Hell & Back
By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Incredibly vulgar, unfunny animated movie; don't bother.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The characters don't really learn anything; in fact, bad behavior seems to be rewarded.
Positive Role Models
The characters aren't very likable or admirable. They don't work well together, and they don't even seem to be friends.
Violence & Scariness
Repeated story about a tree raping a man. Characters are chased by demons.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Strong, constant sexual innuendo/references. A very large naked demon-woman is shown; a character briefly licks her breasts. Brief image of a photo of genitals on a phone. A man starts to make out with his grown daughter. Scantily clad female characters, with "upskirt" shots of undies. A female character removes her underthings from beneath her clothes.
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Strong, constant language includes "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," the "N" word, "c--k," "t-ts," "a--hole," "balls," "bitch," "d--k," "ass," "damn," "vagina," "breasts," "queef," "balls," "sperm/testes," "whore," "douche," "idiot," "butt," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation).
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Products & Purchases
Frequent mentions of brand names include Barnes & Noble, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Strawberry Quik, Dell and Mac computers, Sybian vibrating chair, Red Bull, and Walgreens.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters go crazy for Devil's Brew and instantly become addicted. Characters do "whippets" (sucking on a whipped cream dispenser to get the nitrous). Reference to crystal meth.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hell & Back may be a stop-motion animated movie, but it's definitely not for kids. Characters swear a blue streak ("f--k," "s--t," and much more), and there are nonstop sexual references/innuendoes/jokes (as well as other bodily function humor). Attractive female characters are shown in skimpy clothing (with views up their skirts), and a very large female demon is seen naked. There's a little blood and some chase scenes, but the movie is more about verbal than the visual. Teens who see this will unfortunately learn about "whippets" -- i.e. sucking on a whipped-cream dispenser to get a nitrous high. There's also a highly addictive, fictitious drink called Devil's Brew and other drug references. And if all of that wasn't enough, it's not even the slightest bit funny.
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Where to Watch
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Hell & Back
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What's the Story?
Three friends work at a dilapidated amusement park that's on the verge of going out of business. Remy (voiced by Nick Swardson) finds an ancient book with images of a weeping devil, and he makes a blood pact with Curt (Rob Riggle) over a mint. When Curt breaks it, he's sucked into hell, and Remy and Augie (T.J. Miller) go in after him. A pretty half-demon, Deema (Mila Kunis), offers to help them find their friend if they'll help her find Orpheus (Danny McBride). Meanwhile, the devil (Bob Odenkirk) is having problems of his own, with a confusing bureaucracy and an unrequited crush on an angel (Susan Sarandon).
Is It Any Good?
It's a wonder how this stinker of a script -- packed with foul language, sex references, and scatological jokes -- attracted such a strong cast in the first place. And the finished film is no better. Presumably inspired by such filthy, funny features as South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and Team America: World Police (2004), HELL & BACK desperately clings to swearing and bodily functions for its humor, and it emerges with not a single laugh.
The stop-motion animation is colorful and must have taken a great deal of work, but the result still looks rushed and cheap. The characters fall completely flat; no friendship or teamwork seems to exist between the "friends," and, really, it's hard to care much about any of these awful characters. (If anything, Odenkirk's devil is probably, ironically, the most appealing character.) Not even Miller whose voice work in Big Hero 6 and the How to Train Your Dragon movies is so lovable, can help here.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Hell & Back's sex humor/references? Does it represent sex in a positive light? What audience do you think the jokes are aimed at?
Are women objectified in this movie? Are there any worthy female role models?
Does the movie glorify drug and alcohol use? If so, how? What would real-life consequences be?
Did you find the movie funny? What kind of humor does it use? What other kinds of humor are there? Which kind(s) do you prefer? Why?
This is an animated movie that's aimed at adults; why are animated movies generally considered to be for kids?
- In theaters: October 2, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: January 5, 2016
- Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Mila Kunis, Nick Swardson
- Directors: Tom Gianas, Ross Shuman
- Studio: Freestyle Releasing
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive strong crude and sexual content, language and some drug use
- Last updated: January 10, 2023
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