Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
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 film deals with the loss of a parent, presents a child heroine with the mouth of a sailor, incompetent adult protectors, rampant, senseless violence and a message that women should stay home with children rather than work in the outside world. Curly Sue and her dad have little respect for the law; they pick and choose which rules they follow.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Bill (James Belushi) and his daughter Curly Sue arrive in Detroit, broke and homeless. The two immediately set out to scam for food and lodging. Their first target is Grey (Kelly Lynch), a cruel lawyer who isn't married and has no children. When Bill gets himself bumped by Grey's car, the con artists are invited into the lawyer's fabulous home, where they quickly set up a con. Grey discovers that Curly Sue can't read and takes the girl under her wing. When Grey's boyfriend calls social services, Bill and Sue's plan is put in jeopardy.
Is it any good?
Writer/director John Hughes hits a new low with this movie apparently aimed at the preteen set. Filled with superfluous profanity and gratuitous violence, there is little to redeem this exercise in vulgarity. One 11-year-old boy found CURLY SUE annoying, especially the filler scenes made necessary by the lack of significant plot. Case in point: Curly Sue performs the National Anthem by obnoxiously braying all of the lyrics. However, the 11-year-old did laugh at the innumerable punches in the face. Adults and older kids, though, will find such slapstick ridiculous, even offensive.
The young viewer also thought the little girl "needed a swat," which was his impolite way of saying the precocious child will drive you up a wall with her feigned cuteness. And the same young fellow could easily predict the outcome of the incredibly obvious story. The female lawyer character is also problematic -- she is a single, childless woman who, according to the movie, only needs a man and child to make her less nasty, and more human. Kelly Lynch's inability to play comedy doesn't help the situation. The mawkish scenes between the little girl and Lynch are especially irksome.
Talk to your kids about ...
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.