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 6+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 18 reviews

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.

Wondering if Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byWagEts January 12, 2013

beware of the language

The movie was great for our 6- and 8-year olds, but there are a few scarey parts they had to be talked through. But I can't believe the language wasn... 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
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
Kid, 12 years old February 18, 2016
Fun and engaging classic but lacks energy and is too repetitive and predictable.

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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love adventure

Our editors recommend

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