Down and Derby

  • Review Date: February 6, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Silly satire of competitive dads has some iffy humor.
  • Review Date: February 6, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 90 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Through comedy, the movie shows the importance of fathers and sons connecting, and shows how other things can get in the way of these opportunities if you aren't careful.

Positive role models

As a father, Phil learns to let go of his competitive rivalry with Ace, and to see the Pinewood Derby as a chance to spend quality time with his son.


After a perceived home invasion, a self-styled neighborhood security guard shows up with a gun. Two dads sustain injuries after sneaking into a rival neighbor's home to steal the world-record-holding Pinewood Derby car.


A woman is shown showering from the shoulders-up. She asks who she believes to be her husband for a towel, but it's actually a neighbor who has snuck into their home to steal a Pinewood Derby car. Another father who has also snuck into the house climbs down from a tree and looks into the bathroom window while the woman showers. A man hugs his much taller wife and his face is pressed against her breasts.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A father sips from a glass of wine while working on a Pinewood Derby car, but does not act intoxicated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Down and Derby has some iffy humor, with fart sounds and some slapstick Peeping Tom behavior. Lots of absurd competition that underscores the movie's message of the importance of parents and kids working together while enjoying each others' company.

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What's the story?

Ever since he was a boy, Phil Davis (Greg Germann) has always finished second place to alpha male Ace Montana (Marc Raymond). Now as a family man living next door to both his childhood friends and Ace, Phil sees the announcement of the upcoming Pinewood Derby competition as the perfect opportunity to defeat Ace, once and for all. However, Phil's friends also want to finish first, and Ace literally wrote the book on creating the perfect Pinewood Derby car. Plus Phil's Cub Scout son would like have a role in creating the block of wood he was given. In spite of these obstacles -- and the increasing anger of his wife -- Phil stops at nothing to create the perfect Pinewood Derby vehicle. As he obsessively creates the perfect car, Phil must learn to place a higher priority on spending time and sharing victories with his son instead of settling old scores.

Is it any good?


DOWN AND DERBY shows through bad example the folly of taking what should be friendly competition and turning it into an unhealthy obsession. While exaggerated for comedy's sake, the behavior on display in this movie should be recognizable to any parent who has coached a sport and kids who have played on a team.

While the humor is mostly juvenile, and the story has a few overly convenient plot turns, at its core, Down and Derby raises a deeper point about what happens when parents miss out on opportunities to make wonderful memories with their kids. Viewed in that spirit, this movie should provide an opportunity for families to discuss times they've seen parents going overboard in competitive sports and school projects, and how winning is not the sole determinant in the enjoyment of an undertaking.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about competition. How does this film teach lessons in good sportsmanship? What is unhealthy competition?

  • Have you seen similar instances of parents taking the projects or sporting events of their kids way too seriously? How did it make you feel?

Movie details

DVD release date:January 24, 2006
Cast:Greg Germann, Lauren Holly, Pat Morita
Director:Eric Hendershot
Studio:Pinewood Derby LLC
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some crude humor and brief mild language

This review of Down and Derby was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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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