A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comedy has quite a bit of slapstick violence and potentialy frightening mobster characters. Bullies take money from smaller children, and kids call each other names, though bad guys always lose in the end. Expect a fair bit of rude/crude language ("ass," "jerk," "idiot") and plenty of unrealistic scenarios in which an 8-year-old character fends for himself.
What's the story?
Third grader Devon Butler (Norman D. Golden II) has one passion in life -- to be a cop. When left home alone one night, Devon follows a suspicious car and finds himself a key witness to a man's murder. Determined to make his dream come true, Devon bargains with the cops: In exchange for a real badge and a day as a cop, Devon agrees to give the police information about the murder suspects. But once the criminals discover that Devon is the murder witness, a turn of events leads them straight to his door. In the end it's unclear whether special detective Nick McKenna (Burt Reynolds) saves Devon or Devon saves the detective.
Is it any good?
COP AND A HALF might be bang-up fun for some, but overall it runs on an empty cartridge. The movie's adventures might appeal to kids with an interest in detective work -- or those who have an active imagination -- but expect lots of unrealistic police pursuits overdone with slapstick violence. Although the chemistry between Reynolds and Golden can be adorable, the only laugh-out-loud moments in this family comedy come when a criminal obsessesed with Buddy Holly delivers hopeful impersonations that put bad karaoke to shame.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how realistic this movie is. Was there anything kids could relate to? Kids: What are some of the safety rules your parents set for you, and why are they important to follow?
How did the movie portray violence? Was it funny or serious? What are the real implications of the kind of violence seen in this movie?
What role do police officers play in society? What's their purpose in the community? Is McKenna good at what he does, or did you notice any room for improvement?
- In theaters: April 2, 1993
- On DVD or streaming: January 5, 1999
- Cast: Burt Reynolds, Holland Taylor, Norman D. Golden II
- Director: Henry Winkler
- Studio: Universal Studios
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild language, violence and drug references
- Last updated: February 20, 2020
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