A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Stands out for positive messages.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life is a lighthearted film for young people about a 12-year-old who's looking for answers to some pretty big questions. There are some references to the tragic death of the main character's father (which happened before the movie starts). But overall the story is uplifting and simple, great for kids and tweens, and has only mild language and a little bickering.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Two weeks before his 13th birthday, Jeremy Fink (Maxwell Beer) gets a mysterious package: a wooden box created years earlier by his dad -- before his sudden death in a car accident. According to what's carved into the lid, the box contains The Meaning of Life. Too bad it's locked and the keys are lost. Jeremy and his best friend, Lizzie (Ryan Simpkins), take it as a challenge, searching high and low for the keys with the assistance of mysterious Mr. Oswald (Joe Pantoliano). And in the process they discover much more. Mira Sorvino co-stars as Jeremy's supportive mom.
Is it any good?
JEREMY FINK AND THE MEANING OF LIFE is charming but predictable. As Jeremy and Lizzie scour New York for the missing keys, they meet a bevy of kooky characters who impart a series of Important Life Lessons. Live in the moment. Money can't buy happiness. Believe in yourself. These are valuable tips for younger viewers, but they aren't especially new. Much of the plot seems like it could have worked well in many other coming-of-age tales.
The film is based on a popular young adult novel of the same name by Wendy Mass, and that's exactly how it feels. It's simple enough entertainment for older kids and tweens, but the story probably works better in print than on the screen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Jeremy Fink's messages. What is the meaning of life, according to what Jeremy learns? What do you think it is? How can you make the most of the life you have?
What do you think about the relationship between Jeremy and Lizzie? Does it feel realistic?
- On DVD or streaming: March 6, 2012
- Cast: Joe Pantoliano, Maxwell Beer, Mira Sorvino
- Director: Tamar Halpern
- Studio: Phase 4 Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild thematic elements
- Last updated: September 16, 2020
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