Curly Sue



Edgy material isn't a great fit for youngest viewers.
  • Review Date: July 12, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Misbehavior abounds with no real consequences.


Curly Sue whacks her father in the head with a stick. Three people repeatedly punch a man in the face. A man is deliberately thrown face-first from a car into a cement girder. These examples are indicative of the senseless violence that occurs throughout the movie.


The little girl knows way too much about sex and boasts about it. The lawyer talks about photographs of a client in a compromising situation.


The child heroine swears often and with wide variety. The adults offer no example.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Curly Sue's and her father's behavior. What different choices would you make if faced with the same situations?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1991
DVD release date:January 7, 1997
Cast:Alisan Porter, James Belushi, Kelly Lynch
Director:John Hughes
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic intensity

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written byonthewaytothere September 20, 2013

Heartwarming and Funny For The Whole Family.

I absolutely LOVED this movie! It is an easy going slap stick comedy with a deep meaning that shouts love is what really matters in life. Not to mention the adorable smile of Curly Sue that will cause you to curl up tighter on the couch in glee. There is a lot of humor and wisdom for the whole family in this film. There are only two downfalls that I feel are almost entirely wiped out by the end 1. Quite a bit of language and 2. a few lightly uncomfortable references to "that time of the month" however I believe this is a film for the whole family that will leave your heart a little bit warmer.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Adult Written byangel17811 March 1, 2010
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byManasseh33 November 24, 2012

Feel good moving showing the side of life most never see.

Despite the author's report I am 42 and my daughter is 5 and we both enjoyed the movie. Are there some scenes that are little much for a 5 year old? Yes, are they horrible and such? No. Does the story have some useful learning experiences and such while being entertaining?? Certainly. Does the author of this review miss the whole story of turning one person's life based on materialism into finding and caring for others? Yes.
What other families should know
Great messages


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