By Corrina Antrobus,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fun-filled nostalgic British comedy has language, drug use.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A warming story about friendship and ambition. When the lead characters' future paths no longer align, they have to learn to respect each other's wishes. Discovering that if you love someone, sometimes you have to let them go.
Positive Role Models
Within the all-Black cast, is a strong bond between the three leads -- Cappo, Two Tonne, and Kidda -- who are working class teenage boys. All three have individual creative talents, which come together to form a successful working relationship as radio DJs or MCs. They do, however, plan a shoplifting operation, which is more slapstick than sinister.
From a Black British director, comes an all-Black cast spanning Caribbean, African, Asian, and multiracial backgrounds. The love interests are both light and dark skinned. It's a refreshing representation of how young Black men can have positive friendships and how they support each other as they pursue creative careers or love interests. Due to the story being about teenage boy friendships, the cast is predominantly young and male-dominated. However, although the female characters are not the leads, they come across as strong and independent.
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Violence & Scariness
One orchestrated punch leaves a scar on the main character's eye for the rest of the film. An accident sees a character in a club have his jacket set alight in what's presented as a comedy mishap. The character is not seen as hurt, just angry.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Within the one main romance, there is a brief mention of what a character would like to intimately do to another. It is clear that the love interest has reciprocal feelings.
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Language includes -- and is mainly used for playful ribbing between the friends -- "d--k breath," "d--kheads," "f---ing hell," "boob," "pencil d--k," "c--k porn," "taking the piss," "ball bags," "pr--k," "t-ts," "s--t," "crap," and "big African head."
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Products & Purchases
Various brands including Avirex, Gucci, Evisu, Levis, and Moschino are all featured and mentioned to set the scene of '90s London fashion and culture.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters roll up cannabis joints -- referred to as "ganja" -- and smoke it. Also drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes in a nightclub. But no intoxication. Brief reference to cocaine in a song lyric.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pirates is a playful British coming-of-age comedy with strong language, drug references, and some cannabis use. A love letter to the U.K. garage music scene, the film sees three likeable eighteen-year-old pirate radio DJs attempt to party like it's 1999 (because it is). Starring an all-Black cast, the three friends -- Cappo (Elliot Edusah), Two Tonne (Jordan Peters), and Kidda (Reda Elzaouar) -- learn some important life lessons along the way. Their creative talents are celebrated and they learn the importance of teamwork. Language includes multiple variants of "f--k," "d--k," and more, although it's generally used in a teasing manner between the trio of friends. A scene of cartoonish violence sees a main character punched in the face. There is also reference to a future sexual encounter, but nothing is actually shown. Characters roll and smoke pot, and there is also drinking and smoking in a nightclub setting.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Set on millennium eve, PIRATES takes place over one night and follows three boys on a mission to score tickets to a New Year's Eve rave. Cappo (Elliot Edusah), Two Tonne (Jordan Peters), and Kidda (Reda Elzaouar) share an infectious bond, but as they approach adulthood and university looms, will their bromance last? As they pursue the quest to score the tickets, and Two Tonne tries to win the affections of his crush, Sophie (Kassius Nelson), the boys come of age as they look to their own future ambitions.
Is It Any Good?
Parents who grew up in the '90s U.K. London garage scene will find delight in this new-age musical period piece. The attention to detail in Pirates is meticulous featuring the most infectious records, colossal fashions, and cultural references such as playing "Snake" on a cellphone or purchasing nightclub tickets from a record shop. Cameos from legendary DJs and MCs -- such as DJ Spoony, Carl Cox, and So Solid's Mega Man -- pop up throughout as another source of satisfying nostalgia.
Writer and director Reggie Yates -- better known to U.K. audiences as a radio and TV presenter -- packs plenty of physical comedy into the short 80-minute runtime. But it's the chirpy throwback to '90s London culture, scored by U.K. garage and draped in "off-key" Moschino fashion, that really makes it shine. These specifics may limit the appeal, but the ridiculous comedy (the script is hilarious), and budding friendship (the boys have genuine chemistry), make Pirates an enjoyable, breezy watch.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the strong relationships between the boys in Pirates. How often do you see boys get on so well in movies? What makes a strong friendship?
Discuss the strong language used in the movie. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
How were drinking, smoking, and drug use portrayed? Were there consequences? Did it glamorize it?
Set in 1999, what technology do we have today that would have been useful to the three friends in the movie?
- On DVD or streaming: April 1, 2022
- Cast: Elliot Edusah, Jordan Peters, Reda Elazouar
- Director: Reggie Yates
- Studio: Gunpowder & Sky
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Character Strengths: Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 80 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: April 2, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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