A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has commercial tie-ins, non-stop cartoon violence, and possible bad role models for children. Kids may want to imitate the evil RoboGadget, which scares a little boy by demanding money and threatening him with knives and other weapons. RoboGadget also burns down the town after yelling, "I'm going to kick some butt!"
What's the story?
INSPECTOR GADGET, Disney's frenetic version of the popular 1980s cartoon, stars Matthew Broderick as the bumbling cyborg cop. This live action adventure begins with explosion that injures a security guard. Pretty scientist Brenda (Joely Fisher) rebuilds the injured guard using high-tech gadgets. With his new abilities and new name, Inspector Gadget takes on his first case -- trying to find out who was responsible for the explosion that nearly killed him.
Is it any good?
Despite some amusing special effects, the movie is shrill and charmless, featuring (attempted) comical violence and innuendoes inappropriate for young children. Only the renowned Disney marketing and merchandising machine could have turned a movie as routine and uninspired as Inspector Gadget into a $100 million blockbuster. At a slight 78 minutes (including 10 minutes of closing credits), it's both not enough and way too much, featuring a tissue-thin plot and a cacophonous barrage of hyper-kinetic special effects. Gadget is a virtual human Swiss Army Knife and some of the effects derived from that concept are amusing the first time, but after about the 30th time they become tiresome and desperate. Gadget fully earns its PG rating, featuring non-stop cartoon violence, and some smarmy sexual innuendo, and jokey pop-culture references that will go over the heads of most kids. The movie also boasts blatant commercial plugs for Disney as well as Coca-Cola, Skittles, and M&Ms candy. Skip this one, especially if you have a hyperactive child to begin with, and catch an episode of the old cartoon series instead.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: July 23, 1999
- On DVD or streaming: June 3, 2003
- Cast: Joely Fisher, Matthew Broderick, Rupert Everett
- Director: David Kellogg
- Studio: Buena Vista
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Robots
- Run time: 78 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: whacky violence/action, language and innuendo
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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.