A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mac and Me is a wonderfully bad slice of 1980s kitsch. It's an obvious E.T. rip-off; the acting is bad across the board; and there are plenty of scenes that will leave everyone scratching their heads. Oh, and the product placement is as obnoxious and tacky as you can get. That said, fans of the so-bad-it's-good school of movie watching will find much to enjoy in the cheese and the awfulness. On a serious note: In the film, a boy in a wheelchair loses control and rolls downhill off a cliff and into water where he nearly drowns. This might be a bit much for younger viewers, especially any who know kids in wheelchairs.
What's the story?
The Cruise family has just moved to California from Illinois, but they're not the only ones who are new in town. A family of aliens has been vacuumed up from their home planet by a NASA probe. When they escape from the lab, the smallest of the aliens ends up in the Cruise's house, where only their youngest son Eric sees him. When the alien, christened "Mac" by Eric (which stands for Mysterious Alien Creature) inadvertently wreaks havoc in their living room, Eric tries to convince his mother (Christine Ebersole) and his older brother Michael (Jonathan Ward) that it's an alien, but it takes awhile for them to believe him. Meanwhile, Mac wants to meet up with his family, who are wandering around in the desert, and can only find the strength he needs to survive by drinking Coca-Cola Classic. For Mac to meet his family again, he needs help from Eric and Michael (with assistance from their neighbors Debbie and Courtney) to avoid being captured by NASA.
Is it any good?
If you like kitschy '80s movies of the so-bad-they're-good variety, then MAC AND ME is as ridiculous as you can get. The acting is terrible, the storyline takes bizarre turns (for instance, when Mac the alien escapes a pack of neighborhood dogs by climbing to the top of a tree, we hear an '80s-style love ballad), and the product placement in this E.T. knockoff -- while clearly intended to make the viewer crave Big Macs, Coke Classic, and Skittles -- merely add to the absurdity. At least the filmmakers had the good sense to not make Eric's wheelchair fly like Elliot's BMX bike in a remarkably similar chase scene.
As long as you go into this with the right attitude -- knowing that Mac and Me isn't Citizen Kane by any stretch (or E.T.), families who find humor in kitsch should find much to enjoy with this one, in spite of its sheer awfulness. It's as '80s as big hair and acid-washed Guess jeans, and you might find some nostalgia in the stink of this movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about product placement in movies. What's the intent of the companies who have their products placed in movies?
Movies about aliens landing on earth and meeting humanity are common. What similarities and differences do you see between Mac and Me and other movies with similar themes?
How accurately do you think the film portrays the life of a typical suburban boy using a wheelchair?
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