Mr. Peabody & Sherman



Punny time-travel adventure with lots of comic peril.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: March 7, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will become familiar (even if it's in passing) with various historical figures such as Marie Antoinette, Robespierre, Leonardo da Vinci, King Tut, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Vincent van Gogh, Mozart, the Wright Brothers, and events such as the Trojan War, the French Revolution, and the famous works of art the Mona Lisa and Starry Night.

Positive messages

Strong messages revolve around family. A family doesn't need to look like everyone's else's to be valid and loving. History is extremely important, because it can change our lives. (However, every female character in the movie is either mean, difficult, or ditzy -- including the very few historical figures Mr. Peabody and Sherman meet.) Mr. Peabody learns there's no formula to parenting: you just have to love and protect your kid. Sherman and Penny's journey proves that sometimes people you least expect can turn into great friends. 

Positive role models

Mr. Peabody loves Sherman even if he isn't to say it at first. He takes care of him and caters to his needs and teaches him all about history through the time machine. Sherman is sweet and kind and defends his adoptive father. Penny is a cruel bully for much of the movie, though she redeems herself at the very end.

Violence & scariness

The ancient Egyptians imprison Mr. Peabody and Sherman, who nearly die several times in the Great Sphinx. The ancient Greeks chant "blood! blood! blood!" in preparation for battle with the Trojans. In one scene, Mr. Peabody sacrifices his safety for the sake of Sherman and Penny, and it seems like he plunges to his death. During the segment in the French Revolution, Robespierre rounds up Sherman and Mr. Peabody as part of the aristocracy and sentences them to death. Mr. Peabody is shown under the guillotine (complete with historically accurate basket for the head). Sherman, Mr. Peabody, Penny or some combination of those characters, are often in danger but always survive.

Sexy stuff

Penny is engaged to marry the young King Tut. Agamemnon "kidnaps" Mrs. Grunion and is later shown marrying/kissing her.


Insult language: "stupid," "dumb," "dog," "dirty," "loser."


Since the movie is based on segments of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, there are tie-ins to existing DVDs and memorabilia, as well as Happy Meal toys, apparel, games, and more.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In two scenes, Mr. Peabody is shown elaborately mixing cocktails for Penny's parents and calls the drink "Einstein on the Beach."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a big-screen adaptation of the Peabody's Improbably History segments of Rocky and Bullwinkle. Filled with historical figures and events, the animated adventure features a lot of physical comedy, and some potentially frightening scenes when the kids and Mr. Peabody are in danger -- in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and the French Revolution. Language includes some insults like "loser," "dirty," "dog," and more. Many of the puns and jokes are obviously aimed at parents and older audiences, like when Mr. Peabody mixes cocktails called "Einstein on the Beach." Female characters are negative throughout, though the central girl character redeems herself at the very end.

What's the story?

MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN follows the exploits of genius talking dog Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell), a titan of industry, inventor, musician and scientist whose greatest accomplishments are raising his 7-year-old adopted son -- Sherman (Max Charles) -- and creating a time machine he calls the WABAC. After Sherman gets into a school fight with his bullying classmate Penny (Ariel Winter), Mr. Peabody invites her family over to patch things over, and the kids end up using the WABAC. The unsupervised and unscheduled time travel leads to disastrous and hilarious results that only Mr. Peabody can fix.

Is it any good?


Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an uneven production of highly entertaining visuals and semi-educational historical tidbits mixed with so-bad-they're-occasionally-funny puns and physical comedy. There are jokes (and all the puns) obviously aimed at parents, and sight gags clearly targeted at the kids. But not all of the characters are easy to root for or even like. Penny (voiced by Modern Family star Winter) is a highly unlikable character for most of the movie, during which she's petulant, bullying, and selfish -- demanding to do risky and dangerous deeds. Eventually she redeems herself, but she's too much of a mean girl for little kids to understand.

The father-son angle, however, is quite sweet. Mr. Peabody may be a genius dog that can master everything from cooking to rocket science to all forms of music, but parenting is the one thing he can't just learn out of a book. The various ways that Mr. Peabody and Sherman protect, defend, and teach each other is a good lesson in what's important about parent-child relationships (trust, communication, unconditional love). Baby boomer-aged adults will enjoy revisiting their childhood with this adaptation, but even those completely unfamiliar with the source material will find the story amusing if not remarkable.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why talking animals are so popular in family movies. How is this one different than other animated movies featuring dogs and kids?

