Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that if this is your tween's first introduction to YouTube sensation Fred Figglehorn, they may be inclined to check out the multiple online shorts that started the frenzy in the first place, as well as Fred's website for additional videos. If it's your introduction to the hyperactive, over-reactive character, don't be surprised if you're inclined to run from sheer irritation. That said, there is a thin silver lining in the fact that, compared to the original movie, this sequel is lighter on some of the content that most offended parents, and it does try to push some good social messages related to bullying and judging people as well as fixing your mistakes. The only thing the movie doesn't tone down is Fred's use of his own personal curse words, which include "Oh my gammit!" and "h - e - double hockey sticks," so be sure your tweens know your family's rules about swearing stand-ins like these.
What's the story?
FRED 2: NIGHT OF THE LIVING FRED follows the antics of Fred Figglehorn (Lucas Cruikshank), a madcap middle-schooler with a flair for the dramatic whose world is turned upside down when his beloved but incompetent music teacher goes missing and is replaced by a sketchy character named Mr. Devlin (Seth Morris). Everyone -- including Fred's starry-eyed mom (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) and his archenemy, Kevin (Jake Weary) -- has fallen under the suave Mr. Devlin's spell, but his unusual habits lead Fred to believe that he's a vampire, and Fred sets out to prove his hunch correct. When things get out of hand and the truth comes out, Fred calls on the help of his best friend, Bertha (Daniella Monet), and a new ally, Talia (Ariel Winter), to set things straight.
Is it any good?
YouTube sensation Fred returns in this slightly improved sequel that serves up more of the outrageous scenarios and pre-pubescent screeching that's made Fred (and Cruikshank) an Internet star. He's a hit with the tween set, much to the chagrin of plenty of parents who loathe both his flair for the dramatic and his use of his own variety of slang cursing. When it comes to this brand of comedy, you either love it or you hate it, and the line slices pretty close to the generational divide. Of course, that's partly due to the fact that tweens will pick out some of the stuff you might not notice, like spoofs of Twilight and cameos by some of their favorite actors from shows like So Random! and Supah Ninjas, but on the whole, it's just not a comedy style most parents will like.
If your tweens are already fans, there's little hope that they won't want to check out this sequel, but there is some good news. Compared to the original, this movie takes some care to tone down a lot of the content that was most unpalatable to parents. Fred's now the object of an innocent crush from a younger girl rather the instigator of a shockingly obsessive one, the issue of his mom's alcoholism never comes up (though she's still not Mom of the Year), he's more self-confident and less susceptible to bullying classmates, and overall, there are fewer episodes of his manic hyperactivity. What's more, the story incorporates some marginally positive messages about judging people, using the Internet responsibly, respecting differences, and taking ownership of your mistakes. Bottom line? It's still not really worthwhile, but at least it's a small improvement on the original.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about comedy. Do you think Fred's character is funny? Did you find this movie funny? How did it compare to the original? If you did like it, is it because of Fred or in spite of him?
Tweens: How has the Internet changed the way we're entertained? In what ways has it equalized the opportunity to become famous? Is Fred evidence of that? Do you think Lucas Cruikshank would have been successful in the pre-Internet days?
What, if any, incidents of advertising did you notice in this movie? Do you think they were there intentionally? Does product placement really impact your consumption habits?