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Little Giants

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Little Giants Movie Poster Image
Underdog comedy with potty humor and positive messages.
  • PG
  • 1999
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Themes include teamwork, inclusion, and integrity. Instead of playing to win at all costs, athletics for kids should be fun, with positive experiences for everyone who takes part. Good sportsmanship and playing fair are shown and discussed during the movie -- when the assistant coach of the rival football team encourages his son to make an illegal play resulting in injury, the coach of the team gets angry and tells him that if it happens again, they're both off the team. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

After being in the shadow of his legendary football player brother his whole life, Danny O'Shea proves to his brother and to everyone around him that sports can and should be fun for all who want to play.

Violence

Football action. Lots of grunting and vowing to tear opponents to bits. Comedic pratfall violence, including a coach who falls out of a second-story window and has his fall broken by landing crotch-first on a large tree branch. During a football game, the placeholder is kicked in the crotch by the kicker. A car chase; some peril. Police draw their guns on a man they suspect of being a "peeping Tom." Some bullying -- bigger kids give a smaller boy a "wedgie." A girl chases these bullies with her go-cart, causing the bullies to crash their bikes or wreck and get muddy in a creek.

Sex

Tweens are shown displaying their first feelings of attraction for the opposite sex. Kissing. 

Language

Occasional profanity: "pissed," "crap," "damn," "hell," "for Christ's sake." Name-calling from kids on the order of "dork" and "losers." Lots of potty humor.

Consumerism

One of the lead characters owns a Chevrolet dealership -- dialogue is devoted to him talking about the greatness of Chevy vehicles. Nabisco products prominently featured. The two rival teams, the Giants and the Cowboys, are franchises in the National Football League. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Little Giants is a 1994 football-themed movie in which Rick Moranis decides to stand up to his arrogant brother, a football legend in their town (played by Ed O'Neill), and field a Pee Wee League team of his own when his daughter, who's better at football than any of the other kids, isn't picked by O'Neill because she's a girl. There's some iffy and puerile humor throughout the movie, including a recurring joke revolving around a heavier-set boy's tendency to pass loud and stinky gas at timely and untimely moments, another boy who blows bubbles of mucous out of his nostrils, and some childish name-calling on the order of "dork" and "losers." There's also some bullying -- bigger kids give a smaller boy a "wedgie," and the daughter chases these bullies with her go-cart, causing them to lose control of their bikes and fall into a creek. Adults occasionally use profanity on the order of "pissed," "crap," and "for Christ's sake." On two occasions, crotch injuries are comedic punch lines. The movie also shows the first stirrings of tween attraction between the daughter and the heroic quarterback. Overall, despite the detours into immature humor, the movie upholds some positive messages -- namely that playing sports for fun, doing your best, and working as a team take precedence over winning at nearly all costs and excluding everyone (even talented girls who express an interest in sports) but the very best from playing.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byranch girl January 24, 2016

Way more language than it needed...

Wasn't expecting to hear turd, damn, crap, or so many hells and butts in this movie.
Adult Written byHester A. March 1, 2018

I really enjoyed the movie

It shows what it is like growing up and bring a kid, especially in the 90s. I was a kid in the 90s. I thought it was cool that a girl got to play in football an... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

:)

Good Movie
Teen, 16 years old Written bymrnotcreative April 6, 2016

Weird relationships

As the story goes along, we see Shawna Waldron's character, Becky "Icebox" O'Shea, develop feeling for a boy name Junior. When her dad goes... Continue reading

What's the story?

In LITTLE GIANTS, two adult brothers living in a small town -- returning football star Kevin (Ed O'Neill) and diminutive nerd Danny (Rick Moranis) -- coach opposing Pee Wee football teams. Danny's team may be filled with outcasts, but they still give Kevin's team a run for their money and teach the brothers a thing or two about family and sportsmanship.

Is it any good?

This is a formulaic yet good-natured football yarn for those who haven't seen the story of nerds triumphing over jocks many times before. The predictable big-game showdown, the bumbling practice antics, the coach falling for one of the team moms -- these are just some of the elements lifted directly from The Mighty Ducks franchise. Inconceivably, this project required the efforts of four writers. What could they have been doing? Watching and stealing from every movie in the genre? Of course, the reason we see this formula over and over again is it seems to work -- audiences eat it up.

To be fair, there are some humorous bits in Little Giants. The no-neck Neanderthal Spike, who only refers to himself in the third person, is fun to watch, saying things such as, "Spike is going to tear you apart!" The go-cart scene one-ups the rollerblading chase from D2. And Ed O'Neill's Kevin is just nasty enough to make you really dislike him. The movie's message, even if recited by rote, is a good one: Teamwork and inclusion are important.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the outcome of the big game in Little Giants. What character traits did the players develop as a result of working together?

  • What are some other examples of sports movies in which "scrappy underdogs" improve at a sport, learn teamwork and good sportsmanship, and find a way to beat the team everyone thinks is going to win? What do you think is the appeal of these movies? 

  • How are the movie's messages of good sportsmanship, doing your best, and having fun no matter what happens conveyed? 

  • How do the characters in Little Giants demonstrate integrity and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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