A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius has lots of cartoon action (explosions, crashes, falls, an alien invasion, air battle, spear-play) and some suspense (adults are abducted from Earth and threatened with being eaten by a dragon-like three-eyed monster), but it's always more humorous than violent. No one is injured or killed -- even the gooey alien life forms simply dissolve into green goo. Only the youngest or most sensitive kids might find it scary. Some comic potty humor (i.e." sugar booger," "holy cow pie," "I peed in the shower"), is heard occasionally, the highlight of which is Jimmy's invention of burping soda. A mechanical dog poops metal nuts, bolts, and other hardware.
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What's the story?
When other kids bring toys for show and tell, Jimmy Neutron brings a shrinking ray. The kids at school laugh at him and tease him about being short, except for his friends, Carl (overweight and asthmatic) and Shane (a passionate fan of some action heroes called Ultra Lords). When their parents forbid them to go to a theme park on a school night, Jimmy and his friends sneak out. The next morning, their parents are gone, leaving mysteriously identical notes saying that they've gone to Florida. At first, the kids are thrilled. But after a day of doing everything they are not allowed to do, the kids are scared and lonely. Some slimy green aliens encased in egg-shaped flying capsules kidnap all the kids' parents so they can feed them to a monster shaped like a chicken with three eyes. Jimmy builds rockets to take them all into space, rescues the kids when they are captured and put in the dungeon, frees the parents, and arranges their escape.
Is it any good?
Style and substance are well-suited in JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS. It's a 3-D computer animated story about a sixth grade whiz kid who can build a satellite communications system out of a toaster and create a robot dog that when told to "play dead" blows itself up and then puts itself back together. Instead of going for the more lifelike textures of the Pixar movies, this has the intentionally stylized feel of a computer game. That fits the story's tone, somewhere between the "Tomorrowland" 1950s ideal of the future and today's world of cell phones and headphones. Jimmy's spaceship and the alien planet owe more to the 1930s film serial Flash Gordon and the 1960s TV show The Jetsons than to contemporary rocket science and astronomy.
The music, too, has songs that will be familiar to parents (the Ramones and the Go-Go's) along with teen dreams (*NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, and Aaron Carter). The movie drags a bit in the middle, but most kids, especially those age 8-12, will find it fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why kids make fun of one another for being different. Have you ever been teased for being smart?
How does this movie compare with The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron TV show?
If the parents in your family disappeared for a day, which rules would you break?
- In theaters: December 21, 2001
- On DVD or streaming: July 2, 2002
- Cast: Debi Derryberry, Mark DeCarlo, Megan Cavanagh
- Director: John A. Davis
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 82 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: March 28, 2020
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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.
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