A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Even the most hard-bitten, militaristic killers can learn some sensitivity. Payne abuses all the recruits equally, with no regard for race, age, or ability.
Positive Role Models
Payne shows loyalty to his recruits when he turns down a job with the Marines to see them compete for the junior ROTC trophy. Members of the squad train hard to become part of a tight-knit competitive unit.
Violence & Scariness
Payne comically helps a wounded, suffering soldier by breaking his finger to help alleviate leg pain. References to bloody war scenarios for comic effect, but none seen. Squad members get into a fistfight in the dark and are later seen with minor bruises. Recruits are buried up to their necks and made to train while wearing dresses. There's plenty of comic verbal abuse: "You want sympathy? Look in the dictionary between 's--t' and 'syphilis.'"
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Payne looks intently at the attractive school counselor and daydreams of domestic bliss with her, but there is no overt sexual content.
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"S--t," "puke," "hell," "turd," "worm," "chubby," "tubby," "butt," "maggots," "pee," "scrotum sac," "piss," "bitch," "t-ts," "pimp," "crap," "ass," "screw," and "fart."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults moderately drink alcohol at a dinner.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Major Payne is an edgy 1995 send-up of military training that features a hard-boiled major who routinely humiliates his recruits, ranging in age from 6 to 16. His calls them such names as "ladies," "turd," "worm," "maggot," and "scrotum sac." Other profanity includes "s--t" and "t-ts." Humor derives from frequent comic references to the violence of war and how some enjoy the rush of wartime killing. He describes violent acts -- he drove a man's nose into his brain -- but no real gore is shown. He breaks a wounded man's finger to get his mind off a serious leg injury. Expect some diarrhea and fart jokes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Damon Wayans plays Payne with outrageous conviction, giving a stock character a kind of wacky truth and credibility and, in turn, pumping an old story with new comic life. The script he cowrote never betrays the killing machine's basic insanity, but it also shows that his insanity has an internal logic that lives alongside Payne's deep intelligence, goofy humor, and basic humanity. That's no small accomplishment.
Older tweens and teens will find plenty of laughs in Major Payne, and parents may find themselves enjoying the humor at times as well.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.