Inspector Gadget Movie Poster Image

Inspector Gadget

Not nearly as good as the TV show.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 78 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

One race-related joke. An Asian man, running from RoboGadget, screams "This is why I left Tokyo!" Conversely, Penny, Gadget's young neice, is a great role model for little girls.


There are lots of battles between the good and evil Gadget, featuring limbs being ripped out and a disembodied talking head.


No sex per se, but there does seem to be an undue emphasis on leering innuendoes.

Not applicable

The movie boasts blatant commercial plugs for Disney as well as Coca-Cola, Skittles, and M&Ms candy.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this movie compares to the 1980s TV series on which it is based. Why do you think Penny, Gadget's young neice, is a great role model for little girls?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 23, 1999
DVD/Streaming release date: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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byrobowilm September 15, 2015

It's an OK movie.

I have a VHS of this, and I watch it at times. It's OK.
Parent of a 12 year old Written byTsion April 9, 2008

A Wacky and Forgetful Jumble Made for Kids.

INSPECTOR GADGET is based on an old TV show that was a hit. I can't say which one is better, the film or the show, because I've never seen the show. But I've seen the film, and it was nothing like I thought it would be. Security guard John Brown (Matthew Broderick) is injured in an explosion while on duty. Dr. Brenda Bradford (Joely Fisher) and others put him together as a machine full of strange and useless gadgets to save his life. Enter Inspector Gadget, ready to fight the evil Claw (Rupert Everett). The film is pretty bad. It doesn't exactly crash and burn, but it at least crashes. The only thing that keeps it from burning is Rupert Everett's over-the-top acting as the villian. Not to say that his role is perfect art, but it's the best thing about the movie. Violence is constant, with wacky inventions setting fire to things and smacking people. There is no language, but there is some mild innuendo between Brenda and Brown. I can't really say 'highly recommended' on this one. I might recommend it if you're desperate for something to watch and have nothing better to do with your time. But if that's not the case: no.
Adult Written by413804 February 4, 2012

Isn't all that great

This is a low point for Disney. Don't bother watching it if you are over the age of 15. It will just irritate you.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence