Mindhorn

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Mindhorn Movie Poster Image
Campy lowbrow comedy has frequent cursing, drugs.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 89 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

If you want to straighten out your life and be happy, you must learn how to do things for yourself and take responsibility for your own happiness. Patricia is the most reasonable character who built a good life for herself and wants to do what's right.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All the characters are comic exaggerations of different types of people and not intended as role models. Thorncroft is so self absorbed that he only agrees to help the police because he thinks he'll get lots of publicity for it. 

Violence

All violence is played for comedy. Brandishing and threatening with handguns. A few people get shot, and we see small amounts of fake-looking blood. A scarred face after surgery is mildly gory. Slaps on the face. A man gets tasered. A man accidentally punches a woman in the face when he was aiming for someone else.

Sex

Kissing and caressing comically exaggerated with tongues sticking out. One location has a sex doll in the background, and a man jokes that she's his administrative assistant. Men refer to a vasectomy as "the snip." Graffiti of breasts and several penises with small lines arching away, representing drips. A man points each drawing out and discusses them in some detail, including debating whether one drawing is an anus or a breast.

Language

"F--k," "f--king," "shite," "balls," "bastard," "prick," "s--t," "p---y," "t--ty," "ass," "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation, and "wanker."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Simulated cocaine snorting followed by crazy dancing and running through the streets yelling. The man's in bad shape in the morning. A man on a downward spiral behaves drunkenly on a talk show. A fictional TV character and an actual character smoke. A man tries to light a cigarette in a hospital but is told he can't smoke in hospitals.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mindhorn is a Netflix Original comedy first released in theaters in the UK, and was written by and stars Julian Barratt of The Mighty Boosh, although there aren't any fantasy elements like that TV series had. All played for comedy, violence isn't frequent but shows people getting shot and small amounts of blood, some punching, kicking, and slapping, and a man gets tasered. A sex doll appears in the background of several scenes, and there's some comedic kissing with exaggerated tongue. Graffiti of breasts and several penises with small lines arching away, representing drips. Strong language is frequent, including "f--k" and variations, "p---y," "s--t," and "t--ty." The main character snorts cocaine once and his drug-fueled bender is shown; he wakes up in bad shape. A few characters smoke occasionally.

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What's the story?

The quiet, peaceful Isle of Man is shocked when a woman is murdered, and her killer says he'll only negotiate with MINDHORN. The only problem is that Mindhorn is a fictional character from a long-since-canceled TV cop show. Cue washed-up has-been Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt), who played Mindhorn on TV and whose career has been steadily sinking ever since the show ended. Thorncroft is sure that helping the police capture a killer will be just the boost his career so desperately needs, so he heads over to the Isle of Man to play Mindhorn one last time. 

Is it any good?

Campy and cleverly lowbrow, this can be a good popcorn movie for mature teens and up in the right mood to revel in often cringe-worthy gags. Mindhorn works well as a spoof of low-budget cop TV shows, and features some really good bad acting, if that makes sense. Julian Barratt is delightfully fearless in his ability to ham it up to the max, and he's well supported by the rest of the cast. It's a goofy guilty pleasure, for sure, if you like movies that make you guffaw in disbelief as much as (or maybe even more than) they make you really laugh.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the strong language in Mindhorn. How much is too much? Why do you think there's so much swearing in movies?

  • What makes "low-brow" comedy genuinely funny? Does it work for you in this movie? Why or why not?

  • What are some of your favorite comedies? How does this one compare?

Movie details

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