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 is appropriate for adolescents and would be suitable for younger children were it not for several scenes involving nudity and profanity. The movie opens with a costume party, with bizarrely outfitted characters, including a woman appearing to sport four breasts. While it may be natural for 10-year-old boys to be interested in nude women, the film makes light of Jack's purchasing Penthouse magazine for his friends. Both kids and adults use phrases such as "Your mouth smells exactly like your butt," and "Bet you could crack walnuts on her ass, too." One of the boys' mothers, played by Fran Drescher, also comes on to men inappropriately.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Born very prematurely, Jack (Robin Williams) suffers from a rare disease in which his body ages at four times the normal rate of development. At age 10, his appearance is that of a 40-year-old man. His parents keep him at home but finally agree to enroll him in school, where Jack initially is the butt of many cruel jokes. That soon changes once his peers note Jack's ability on the basketball court and his ability to purchase adult magazines. Ever the child in his light-up sneakers, Jack joins several boys in youthful antics. He also poses as a school principal to keep his best friend from getting in trouble. But the aging process soon catches up with Jack, and his parents pull him out of school out of fear for his health. A heartfelt talk with his esteemed tutor, Mr. Woodruff (Bill Cosby), convinces Jack to make the most of the time he has on this earth. The wise man deftly compares Jack to a "shooting star" -- fleeting yet beautiful in nature.
Is it any good?
Despite the distractions of inappropriate sexual behavior and profanity, JACK is essentially a family film with a moral message. Middle-school and high-school aged children will enjoy the many humorous scenes. Adults, too, will appreciate the message that a person does not have to lose one's child-like spark just because of the irreversible aging process.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the message the film attempts to deliver -- that one should make the most of the time one has on this earth and not to judge a person based on his age or initial appearance. These values can certainly serve as a springboard for a discussion about treating other people with respect and living for the present.
- In theaters: September 12, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: January 1, 2005
- Cast: Bill Cosby, Diane Lane, Robin Williams
- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Studio: Buena Vista
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 113 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: profanity and sexual situations
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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