By Renee Longstreet,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Goofy Christopher Guest faux docu has sex, bawdy language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While spoofing the characters and their work, the movie salutes commitment to a task, believing in oneself, and finding joy in small victories.
Positive Role Models
A gentle send-up of people who take themselves very seriously; most characters are warm-hearted, appreciate family, and work hard. In a comic sequence between a clueless older man and a little person, insensitivity and ignorance are parodied. A controversy surrounds a college team name "Leaping Squaws." Little ethnic diversity.
Violence & Scariness
A few comic falls and bonks.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Comic references, jokes as characters talk about infidelity, penis size, escort services, sexual misbehavior, syphilis, a yeast infection, "scented" athletic cup. A brief glimpse of bare breasts and sexual activity in a gentlemen's club. A couple quickly embrace and kiss in an elevator. Sexual sounds emanate from a trailer. A leading male character is an admitted philanderer, ogling women throughout.
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Coarse language throughout: "micropenis," "piss," "boner," "s--t," "defecating on," "hell," one instance of "f--k," and the middle-finger gesture. Characters talk about smells in costumes, "humping," and a sexually correct costume, and one dancing mascot is dressed as poop. Other references: "balls," "bollocks," "Bushwackers."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking in a bar. Two featured characters drink beer and smoke marijuana. Reference to a failed drug test and character being disqualified from contest due to ingesting Ecstasy.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mascots, a Netflix original movie, is the latest entry in the comic fictional films, disguised as "documentaries," from Christopher Guest and his company of improvisational actors. Focusing on team mascots from smaller colleges and venues, Guest gently spoofs the people inside the quirky costumes as they vie for the Fluffy Awards, presented annually by the World Mascot Association. For this international competition, an array of oddball contestants gets center stage as they train, socialize, and reveal the offbeat sides of their personalities and relationships. The laughs are playful, witty, and sophisticated, with some sexual innuendo, naughty jokes, and sexy sight gags. There's talk about infidelity, penis size, escort services, sexual misbehavior, a yeast infection, and a "scented" athletic cup. A brief glimpse of bare breasts and sexual activity in a gentlemen's club. Coarse language ("piss," "boner," "defecate," "balls," and one "f--k") works in tandem with the rest of the comedy, as does some drinking, a duo-smoking-marijuana scene, and references to sexually transmitted diseases. While it might initially seem that the subject matter is ideal for young audiences, this movie is meant for mature teens and adults only.
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What's the Story?
Excitement, intense competition, and extraordinary feats of derring-do are awaiting the bizarre collective of contestants in MASCOTS. It's the 8th Annual World Mascot Association Championship, and the 20 finalists are vying for the Fluffy Awards in bronze, silver, and gold. Who will win the coveted trophies? Cindy Babineaux's modern-dancing Armadillo (Parker Posey)? Tommy Zucarello, the Blue Lake Mallards' Bad Boy's "Fist" (Chris O'Dowd)? London's longtime champion, Owen Golly, Jr., as "Sid the Hedgehog" (Tom Bennett)? Phil Mayhew as "Jake the Plumber" (Christopher Moynihan)? Or Mike and Mindy Murray (Zach Woods and Sarah Baker), the bickering-est couple in Anaheim? Along with the participation of Christopher Guest regulars in less central roles (Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Ed Begley, Jr., Don Lake, John Michael Higgins), the prime contestants face critical obstacles in their paths: a bout of food poisoning, a rebuff from an old flame, a skirmish with a micromanaging dad, and a run-in with the law. The finals are a sight to behold -- it's a mascot free-for-all that only Guest and company could create.
Is It Any Good?
In the tradition of some of Christopher Guest's most hilarious productions, a company of off-the-wall human hopefuls vies for glory in this hit-and-miss but imaginative effort. This long-awaited new entry in the Guest faux-documentary collection, with some talented newcomers joining the troupe, may be disappointing simply because the formula is now so familiar. Earlier movies were singular, groundbreaking, and unexpected. Nothing prepared audiences for the lunacy of Waiting for Guffman or Best in Show, among others. The new cast members are agile (Zach Woods, Tom Bennett, and Sarah Baker are standouts), and the old reliables are in fine form; the mascot world is prime for spoofing. Still this movie relies more on sexual humor and bawdy language than films past. That may be a clue that the team is working extra hard to maintain its high standards of absurd yet recognizable human frailties. It's enjoyable but falls short of Guest's usual greatness. Due to the sexual nature of the humor and the language, it's suitable for mature teens only.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the spoofing and parodying in Mascots. How does this film manage to find the humor in these oddball characters without hurtfully mocking them? Did you find yourself laughing with the characters or at them?
Christopher Guest and his cowriter provided the story and an outline for the scenes; the actors then improvised the dialogue. What is improvisation? What are the possible benefits of this structure?
This movie makes fun of ignorance in the scene between the coach and the little person. With whom did you identify in this scene? Did it change any attitudes you might have had about little people? Do you think such direct humor is an effective way of dealing with prejudice?
- On DVD or streaming: October 13, 2016
- Cast: Parker Posey, Chris O'Dowd, Zach Woods
- Director: Christopher Guest
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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