A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Lying can solve some of your problems, but it can create other problems.
Positive Role Models
Cory lies, retaliating against bullies by telling them his father is a mob hit man. He mildly orders the bullies around, but mostly he uses his position of power to help classmates iron out conflicts.
Violence & Scariness
There is comic talk about fear of hit men, but no weapons or blood are shown. Someone gets tied up, and there's talk of killing him, but the method of disposal is unclear and no one seems in any hurry to off the guy, which gives the kids lots of time to attack the bad guys with Sriracha sauce in the eyes and sleeping pills and laxatives sprinkled on their pizza. Expect flatulence, belching, and potty humor.
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Name-calling: "shut up," "butt," "pissed off."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that How to Beat a Bully is a badly written, badly acted feature that tries to put a comic twist on how to defuse bullies. The victim persuades his seventh-grade tormenters that his father is a Mafia hit man and that they and their families are in jeopardy if they don't treat him with deference. Overacting and bad dialogue signal that none of this is real or should be scary. The lives of two men are threatened, but no guns, knives, blood, or overt violence is shown. Kids attack the bad guys with Sriracha sauce in the eyes and sprinkle sleeping pills and laxatives on their pizza. Expect flatulence, belching, and potty humor, as well as name-calling and minor profanity ("pissed off"). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This inept attempt at slapstick won't amuse anyone but perhaps the youngest viewers, and even they will probably get tired of the juvenile humor and antics. The acting is amateur. The writing is clichéd. The directing is formulaic. New Yawk accents come and go. The jokes are terrible, from "weapons of mob destruction" to "I can make you holey," uttered by the man brandishing the pitchfork. Families looking for an insightful look at bullying should look elsewhere, as should families looking for a funny family comedy.
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.