A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids could compare the portrayal of genies in literature, film, and television. They can learn something about the historical time periods mentioned by the genie.
Don't be selfish, and don't be greedy. Prioritize time with those you love. A feeling of being stuck or "imprisoned" can take many forms.
Positive Role Models
A man given all the wishes in the world chooses to use them for largely generous ends. The genie is grateful for his friendship and generosity, which also benefits her. Parents love their child, even when they aren't getting along.
A main character is played by a Black British actor. His wife and daughter are also Black. They are a tight-knit and loving family, and despite their troubles as a couple, the parents prioritize their daughter. A genie says she knew Jesus in her original life.
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Violence & Scariness
People wield knives and stokers at each other out of fear. The genie offers to kill people on her master's behalf (she makes a motion like she's cutting necks off). People fall down. The genie's backstory involves an angry sorcerer who cursed her. A man is sent to hell and comes back on fire. Two people are arrested for robbery and treated roughly by police.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple kisses. Someone mentions a "mating dance." There's discussion of people wanting multiple wives. The genie flirts with the doorman.
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"Bastard," "slimy," "nasty," "supercilious," "seedy," "gloating," "ghastly," "greedy."
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Products & Purchases
The man is gifted a Lamborghini from the genie, but he doesn't ask for tons of money or other goods for himself. Instead, he makes a donation to a shelter in someone else's name. People go gift shopping in NYC around Christmas. A man wears a Harvard shirt, though he didn't go to school there.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink wine with dinner. People joke about the genie being "on drugs" and "on prescription drugs." There's mention of a person smoking in the past.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the holiday movie Genie, starring Melissa McCarthy, has some violent scenarios, mild insults, and positive messages about prioritizing loved ones. When the genie appears, her presence throws people off, resulting in some armed confrontations and jokes about her being "on drugs." She offers to kill people on her master's behalf (she makes a motion like she's cutting necks off), or to grant him wishes of money and many wives, as many men apparently request. He just wants to get his wife and daughter back, but the genie can't change people's feelings. She tells her own story, which involves an angry sorcerer and a curse, and she clearly feels stuck in her fate as well. She grants a wish to send a man to hell; he comes back on fire. Two people are arrested for robbery and treated roughly by police. Language includes insults, mostly targeted at one person, like "bastard," "slimy," "nasty," "supercilious," "seedy," "gloating," "ghastly," and "greedy." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Melissa McCarthy is unusually subdued, and so are the laughs, in this holiday comedy from the writer-producer of Love, Actually and other classics. It's not that the jokes in Genie fall flat exactly, more that the film's register stays relatively uniform throughout. You can see most of the movie's best jokes in the trailer, and these involve McCarthy's genie dressing up, confused about the modern era, or discovering things like pizza. Her character is sketched very thinly, though. We're supposed to believe she comes from thousands of years ago and knew Jesus personally, yet she seems perfectly at ease in a contemporary apartment and walking the streets of New York City.
McCarthy is always a familiar and affable presence, so the discovery here is her counterpart, played with genuine wholesomeness and feeling by British actor Paapa Essiedu. The film's most emotional moments all involve him reacting to others -- McCarthy's shenanigans, his wife (a charming Denée Benton) pulling away from him, or his daughter relishing his company. Genie's messages of valuing your loved ones and being unselfish are on point for the holiday season, and this film should have no trouble finding an audience year-round. But, it could have been so much more.
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.