Gulliver's Travels

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Gulliver's Travels Movie Poster Image
Amusing adventure for fans of Jack Black and silly jokes.
  • PG
  • 2010
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 35 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 39 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Messages about honesty, teamwork, and seeing people for their potential and not just their social status/job title are all positive. That said, there's also some potty humor: In one scene, Gulliver pees on a fire to put it out, and viewers see people who are covered in urine. And another scene shows a bit of Jack Black's "plumber's butt."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite the fact that Gulliver has the propensity to lie -- he plagiarizes his article and then tells a bunch of lies about himself to the Lilliputians -- he redeems himself with his last-minute plan to rescue them from their enemies. Darcy learns to see Gulliver's potential and not just to consider him "the mailroom guy." Horatio and Darcy discover that love is more about honestly knowing and loving someone for who they are rather than their title or status.


Cartoonish violence in Lilliput, where the Lilliputians often have skirmishes with a neighboring kingdom. Gulliver fights one-on-one with an entire armada that fires at him, but his huge belly repels the bombs, and they charge right back at the enemy ships. Soldiers are shown jumping into the water (comic scene). In one scene, a soldier is accidentally crushed, but it's handled humorously. Gulliver surrenders after receiving a horrible "wedgie" from an oversized robot soldier he fights.


A couple of sweet kisses between two different couples in the story. Also some innuendo and references to romantic relationships and flirting techniques. For example, when Princess Mary asks her fiance what he likes about her, he points at her breasts, and she says "inappropriate." Gulliver convinces Horatio to woo Princess Mary by quoting Prince's song "Kiss." Gulliver refers to women as "stone cold foxes" and "babes."


Insults like "lame ass," "loser," and "stupid."


Products and brands represented or mentioned include Apple (the iPhone especially, but also MacBook and iTunes), Guitar Hero video game, and Mr. Coffee.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Grown-ups drink at dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this modernization of Jonathan Swift's classic satire features everything audiences expect from family-targeted Jack Black movies: physical (including potty) comedy, minor language, and lots of references to popular culture -- particularly movies and music. The sexuality is mostly tame, but there are references to a woman's breasts (as reason enough to marry her), some innuendo, and a few brief kisses. Language includes insults like "stupid" and "lame ass" (repeated several times in one scene). Expect several mentions of/allusions to Mac products, among other brand names. On the bright side, kids should learn about the value of honesty, believing in yourself, and looking beyond someone's status.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjddolan July 9, 2011

If you like dumb movies ...

By adult standards the jokes are mostly inoffensive but do you really want to encourage your kids to laugh at fart jokes and similar antics. I disagree that Gu... Continue reading
Adult Written byJazzinoz April 6, 2019

Moronic movie

Absolutely ridiculous movie. The movie is tedious to watch because it is so far fetched that it doesn't draw you in. The main character doesn't have... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 19, 2015

The only problem is language

There are some inappropriate language in this movie. Funny movie, but the language is a problem.
Teen, 14 years old Written byErin_aimeee March 9, 2014

This movie was honestly awful

never see this movie it was beyond bad. I left with my friend in the middle of the movie. In one scene gulliver pees to put out a fire. I mean that's gross... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this adaptation of Jonathan Swift's classic satire, Jack Black stars as Lemuel Gulliver, a mailroom clerk at a New York City newspaper, where he's worked for years nursing a crush on travel editor Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet). When an ambitious new mailroom employee (T.J. Miller) is hired one day and promoted the next, Gulliver decides to approach Darcy for a date -- but instead he makes her think he's interested in becoming a travel writer. After he turns in a plagiarized writing sample, Darcy assigns Gulliver a feature story about the Bermuda Triangle, where he sails into a storm that lands him on the diminutive island kingdom of Lilliput. There, he proves himself a hero, befriends Horatio (Jason Segel) -- a commoner who's in love with Princess Mary (Emily Blunt) -- and proceeds to lie spectacularly about himself to the everyone, since, for once in his life, he's beloved. But everything's in jeopardy when the princess' betrothed, General Edward (Chris O'Dowd), starts to feel threatened.

Is it any good?

Whether you'll enjoy GULLIVER'S TRAVELS or not all boils down to how much you enjoy Black's brand of humor. For those who consider him an irresistible jokester, this is a slightly better-than-average comedy with loads of pop culture references and that signature Black comedy. Audiences who are lukewarm on Black's charm may be less amused by this adaptation, but there are enough silly laughs, talented supporting actors, and broad sight gags (such as the diminutive, fully made-up KISS band) to make this a decent family pick.

Even taking the scenery-chewing Black out of the picture, the Lilliputian cast is good, with Billy Connolly as the always entertaining king, Blunt as the beautiful princess who yearns for more than her status allows, and Segel as the commoner who yearns to woo her. But the stand-out performer is O'Dowd, an Irish actor best known for his work on British television (The IT Crowd). His uptight, self-righteous General Edward is just the right mix of pompous and insecure for what's otherwise a caricaturish character. This fish-out-of-water fantasy isn't necessarily a must-see film, but for Black devotees, it's yet another example of the comedian's Adam Sandler-like ability to remain essentially himself in every movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the movie is saying about believing in yourself. What finally makes Gulliver do the right thing? Why is it easier for him lie about himself than admit the truth?

  • What do you expect from a Jack Black movie? Is it a given that you'll see him sing, dance, and make fun of his own body? What other film stars use a similar brand of comedy?

  • Who do you think this movie is meant to appeal to most? Does it succeed? Have you seen any other versions of this story? How does this one compare?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and adventure

Themes & Topics

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