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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Get Duked! (aka Boyz in the Wood) is a 2019 horror-comedy in which four teens orienteering in the Scottish Highlands find themselves pursued by a psychotic duke. Drug content throughout -- three of the four boys make no secret of wanting to get high, and smoke weed, ingest hashish (with accompanying "psychedelic" camera work to convey their hallucinations), and rabbit droppings with hallucinogenic properties. Drinking at a barn party, one of the teens gets drunk. During a musical sequence, one of the teens raps about his penis, with text to go with it and marijuana leaves circling around for good measure. Regular use of profanity, including "f--k" and "c--t." Some violence, as teens' pursuers fire rifles at them, and the kids respond by trying to throw improvised explosive devices made out of Sterno cans and hashish. Man run over by a minibus and presumably killed. Characters killed by a crushed minibus. Overall, the movie is an earnest satire of the generational divide between Boomers and Millennials and the divide between economic classes, but some of this is likely to be lost amidst all the drug and hip-hop jokes.
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What's the story?
In GET DUKED!, three juvenile delinquent teens from Glasgow -- Dean, Duncan, and DJ Beatroot -- are sent to undertake an orienteering expedition through the Scottish Highlands. While these three are forced to do this, the fourth teen, straitlaced Ian, actually wants to do this, as he believes it will look good on his college applications. As Ian does his best to use the maps he has to navigate through the countryside, the other three just want to get high and debate whether or not "DJ Beatroot" is a cool name for an aspiring hip-hop artist. It doesn't take long for them to get lost, and soon find themselves being pursued with rifles by a psychotic duke (Eddie Izzard) and duchess obsessed with both racial purity and the shortcomings of the younger generations. As they try to avoid getting killed, Duncan runs over Mr. Carlisle, their orienteering counselor, with the minibus, DJ Beatroot finds a receptive audience to his music from the provincials of the area, and they discover that the rabbit droppings of the region are hallucinogenic drugs. The four must find a way to survive and get back to civilization.
Is it any good?
This movie tries to be a lot of things, but doesn't quite succeed at any of them. There's a stoner comedy in there, but most of the jokes either fall flat or feel like humor we've already seen before in other stoner comedies. There's a satire in there about generational divides and how Boomers think everyone younger than them are entitled brats, as the younger generations regard Boomers as selfish jerks who vote for fascists as they leave the planet much worse than they found it, but these messages are likely to get lost in the scenes centered on psychedelic rabbit droppings and extended musical sequences in which one of the characters raps about his penis. Furthermore, after what feels like 20 years of the same tired observations between the generations, this complaining is beyond tiresome. While the deeper messages in Get Duked! are clearly earnest and not delivered in a heavy-handed manner, far too many of the jokes and premises don't quite work.
The acting is fine, and there is an undeniable chemistry between the four lead teen characters as their misadventure in orienteering goes from bad to worse, but too much of the story feels shopworn, from the mediocre aspiring hip-hop artist "from the streets" who isn't really from the streets to all the drug humor. Fans of the "stoner comedy" and UK comedic silliness will enjoy it, as there is enough of both to almost carry it through to the end, but the chaotic and disparate parts of the movie don't make a coherent and rewarding whole.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about satire. How does Get Duked! use comedy to make serious points about the world?
How does this compare to horror movies in which teens find themselves fighting for survival when they encounter crazed killers in the countryside?
Does the movie glamorize drug use? How does this compare to other teen "stoner comedies?"
- In theaters: August 31, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: August 28, 2020
- Cast: Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, James Cosmo
- Director: Ninian Doff
- Studio: Amazon Studios
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Drug content, language throughout including sexual references, and some violence/bloody images.
- Last updated: September 4, 2020
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