A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this comedy from the folks behind Napoleon Dynamite -- which co-stars Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement -- is pretty light on sexuality and swearing (particularly for a PG-13 movie), it's quite uncomfortable to watch. There's an off-putting amount of bodily parts, functions, and fluids -- such as yeast, gonads, vomit, and feces. In one scene, a kiss takes place immediately after a guy throws up, and the "evidence" is on both kissers' faces afterward. Consequently, some families may not feel that the humor is appropriate, despite the relatively mild language (one "apes--t") and mostly cartoonish violence.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ben Purvis (Michael Angarano) is a sweet, home-schooled teenager who writes offbeat sci-fi stories (which come to life on screen starring his fictional protagonist, Bronco, played by Sam Rockwell). At a writing conference for Utah teens, Ben meets his literary hero, Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement), a best-selling author who hasn't written anything decent in years and needs a manuscript to save his publishing contract. Chevalier reads Ben's story, "Yeast Lords: The Bronco Years," and steals it; meanwhile, an unaware Ben allows fellow workshop attendees Tabatha (Halley Feiffer) and Lonnie (Hector Jimenez) to "adapt" his story into an amateur film. As Chevalier's plagiarized version goes to print and the homemade film veers away from his vision, Ben grows disillusioned with his talent and his life as the only son of a modest-nightdress designer (Jennifer Coolidge).
Is it any good?
Third time is definitely not a charm for director Jared Hess. His adorably infectious debut film Napoleon Dynamite was the breakout hit of 2004 and whose sophomore effort Nacho Libre at least featured a spandexed Jack Black as a Mexican wrestler. GENTLEMEN BRONCOS, however, doesn't have many redeeming qualities save for Clement (half of the hilarious Kiwi duo Flight of the Conchords), who steals every scene he's in with his pompous accent and ridiculous commentary about his expertise in sci-fi (like how to name a character -- by adding "anous" or "inus" as a suffix). He's the only character worth following, which is a considerable problem since he's not the protagonist.
Angarano's Ben is melancholy, long-suffering, and just plain boring to watch. His mother, Judith, is loving but clueless and has no friends except for Dusty (Mike White), a slightly creepy, python-carrying "Big Brother" who makes eyes at his mom. And then there's the completely unlikable duo of Tabatha and Lonnie, who are awkward and unfunny. Admittedly, the movie does have some laughs, mostly thanks to Clement, but there are so many cringe-inducing scenes -- the fictional Bronco's obsession with gonads, Dusty's python having the largest reptilian bowel movement ever captured on film, Ben's mom being hit with a dart in the breast, Tabatha squirting lotion on her hands and demanding Ben for a massage -- that several moviegoers left halfway through the absurdity. And who can blame them?
Talk to your kids about ...
Is the movie's scatalogical humor funny or off-putting? How does it compare to other movies in which this kind of humor is equally prevalent?
How does the movie depict the sci-fi genre and culture/fans? Do you think it's an accurate portrayal?
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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.
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