It's no wonder that his kids are all outgrowing him.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the exaggerated competitiveness between the two fathers. How do the dads lose sight of their kids' interests? How do their wives and children see getting along as more fun than winning contests? How does the movie celebrate individuality in contrast to conformity?
- In theaters: December 21, 2005
- On DVD or streaming: May 23, 2006
- Cast: Bonnie Hunt, Steve Martin, Tom Welling
- Director: Adam Shankman
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Book Characters, Brothers and Sisters
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some crude humor and mild language.
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