Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

Joe Versus the Volcano

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Cult classic with smoking, kissing, stereotypes.

Movie PG 2002 102 minutes
Joe Versus the Volcano Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 10+

I LOVE this movie!

It's cute and fun :-)

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

Not Bad for Kids

While this movie is hardly “made” for kids, there’s very little to be concerned about your kids seeing or hearing. Minimal language, virtually no sexual material, and the “peril” that exists is brief and not that scary. I wouldn’t say this is something you would intentionally SHOW a younger kid, but there’s no reason you couldn’t watch it with them in the same room.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (3 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

One would expect a lot more from JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO. It's got a potentially funny and entertaining storyline, the soon-to-be beloved rom-com combo of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Steven Spielberg as an executive producer, and Abe Vigoda on board as the leader of the South Pacific island tribe. This makes it all the more disappointing that the movie doesn't quite succeed as a comedy, as an adventure, or even as a comment on seizing the day.

The bottom line is that the story gets lost in an indulgence of montages and over-long side-stories involving Meg Ryan playing different characters. The title promises a volcano, and instead, it's Joe Versus a Typhoon, or Joe Versus the Phoniness of Los Angeles. By the time Joe's actual love interest arrives on the scene, we're about an hour in, and it's not until much later that we actually see that gosh darn volcano. It isn't a terrible movie, and it has enough of a cult following to keep it at three stars, but far too many moments of comedy fall flat and far too many others could have been cut.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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.

See how we rate