A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Luke and Lucy: Texas Ranger is a CGI Wild West shoot-em-up that, while clever and suspenseful overall, involves sustained cartoony violence and gun use, and one sexually suggestive scene involving a scantily clad female singer cooing and caressing a male audience while she delivers a tune about being a "bad girl." The scene feels drop-shipped into the middle of an otherwise family-styled adventure that features two kids as major characters in the action and seems to be targeting a younger age group. Furthermore, the film features some heavy-handed gender stereotypes, and a Mexican character who won't be winning any awards for political correctness. The outmoded feel and mixed-up age-appropriateness may be due to the picture's adaptation from the Belgian comic book (know as Spike and Suzy overseas), that first appeared in 1945.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
When the evil Jim Parasite (voiced by Billy Ray Cyrus) starts shrinking Texas Rangers as part of his greedy plot for world domination, Luke, Lucy and pals must travel to Dark City, Texas to help restore order. Along the way, they battle cowboys and unravel the plot to take over the world, one suspicious character at a time.
Is it any good?
Luke and Lucy: Texas Rangers has its moments in offbeat laughs and silly antics. But those OK-for-a-7-year-old moments in this animated film are marred by some inexplicable adult references, sustained gunslinging, and more than one off-color stereotype than doesn't make sense for a movie featuring kids as its main action heroes. Though it's tough to guess how old Luke and Lucy are -- they play video games, but Lucy still carries a doll -- it's offputting to watch them show their way around an interrogation room so naturally, fish a gun out of a bad guy's back pocket and turn it on him, or visit a seedy bar with a neon pink sign for a sex club called Eros blinking outside in the background. But when they all waltz into a bar to watch a voluptous lady coo a two-minute tune about what a bad girl she is, figurng out what movie you're trapped in gets genuinely confusing. This may make sense if your kids are familiar with the Belgian Spike and Suzy comic books, upon which this movie is based, but their debut in 1945 makes that unlikely.
For older kids, the shoot-em-up western action and steampunky cowboy robot Jim Parasite make for an entertaining video game come to life, and parents may enjoy the jokes and brief bullet-dodging Matrix moment. The cowboys are fun and the shrink-your-way-to-world-domination is a clever thread. And while explaining the Mexican stereotype and all the machismo might make for an educational moment, if you're looking for an all-ages adventure without all the baggage, keep looking.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how women are portrayed in media. What are the characteristics of the girls and women in this movie? Why are women in movies so often in need of rescue? Can you think of women you know in occupations that save lives?
Have you ever visited a ghost town? Visit the library or go online to read about historically accurate towns in the Wild West.
What kind of racial stereotypes appear in this movie? What is the problem with using stereotypes?
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