A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dude, Where's My Car is a 2000 "stoner comedy" in which Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott play slackers with no recollection of what they did the night before. The female characters are all either bubbleheads, strippers, or women who otherwise openly exploit their sexuality. Black and Asian characters are stereotypically depicted. A stripper is revealed to be a transsexual -- is jokingly called a "gender-challenged male." An old lady uses "f--k" in one scene. We also hear "bitch," "f-g," "pissed," "crap," and "damn." While it's not actually depicted, Jesse and Chester's regular use of alcohol and drugs is a pivotal part of the plot. They also steal the pizzas they're supposed to be delivering for their job. Jesse and Chester visit a strip bar where one of the girls talks about a lap dance they shared the previous night. Jesse gets to place his hand on a woman's bosom, and there's sexual innuendo throughout. Cartoonish beatings are delivered by a group of bad guys. Jesse and Chester bean their captors with a fire extinguisher. Attempts at physical humor center on visually impaired tweens playing T-ball.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR begins when dopey duo Jesse (Ashton Kutcher) and Chester (Seann William Scott) regain consciousness after a wild night of partying and realize they have no idea where Jesse's car is. Besides the all-important need for wheels, the guys have to find the car because that's where they've left their anniversary presents for their girlfriends, twins Wilma (Marla Sokoloff) and Wanda (Jennifer Garner). Chester and Jesse's search for the car turns into an adventure involving aliens, massive amounts of pudding, strippers, and more.
Is it any good?
Dude, Where's My Car is a sloppy, unappealing comedy that falls somewhere between Cheech & Chong and Bill & Ted. It's a prime example of the kind of comedy that is marketed to teenagers even though it's not appropriate for them. As concocted by filmmakers who come from TV shows like South Park and That '70s Show, it's as raunchy as possible without getting an R rating: Profanity is minimal, women are treated in an extremely sexist way (but there's no actual nudity), and drugs are a part of the plot (though no one's shown using them).
The result is a movie that tacitly endorses substance abuse: The fact that Jesse and Chester were so "wasted" that they have no idea what they did the previous night is one that amuses rather than worries them. The roughly assembled script offers a few funny moments, but mostly the movie features ideas that might have been funny had they been developed a little, or at all. Dude isn't as gross as some other comedies popular with young viewers, but that's hardly a recommendation.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about comedies that try to get laughs by deliberately being "dumb." Why do some audiences find humor in characters who engage in stupid and bumbling behavior?
How is drug and alcohol use shown in this movie? Is it realistic?
What are some of the many ways in which the movie tries to find humor in stereotyping? Are stereotypes ever funny? Why or why not?
- In theaters: December 15, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: March 5, 2002
- Cast: Jennifer Garner, Seann William Scott
- Director: Danny Leiner
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language and some sex and drug-related humor
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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