Malibu Rescue: The Movie

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Malibu Rescue: The Movie Movie Poster Image
Unexceptional teen beach movie has some potty humor.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 69 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It takes hard work and the right attitude to meet goals. Teamwork matters. Be willing to try new activities.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hero learns value of doing the right thing, working as a team member, and committing to a project. Underdogs work together, maintain ethical standards, and succeed. One-dimensional villains: snobby, win-at-all-costs attitude (including cheating). Some stereotyping, i.e., ditzy blond; uncool but well-meaning parents. Ethnic diversity. 


Cartoonish action: falls, skateboard flips, candy explodes in soft drink, car chases kid on skateboard, chair collapses, an ATV accident, raft blows up. Tries for suspense when small child is in danger on a raft. No one is injured or hurt.


Potty language and some insults: "farts," "peeing" "fish turds," "butt-face," "crap," "wussbag." Belches and farts. A silly "sculpture" of a human rear-end.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Malibu Rescue: The Movie is the pilot (or prequel) to the eight-episode Netflix series Malibu Rescue, intended for tween audiences. Four high-schoolers from Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley strive to become a part of a summer Junior Rescue Program on Malibu Beach. They're met with resistance from the snobby Malibu teens who don't want to accept the "non-beach-city" outsiders into what has been a stronghold for the upscale coastal kids. The familiar "underdog" movie is family-friendly with low-brow humor, some potty language and mild swearing (i.e., pee jokes, fart sounds, belching, references to puking, "crap"), along with some insults: "butt-face," "wussbag," "fish turds." With the exception of one slightly suspenseful rescue sequence in which a child alone on a raft appears to be headed toward danger, the action is slapstick (falls, candy exploding in a soft drink, a chair collapses, a car chase). No one is hurt. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by1Newbaby June 18, 2019

Family Fun

I thought the show was great and put forward the idea that kids and teens can be productive members of society. While the kids did make a lot of mistakes they... Continue reading
Adult Written byFf2Medicmom June 9, 2019


My daughter loved it and now it sparked more interest in the rescue part of kiaking and water rescue and hard work. But please teach real CPR and first aid. N... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHeartlandHorses June 20, 2020

Good Engaging Movie

This movie is such a good and fun movie to watch. The only thing is that some of the CPR and first aid is not true and my little brother now thinks it is. It es... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old October 12, 2020

Really good but not as good as the series(THERE SHOULD BE MORE LIKE THIS!!!)

Shows a lot of teamwork scenes some violent, and rude language(No swearing) such as; LETS MURDER THEM....... IN THE RACE, I HATE THAT GUY, and: I DON'T LIK... Continue reading

What's the story?

Tyler (Ricardo Hurtado) is in trouble at school again in MALIBU RESCUE: THE MOVIE. Summer vacation is about to start. Tyler’s annoying stepdad remembers the time when, as a teen, he turned his life around -- in the Junior Rescue Program on Malibu Beach. A structured summer is the last thing Tyler wants, so when he’s sent to Malibu, joining a group of "Valley" kids on their way to train as lifesavers, he's already looking for a way out. Making things worse, the established Malibu Beach teen rescue team has a problem with the lowly Valley types invading their territory -- the insults and harassing are nonstop. Tyler, easily provoked, can't help but want to fight back. Along with Gina (Breanna Yde), a sassy swim champ; Eric (Alkoya Brunson), a Vallelyite eager to succeed; and Lizzie (Abby Donnelly), looking for some medical emergencies to conquer, Tyler leads The Flounders (the name given to this underrated team) on their quest for rescue mastery. Together they take on the arrogant bravado of Malibu Beach "royalty" and vie for the primo lifeguard station on the beach.

Is it any good?

The fact that the movie is brimming with cornball jokes, predictability, cartoon pratfalls, and one-dimensional characters doesn't mean that tweens won't like it; actually, most will. It's easy to root for Tyler and his fellow "Flounders," those put-upon kids from the Valley who are looking for both validation and a place at the rescuers table. Other than potty humor and some name-calling, it's inoffensive. The good guys are likable. The acting is purposefully broad -- especially the adults. And, though it has zero surprises, no nuance, and no shining moments, Malibu Rescue: The Movie is a comfortable and clear setup for the Netflix summer series that follows.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Malibu Rescue: The Movie as an introduction to the Netflix series that will follow it. Usually called a television "pilot," the goals are to set up the characters, relationships, tone, and style. A pilot often introduces the "origin" story, the central conflict for the series. Did the movie accomplish its goals? Will you watch the series? What about the movie intrigued you?

  • In some movies, locations and/or settings are considered "characters." How was Malibu Beach a character in this film? How did the specific locales dictate behavior and plot?

  • The filmmakers showed a commitment to making their movie family-friendly. Did you notice that even while most of the action takes place on the beach, there are no bikinis or skimpy clothing? With the exception of fart jokes and some potty talk and juvenile insults, there was no swearing. Does this matter to your family? How does your family determine which movies are okay?

Movie details

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