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Parents' Guide to

King Jack

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Dark coming-of-age movie has intense, sadistic bullying.

Movie NR 2015 80 minutes
King Jack Poster Image

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While some coming-of-age movies are nostalgic remembrances of long-gone summers of good-time oldies on the radio and sweet first kisses, KING JACK is the complete opposite of that. It's an unflinching and unsentimental portrait of teens growing up in dead-end America, drinking, smoking, sexting, and getting beaten to a pulp by an incredibly vicious bully. One can't help but root for Jack, and while it's easy enough to get wrapped up in what's happening, there is always the lingering feeling that the movie really, really wants to show you how "real" it is, all the time, in every scene. King Jack wants to make absolutely certain you realize that teens face peer pressure and verbal taunting, that they drink, smoke, curse, and show each other their private parts during rounds of truth or dare, and that there are some very sadistic bullies out there in the world.

Which brings us to the bully. This bully -- Shane -- is the cruelest of the cruel, subjecting Jack and his cousin Ben to the nastiest of mental and physical tortures. He's so unrelentingly cruel, in fact, that he starts to walk that thin line between a bully drawn from real-life experience and an over-the-top bad guy from any movie where the villain shows no restraint whatsoever to get what he wants. This almost impossibly evil character takes away from some fine acting and the otherwise engaging story.

Movie Details

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