  • Discuss the various historical figures Sherman, Penny, and Mr. Peabody encounter. Which people or events do you want to learn more about after seeing the movie?

  • What do you think about Penny's behavior? Is she a good role model for how to act toward a classmate? How does she change throughout the movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 7, 2014
DVD release date:October 14, 2014
Cast:Ty Burrell, Ariel Winter, Max Charles
Director:Rob Minkoff
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Cats, dogs, and mice, History
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild action and brief rude humor

This review of Mr. Peabody & Sherman was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 and 10 year old Written bydandandude June 1, 2014

Bad messages about adoption

I did not expect this movie to be a feat of cinematic greatness, but I was sorely disappointed by the negative stereotypes and scary messages about adoption throughout. I read reviews of this film beforehand and I have to say I was blindsided, as nothing I read mentioned negative adoption themes. First there was Sherman, found abandoned as a baby in an alley, taken in by Mr. Peabody, who happens to be a dog. Because Mr. Peabody was brilliant and uber accomplished, a judge determined he would be a great fit for Sherman's dad. Stupid, but it got worse. Later because Sherman gets in trouble at school, it comes to the attention of a woman who works there (in some position of authority) that he is being raised by a dog. She tells him that she will have the adoption revoked and Sherman removed. She makes a visit to their home and threatens to take him away if they don't make her happy. She has no basis for her disapproval, her character is just mean. All of the messages in this movie are stupid, and clearly fantasy, but for kids who are adopted, sending the message that s/he can be taken from a parent at the whim of a bad person (or any person) with an evil agenda is terrifying. Another aspect of this movie that I didn't like-- Mr. Peabody is so intellectual that he can't be called "Dad" or say "I love you" to Sherman, even though Sherman says it to him. This is harmful and sad for any children, but for adopted kids, it's especially bad. Had I read reviews that cautioned about the poor adoption messages in this movie, I would not have taken my kids. In the past, Common Sense Media has mentioned such in their reviews of movies, and I was disappointed they dropped the ball here. Very bad form.
Parent of a 11 year old Written byMominCambridge March 13, 2014

Strong adoption theme

Having grown up watching Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Peabody, I was looking forward to taking my 11 year old son to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman. While we all enjoyed the movie, I so wish they had chosen to handle some parts differently, particularly having to do with adoption. Adoption drives the plot. All the other dogs got families, but Mr. Peabody grew up without a family because no one wanted a dog like him. Then he finds a baby (Sherman) who had been abandoned in a box in a dark alley and goes to court to adopt him. When Sherman starts school, he is intensely bullied by a girl who makes fun of him because his father is a dog, which leads to a very mean social worker telling Mr. Peabody that she is going to do everything she can to take Sherman away from him. The idea that a family formed through adoption can be broken apart as easily as it was created certainly could be tough for kids who were adopted, and, in addition, it reinforces the idea among non-adopted kids (and parents) that these families are not really permanent. As part of a family formed through adoption, that in NOT the message I want to see in a movie. At the same time, the movie provides an opportunity to talk about what makes a family, compare Penny's parents with Sherman's dad, as well as how to deal with kids who bully other kids because they are different (like they have a dog for a dad!). I would like to see Common Sense Media include mention of these kinds of themes in their reviews. The ending is predictable in a satisfying kind of way.
Parent of a 6 year old Written March 24, 2014

Very disappointed

There was a really good preface for this to be an amazing movie, but they threw in a lot of inappropriate talk and some disconcerting images. There is a beheading that makes you think Mr. Peabody is getting killed. There are images of a body cut opened being disemboweled, and many butt jokes. Mr Peabody and Sherman were trying to get past a booby trap and when Mr Peabody said booby trap, Sherman says,"Oh you said Booby!" Mr Peabody rushes in a room and yells something like I had to come in before you touched yourself to Sherman and the cartoon grown-ups acted appalled. There is a girl who is a really harsh bully. And she never apologizes to Sherman for her actions. Of course, he thinks he's in love with her. Sherman and Mr. Peabody ask people from the past if it would be okay for them to go into the future and they all say it would be fine and Bill Clinton pops on screen and says, "I've done worse." I just think this is not a movie for young children. I am sure many of the jokes are over their heads, but when I as an adult, feel embarrassed when watching a cartoon with my 6 year old, I think the movie makers really did a disservice to families wanting to take their children to see a good movie.I am beyond disappointed.


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