Parents' Guide to

Growing Up Smith

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Clichéd coming-of-age tale deals with immigrant experience.

Movie PG-13 2017 98 minutes
Growing Up Smith Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+


It's a somewhat entertaining movie, which relies on some unrealistic plot jumps and a huge deus ex machina or two at the end. I'm not sure I'd really recommend it, but it's more or less inoffensive (other than a few mild hints at sexuality), and mildly entertaining. Kind of a filler movie if you are looking for something to watch with the kids.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This comedy strains to be charming, but we've seen it all before. Yes, it's adorable when a young Indian boy wearing a white vest dances to the Bee Gees' "Saturday Night Fever" songs. But Growing Up Smith falls back on scene after scene of cliches and condescendingly shows foreign parents being clueless about American ways. They mix up common expressions and completely miss the fact that their daughter has a secret American boyfriend. And this is in spite of their supposedly ultra-controlling, overprotective parenting style. Maybe the film's low budget (it was reportedly made for $2 million) didn't allow for addressing these issues.

Plus, important plot turns -- some of which contradict important assumptions established earlier in the movie -- are glossed over carelessly. And stereotypes abound. Jason Lee's Butch, while a nice guy, is still a cliche: He's a good ol' uneducated, deer hunting, beer drinking, meat-eating mechanic who can't pay the mortgage and enjoys riding his motorcycle. On the other hand, Smith's parents preach honor and decency, but for nothing more than a childish prank, they banish their 10-year-old son to India for 19 years. That may be honorable, but the decency is questionable.

Movie Details

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