Clifford

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Clifford Movie Poster Image
Witless slapstick with leering, obnoxious man-child.
  • PG
  • 1994
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie purports to champion kindness and forgiveness, but the ultimate message is that bratty behavior and a man-boy abusing adults is funny.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is a bratty kid and the parents and adults are clueless or deceitful.

Violence

Lots of slapstick action -- pratfalls, punches, hits over the head, a wild car ride, bumps, an explosion, a fake bomb scare, a skirmish with a phony amusement park dinosaur.

Sex

Some kisses between sweethearts. An obnoxious boss makes physical advances on a woman, who pulls off his wig to defend herself. The faux 10-year-old leers at his uncle's girlfriend and at a documentary film visible on a TV set showing bare-breasted tribal women.

Language

Occasional coarse language: "hell," "s--t," "dammit." The willful, naughty boy frustrates adults continuously, resulting some name-calling (i.e., "animal," "brat," "stupid").

Consumerism

Knudsen, Pepsi Cola, Pepperidge Feram, Weber's bread, Amtrak.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Clifford's mom is shown drinking adult beverages and seems to be inebriated each time she appears. Moderate alcohol consumption in party and restaurant scenes. An cartoonish bigwig smokes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Clifford, starring Martin Short as a 10-year-old boy, is not in any way related to Clifford the Big Red Dog. Slapstick action includes a runaway amusement park ride, falls, punches, a high speed chase, and toothy plastic dinosaurs. There are a few swear words, some leering at attractive women, and one predator makes sexual advances toward a co-worker. The adult characters (including parents) are either frustrated, mean, drunk, or clueless.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bygoodgirl January 6, 2017

So funny its crazy.

funny movie if you can handle Martin Short as an 10 year old pest driving his folks crazy then his uncle. many laughs to.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Clifford is 10 years old (played by the adult Martin Short). He's incorrigible, devious, and, until one gets to know Clifford, absolutely charming (or at least he's supposed to be). Obsessed by a trip to California and an amusement part called Dinosaur World, the boy manipulates his parents into letting him visit his estranged Uncle Martin (Charles Grodin) in Los Angeles. Little does he know that Uncle Martin hates kids. But it just happens to be perfect timing because Martin is trying to convince his sweetheart, Sarah Davis (Mary Steenburgen) that he loves children. Clifford, on a quest to get to Dinosaur World, is unstoppable. He'll destroy anything (Uncle Martin's job) or anybody (Uncle Martin) who tries to deny him. Will anybody get wise to the naughty boy's selfish agenda? Will Clifford undo the unflappable Uncle Martin? Will his diabolical behavior send the lovely Sarah packing?

Is it any good?

The few laughs for grownups aren't nearly enough to make this movie bearable. And kids can find a lot more genuine laughs in movies with clever writing, warm-hearted pratfalls, and at least one likeable person. It's true that kids often find the exaggerated antics of naughty children funny on film; after all, those mischief-makers get away with what real kids only dream about. In this case, however, despite the frantically-sustained comic efforts of Martin Short and the slow-burn excellence of Charles Grodin, the weak story, mean-spirited characters, and a genuine lack of timing, pace, and wit defeat everyone involved.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different types of movie violence. How do filmmakers let an audience know that some violence is not to be taken seriously? What's the difference between slapstick and realistic violence?

  • Seeing a child misbehave might be funny in a movie, but what consequences might that child encounter in real life? How would your parent(s) react if you did some of the things that Clifford did?

  • What, if anything, does Clifford learn about his behavior? Is there any evidence indicating that the character was ultimately sorry for the trouble he caused, or that he might change?

Movie details

For kids who love comedy

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