A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Duck Duck Goose is an animated adventure in which a headstrong, self-absorbed goose (voiced by Jim Gaffigan) learns to help others -- but not before he injures his wing, gets separated from his migrating flock, just manages to outrun a hungry cat, and tries to ditch the two lost ducklings he promised to take care of. Younger kids may worry during the story's tenser moments, but the peril is mostly mild and short-lived. Expect some name-calling and a few verging-on-crude jokes (à la "my nuts froze" from a squirrel, referring to the previous winter and displaying an acorn), but there are also positive messages about family and responsibility.
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What's the story?
DUCK DUCK GOOSE follows Peng (voiced by Jim Gaffigan), an independent-minded goose who wants to lead his flock in migratory flying, but he's a bit too much of a daredevil for the head goose to trust him. When Peng gets injured just before the exodus, he worries that winter in the Chinese wilderness will strand him, almost surely dooming him to an early demise. The lack of food, the cold, and the presence of hungry predators are all threats. At the same time, two newborn ducklings, Chi (Zendaya) and Chao (Lance Lim), get separated from their duckling group, who were heading to some wonderful place called Happy Valley. Selfishly thinking he can use the ducklings as a decoy for predators, Peng lies to them, promising he will take care of them until he can deliver them to their flock. At first, he remains impatient and unsympathetic to the little ones, but as they spend more time together, and especially after Chi and Chao save Peng from danger, he becomes so protective that when he realizes that Happy Valley is a restaurant that specializes in duckling, he turns the place upside down to save Chi and Chao. (Note that the animals all speak English and when rare humans show up, they speak Chinese.) Peng's affection for the ducklings is clear by the time he catches up with his own flock. His girlfriend Jing Jing (Natasha Leggerro) is ready to adopt the kids and raise a family with Peng.
Is it any good?
This is a sweet and amusing animated feature that will entertain young kids without many scary parts. Both the dangers and jokes are mild. A head goose instructs the flock: "If you should get hit by lightning, the correct procedure is to fall out of the sky while gently smoking." Even when the heroes are running from a ravenous cat, escaping in a truck full of pigs, the worst that happens is that the birds have to endure a constant barrage of foul-smelling air emitting from the gassy pigs. Jim Gaffigan voices Peng well, and Carl Reiner makes Larry, the wisdom-spouting turtle, a perfect truth-telling adviser.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why birds fly to warmer weather for the winter. Why is Peng worried when he can't fly away from the coming cold weather?
How does it help to have close friends and family support us during difficult times? How does the movie show that?
What's your favorite animated animal movie? How does this one compare?
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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.
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