A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to create machines that will benefit humankind and simulate friendships. It's good to share difficult challenges with understanding parents, even if the parents are having troubles of their own.
Positive Role Models
James is an independent, level-headed kid who probably should have shared his situation with his father earlier. His dad proves to be reliable and supportive in difficult moments. A greedy entrepreneur wants to use innovative technology to create weapons rather than to protect humans.
Violence & Scariness
A greedy businessman uses a Taser device to shock people who get in his way. Grown-ups chase kids trying to save a robot.
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"Crap" and "jerk."
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Products & Purchases
The eventuality of a sequel is suggested by final plot developments.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that F.R.E.D.I. is a kind of E.T.: The Extraterrestrial clone, featuring a smart robot (instead of a wise alien) who becomes a high school student's secret best friend. As the boy bonds with the sweet and protective portable robot, insensitive adults are the enemies, as in the earlier film, and the boy and his friends do their best to protect the robot from being compromised by a greedy weapons manufacturer. The teens are earnest and honest. A parent is distracted however well-meaning, which leaves the boy on his own to cope with impending threats. Violence and threats are relatively mild and language is tame ("crap" and "jerk"). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In light of the deeply moving scenario painstakingly set up in Steven Spielberg's E.T., this movie presents a pale paint-by-numbers retread of the now-familiar plotline. This movie doesn't work to create deep relationships, nor does it ask much of its viewers emotionally. When James and his friends cry at F.R.E.D.I.'s disappearance, it's unlikely that any audience members will be crying along, as this go-round lacks the depth and thoughtfulness necessary to trigger true empathy in an audience. Older kids and tweens, however, may yearn for the adventure of finding a charming robot and protecting her from evildoers, which could make this a harmless-enough after-school entertainment.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.