Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Movie review by
Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Silly but occasionally scary '80s movie has lots of peril.
  • PG
  • 1989
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 26 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Two very different families who live next door to each other learn to get along and to become friends. A father who pushes sports and competition on his son learns to love his son for who he is rather than who he wants him to be.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters -- adults and children -- are too two-dimensional to really emerge as positive role models.

Violence & Scariness

Some action-style peril as shrunken children trapped in a backyard run from a vicious-looking scorpion, ride a loud-buzzing honey bee, nearly drown in a mud puddle, and are nearly killed by a lawnmower's blades. A teen boy is shown with his mouth bloodied after riding on a honey bee.

Sexy Stuff

Some tame teen flirtation. Teens make out. After a teen boy gives a teen girl CPR, he tells a younger boy that he learned CPR in French class.


"Hell." Some name-calling between children such as "wimp."


This is part of the Honey series, which includes movies, a TV series, and a Disney ride. Characters are shown trying to sleep inside a LEGO piece. A character is shown swimming in a bowl of Cheerios and using a Cheerio as a life preserver. A wife removes a pack of Camel cigarettes from the front pocket of her husband's shirt.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A father smokes cigarettes. His wife removes a pack of Camel cigarettes from his front shirt pocket. Adult characters drink wine at dinner but do not act intoxicated.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 Disney comedy in which four kids are shrunk to the size of ants by one of their scientist father's inventions and must figure out a way to get to their parents so they can be brought back to normal size. This film discusses marital woes and depicts a neighbor belittling his son because he didn't make the football team. It also shows children fighting for survival in an immense, threatening yard: They run from a vicious-looking scorpion, ride a loud-buzzing honey bee, nearly drown in a mud puddle, and are nearly killed by a lawnmower's blades. A teen boy is shown with his mouth bloodied after riding on a honey bee. Teens kiss. The father smokes cigarettes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byUWSmom October 12, 2014

careful of the emotions

Daughter age 7 burst into tears when the helpful ant died. And continued sobbing. Overall the movie glosses over the ins and outs of emotional connections, wi... Continue reading
Adult Written byMeghan F. July 26, 2017

Beware the dying ant scene! RIP Antie

I really enjoyed watching this again with my daughter. I saw it when it came out in the theatre when I was 8 or 9. She hasn't watched many live action fi... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 19, 2021

Don't watch this unless you want to see a cute ant dying.

I cried for the whole day! (Including the night) This movie was boring and sad. This movie is not for kids under 8. I regret watching it!
Teen, 17 years old Written byTommy1921 August 20, 2016

Timeless Fun for All Ages!

This has to be my absolute favourite movie. It's intelligent, funny, charming, and perilous all at once! Rick Moranis is wonderful as Wayne Szalinski and t... Continue reading

What's the story?

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS gets rolling when nerdy inventor Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) accidentally shrinks his kids Amy and Nick as well as neighbor kid Ron. Faced with giant insects and other perils such as lawn mowers and sprinklers, the trio must rely on their stamina and ingenuity to survive a day and night in an over-large world. They also make many attempts to alert the adults to their whereabouts.

Is it any good?

Two-dimensional characters play second fiddle to the visual effects of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. The gizmos are fun and plentiful, and Rick Moranis does what he can with the all-too-familiar role of the nerdy, misunderstood inventor. Moranis is actually more endearing and low-key here than we're used to seeing him, in part because he isn't given all that much to do and because he's the most sympathetic and appealing character the film has to offer. Even with imperiled kids riding bees or dodging giant water drops, it's hard to muster up enough enthusiasm to root for the would-be heroes.

The film's real disappointment isn't its short-of-cash special effects -- they're fun in their cheesy way -- but its ham-handedness in dealing with the emotional aspects of the story. There's no life to the budding romance between two teens from opposite sides of the fence, and the idea of an ant befriending four tiny humans provides a few needed chuckles although none are intended. Suffice it to say that if a shrinking machine could not only shrink stuff but repair shaky marriages and reconcile family strife with the flip of a switch, somebody would have invented that switch by now.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the nerdy inventor character. Does he seem familiar? What other movies can you think of that have a character like this? Why do we see so many stereotypes in movies? Does this bother you?

  • How are teens in the 1980s depicted in this movie, and how are they similar to and different from teens who are depicted today?

  • If this movie was remade today, how would the special effects be different?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate