A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids will definitely want to see this animated adventure from the folks behind Wallace and Gromit. Not surprisingly, considering the title, it's got lots of potty humor: The storyline revolves around a rat being flushed down a toilet into a sewer, and there are references to human waste, including one scene in which a character appears to grab a piece of excrement. Lots of cartoon violence, too: Characters fall from high places and are shot at, chased, frozen, electrocuted, yelled at, and threatened. Toad is an evil villain, and Sid is a disgusting character who belches, farts, and is generally crude. On the other hand, Rita is an independent girl who can fend for herself.
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What's the story?
FLUSHED AWAY tells the story of a snobby rat named Roddy (voiced by Hugh Jackman) who's living a cushy life in a London flat. His fancy cage is decked out with all of life's necessities, and when the flat's human residents are away, Roddy and his servant-rats live high on the hog. Sid (Shane Richie) is the exact opposite of Roddy. He's a low-life sewer rat who ends up in Roddy's flat by way of the faucet. Once he gets a taste of luxury, he's not too keen about going back to the sewer. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, Roddy's headed to the town of Ratropolis (the sewers), and Sid is kicking back in the penthouse with a big-screen TV and remote control. Below the city, Roddy finds a colorful world teeming with assorted creatures, including Rita (Kate Winslet), an entrepreneurial rat who squeaks out a living in the sewers with her trawler. All Roddy wants is to get back home, but first he and Rita have to contend with the malicious Toad (Ian McKellen). Toad hates rodents and decides to "flush out" the sewers, dispatching hench-rats Spike and Whitey (Andy Serkis and Bill Nighy) to do the job. When they fail, Toad calls in his cousin, the villainous Le Frog (Jean Reno), who's like a rodent version of Jabba the Hutt.
Is it any good?
If you can get past Flushed Away's crude humor, it has an imaginative storyline and amusing characters. Particularly appealing are the funny little slugs who are easily frightened (they're classic Aardman Animations characters -- the folks behind Wallace and Gromit and Creature Comforts). There's also a message: It's a big world out there, if you're willing to venture out of your comfort zone and experience it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether Sid should have flushed Roddy down the toilet. Was that the right thing to do? Was there an alternative solution? How did Roddy make the best of the situation once he was in Ratropolis? Was Rita right when she tried to abandon Roddy when he needed her most? Is a large piece of jewelry worth fighting over?
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