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 Sinbad vehicle about the growing pains of the president's son is filled with comedic pratfalls. We get a brief glimpse of bare bottom when the "First Son" moons the press corps as a prank. There is some bullying, and the idea that learning to box will fix that problem. There is a sublot involving an online stalker, but this topic is dealt with less in a substantive way and more as tools to advance the story, but the fact that they are in the film does offer families the chance to discuss these issues in more constructive ways.
What's the story?
Luke Davenport wishes he could be like any other 13-year-old boy, but as the son of the president of the United States, he's never allowed to have any fun and doesn't even get to spend much time alone or with his parents. This causes him to act out in various bratty ways, but when Secret Service officer Sam Simms is hired to protect Luke, Simms tries helping Luke navigate the difficulties of becoming a teenager -- from asking out a girl, dealing with bullies, or simply learning how to dance. Simms is willing to bend the rules to help make Luke's life more fun, but when the Secret Service has enough of Simms' permissiveness, Luke runs away, and everyone must work together to find him.
Is it any good?
FIRST KID can't seem to decide if it's a coming-of-age film about the son of the president of the United States, or a vehicle for Sinbad to play a Secret Service man and get into zany hijinks. It tries to do both, and while the results aren't as awful as some other kids' movies, the pratfalls don't draw a whole lot of laughter, nor is there much empathy for the First Kid until perhaps halfway through the film, where he starts to actually seem like any other awkward 13 year old and not a spoiled brat.
Through the magic of the "boxing montage," First Kid Luke is taught to stand up to bullies by learning how to punch harder. While some parents out there certainly applaud this solution, others may want alternatives. Still, Serviceman Simms helps Luke ask out a girl and teaches him to dance, and while the results are about what you'd expect, as something watched for pure entertainment purposes, you could do better, but you could also do much worse.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the problems Luke faces as "the new kid" at his school trying to have a life as the son in a prominent family. How are Luke's problems similar to and different than the problems other new kids face?
As a film released in 1996, when the Internet was still new to many people, how is the issue of cyber-stalking handled then compared to how it might be treated today? What can you do to be safe online?
- In theaters: August 30, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: March 4, 2003
- Cast: Robert Guillaume, Sinbad, Timothy Busfeld
- Director: David M. Evans
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some violence, language, and brief partial nudity
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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.