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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Not much of a message to glean from this fun comedy except maybe that imitation is the best form of flattery. Viewers may also notice that the psychiatrists conference doesn't include many people of color or women.
Positive Role Models
Dr. Thorndyke is a pretty upstanding guy. He even tries to tailor his psychiatrist's convention talk on sexuality appropriate for a pair of young audience members.
Violence & Scariness
Mild Hitchcock-style violence, including gunshot wound and a person falling from great heights.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Comedic references to adult situations, such as bondage. A character is shown tied up and being spanked. Characters kiss passionately. A man in an insane asylum who thinks that he is a dog humps another man's leg.
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Not frequent, but still includes "bulls--t," "hell," "damn," "crap," "son of a bitch," "penis envy," and references to body parts in the name of psychology.
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Products & Purchases
The Hyatt Regency in San Francisco gets a big send-up.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink wine and brandy with dinner. Drinks at a piano bar lead to a musical solo by Dr. Thorndyke. Adults smoke cigars and cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this spoof on Hitchcock movies contains some adult themes, such as mental illness, bondage, and some violence (a fall from a great height and a gunshot wound). But since it's a spoof, the real Hitchcockian suspense and tension is replaced with silliness. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The usual puns are restrained, but Mel Brooks' style of slapstick humor is evident in this classic spoof. The head of the Psycho Neurotic Institute for the Very Very Nervous is himself, a very, very nervous guy. But in this very nervous place he has reason to be: a rock the size of a car engine is tossed though his bathroom window with a welcome note from the "Violent Ward." His colleagues are plotting against him -- even pigeons in the park are out to get him.
Those who know Alfred Hitchcock's work will laugh even harder, knowing that those pigeons are a parody of his classic thriller The Birds. A shower scene straight out of Psycho is hilarious, since the weapon of choice is not a knife, but something that is black and white and read all over.
Though Mel Brooks plays the straight man among a bunch of loonies, he grabs the spotlight in a lounge singer act that comedies such as Will Ferrell's Anchorman have tried to equal. But it is Cloris Leachman who steals the show with her portrayal of the mustachioed Nurse Diesel. If you look closely, you can see her fellow actors suppressing smiles as she plays the mumbling disciplinarian to the hilt. A good bet for fans of Hitchcock and Mel Brooks.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.