Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

 
(i)

 

Sweet tween film packs big meaning into cliched package.
  • Review Date: March 11, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Jeremy learns that life is all about choices. In some cases, the right decision is obvious, and in others, it's not at all clear. Since some aspects of life are random and can't be controlled, he realizes that it's important to "eat dessert first" while still thinking carefully about the impact of the things that are in your control. Other life lessons include: Live in the moment, money can't buy happiness, and believe in yourself.

Positive role models

Jeremy gains insight over the course of the story. The mysterious Mr. Oswald's motives aren't clear, but he seems to be striving to right old wrongs. His methods are baffling, but he does demonstrate that people should think carefully about the choices they make. One character has a penchant for shoplifting.

Violence & scariness

Tweens bicker. The main character's father died before the story starts.

Sexy stuff

A boy's best friend is a girl, though he denies that there's any kind of attraction between them.

Language

Some derogatory speech between tweens, including "shut up," "jerk," and "dork."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

DVD release date: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

This review of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byedorathy August 13, 2012
 

Great Family Film!

This is a great feel-good family movie. The younger ones may be bored, but perfect for pre-teens. The only questionable content is a mildly humorous scene involving a ouija board, which you may want to discuss with your kids (it doesn't work, and isn't taken seriously, no summoning of spirits or anything). Otherwise, it's a great story about friendship, family, making choices and appreciating every moment in life. The acting is sub-par, but who cares.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byBluff January 26, 2013
 

A disappointment

We tried to watch this movie with our 8 year old daughter. It was not appropriate. The kids in the movie act like adults are idiots. The kids steal and run off to places they are not allowed. The kids lie. The 12 year old girl talks about how she is going to use her feminine wiles to trick a security guard. Her plan goes awry when she gets a pimple and thus loses her feminine wiles. Terrible messages for young girls. At that point we turned it off. There is a lot of talk about the boy's father who has passed away. It is heavy talk and sad. Looks like it was shot on video.
Kid, 11 years old January 31, 2013
 

Awesome!

I love this book! It has action, adventure, humor, you even learn a bit of vocabulary!
What other families should know
Great messages

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