A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Nature Calls may center on a scoutmaster and his troop, but it's in no way age appropriate for kids, tweens, or young teens. It starts off with a tender premise -- the adult son of a scout leader wants to follow in his elderly father's footsteps -- but quickly veers into over-the-top territory. There's barely a scene of dialogue without a "f--k" and/or other strong language, there are lots of crude and scatological jokes, and the boys even spot a mysterious naked woman on a motorcycle in the woods. There's also a lot of comedic violence that culminates in a man being blown up and killed in the outdoors.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Brothers Randy (Patton Oswalt) and Kirk (Johnny Knoxville) couldn't be more different. They're both the sons of a beloved scout troopmaster, but while Randy has taken over the now-struggling troop, Kirk wants nothing to do with scouting. When Randy discovers that none of his troop wants to go camping because they're at Kirk's son's video-games-and-movies sleepover, Randy basically coerces the boys to go on a trip with his disabled, elderly dad in tow. The next morning, Kirk and his best friend go after Randy and the kids, while Kirk's wife Janine (Maura Tierney) must explain to the other boys' parents whey their sons aren't there. Late comedian Patrice O'Neal appears in his final film performance as an angry dad trying to convince his son that he's not dead -- as the scout leaders erroneously told him.
Is it any good?
Oswalt, so good in Young Adult and on Showtime's The United States of Tara gets nothing from Nature Calls' flat, forgettable script. It's a shame he signed up to do something that's so embarrassing to his comedic abilities. This is lowbrow humor that actually has a promising early premise, but it goes south quickly and never recovers. How the director found parents willing to let their young sons be in this crass a comedy is befuddling.
Although Riggle and Knoxville are a duo made in fraternity-boy heaven, and O'Neal is a sight for sore eyes in his minor role, it's a waste that such a funny performer should have his last performance be in such a tasteless mess of a movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how not all movies featuring minors are actually geared toward kids and teens. How might Nature Calls have been different if kids were the target audience?
Is it appropriate for a movie about a group of young kids to feature so many raunchy jokes and strong language? Why or why not?
The violence in the movie, even a character's death, is played for laughs. Does it come off as amusing?
- In theaters: November 9, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: January 22, 2013
- Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Patton Oswalt, Rob Riggle
- Director: Todd Rohal
- Studio: Magnolia Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language and some sexual content/nudity
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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