Kickin' It Old Skool

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Kickin' It Old Skool Movie Poster Image
Kennedy's lowbrow comedy best for '80s veterans.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

It's debatable whether Justin is a role model for revived coma patients, but his dedication triumphs over his nemesis' selfishness.

Violence

Dancers push and shove each other, and Darnell's girlfriend "bitch slaps" him.

Sex

Two 10-year-olds kiss; another 10-year-old prepares for a kiss by sticking his tongue out. Justin learns about sex by, presumably, watching 12 hours of Internet porn. Justin practices how to touch a woman's "breasteses" on his male friend. Various characters give advice on how to touch a woman. Jen opens her shirt, but there's no nudity. Jen and Justin kiss.

Language

Several uses of "s--t" and "bitch," as well as "ass" and one "f--k." Characters (one African American, one Caucasian) say the "N" word to each other. Justin says "retard," not realizing that it's no longer considered acceptable. Other problematic words: "homo," a "Jewbiks cube" (features a menorah, a dollar sign, a star of David and circumcised penises), and referring to Asian and Latino friends as "rice and beans."

Consumerism

Featured '80s brands/products include the show Knight Rider and the car KITT (as well as David Hasselhoff), Hammer pants, Pop Rocks, Garbage Pail Kids, and a ton of decade-symbolic movies and shows -- The Karate Kid, The Smurfs, Sixteen Candles, Transformers, Miami Vice, Diff'rent Strokes, etc.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Even at a club party, there's no obvious drinking or smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Jamie Kennedy comedy has crude humor and language. The "equal opportunity" jokes make light of coma patients, the mentally ill, homosexuals, Jews, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, but not in an over-the-top way. A few scenes show Kennedy's character (a 30-year-old who miraculously comes out of a 20-year coma) "learning" about sex on the Internet (nothing is shown) and practicing moves on a male buddy who's wearing a wig and a bra. It's not a complete raunchfest like Borat or South Park; most teens are now used to this kind of humor -- as long as they're interested in the '80s, that is.

User Reviews

Adult Written byrarara April 9, 2008

I loved it

It was the best movie i ever saw
Parent of a 13 year old Written by[email protected] January 3, 2013

Nice.

cool movie love it and i love how at the beginning it all seems so 80's which is cool i think Jamie did a real good job in this movie and so did the boy wh... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJustino4 October 10, 2011

A Boat-Load

I personally loved this movie but now looking back at it, it contained a boat-load of bad content and offensive elements.
Teen, 13 years old Written bystarzzzzgrl November 27, 2008

i waited

i waited through the whole movie praying the cute justin would come back on!!!!

What's the story?

KICKIN' IT OLD SKOOL's protagonist is Justin, a break dancing-obsessed suburban 10-year-old who falls into a coma during a talent-show breakin' battle in the late '80s. Justin (played by Jamie Kennedy as an adult) miraculously wakes up 20 years later, only to discover that parachute pants and cassette tapes are no longer in style and that his elementary-school nemesis Kip (Michael Rosenbaum) is not only still a rich "jerkwad," but also engaged to the girl of Justin's dreams, Jen (Maria Menounos). Reuniting with his "Funky Fresh Boyz" breakin' crew -- a comedic Rainbow Coalition played by Bobby Lee, Miguel Nunez Jr., and Aris Alvarado -- Justin convinces his out-of-shape pals to pop-and-lock their way into a $100,000 dance contest hosted by Kip.

Is it any good?

Right from the opening credits sequence -- which is set to one of the 1980s' best soundtrack hits, "Dancing in Heaven" -- Kickin' It Old Skool is unexpectedly entertaining. Just probably not for the reasons that writer-producer-star Kennedy intended. Like the ubiquitous chain mail that starts with "You know you grew up in the '80s if...," this comedy is a 107-minute tribute to those whose youth was spent trading Garbage Pail Kids cards and memorizing the lines of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Alan Ruck, aka Cameron Frye, even cameos). So moviegoers of a certain age may find themselves laughing at the stereotypical "wax on, wax off" jokes -- while the teenagers in the audience stay silent.

But aside from the dance sequence and the in-jokes for the '80s-initiated, Kickin' It Old School would play better on late-night television, when your standards are much lower. Things are always funnier when you're half asleep.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how no group is considered off-limits when it comes to Kennedy's mild ridicule. What did you think of the various racial jokes -- like the "Jewbiks Cube" or the "Ghetto Grabber" inventions? What's the purpose of jabs like these -- is it just pure mockery, or is there a more subtle message underneath? Parents should discuss how, over time, some words become socially unacceptable ("retard," for example). Is that a sign of extreme political correctness or simply increased sensitivity? Lastly, just for nostalgia's sake, parents can share their favorite '80s pop-culture trends.

Movie details

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