By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Forgettable, raunchy scouting comedy isn't for young kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Amid all the crass humor are hints of messages about honoring your parents and sticking to something you commit to even when it's tough.
Positive Role Models
Nobody is a particularly positive role model in the movie, but at least Randy is interested in helping the boys in his troop and honoring/admiring his father's legacy as a life-changing troopmaster.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of slapstick and comedic violence, but the fact that an elderly man literally blows up isn't as funny as the movie makes it seem. The boys get a lot of scrapes from roughing it, as do the dads trailing after them (cars crash, kids fall, and there are a lot of bruises to go around), but it's all played for laughs.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A mysterious naked woman rides a motorcycle through the woods; a few references to sex and women's bodies.
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Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "motherf--ker," "s--t," "a--hole," "p---y," "d--k," "jackass," and a lot of other insults hurled Randy's way.
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Products & Purchases
Video games, cars and televisions, as well as a bunch of recognizable minivans (Hondas, Toyotas, Chryslers), are seen.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink and smoke on a regular basis.
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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.
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Where to Watch
Based on 1 parent review
A Great Comedy, But Not For Very Young Kids
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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: May 16, 2023
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