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Revenge of the Nerds
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that students binge drink, and smoke cigarettes and pot in this R-rated college movie. There's a strong emphasis on "getting laid" throughout the film, which includes scenes in which students make out and engage in heavy petting. The panty raid scene includes full female nudity, and the frat boys expose their bare behinds in a mooning scene. The nerds install hidden video cams in a sorority house so they can watch them undress. Profanity isn't excessive, but a few bad words and suggestive phrases are uttered. There's no bloody violence, but much of the story line centers on getting revenge. There are many stereotypes targeting Asians, gays, fat girls, and more. The story shows the unfair treatment of people considered outsiders, and in the end, emphasizes the acceptance of outsiders.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Nerds unite in this hilarious comedy about college freshmen Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) and Lewis (Robert Carradine), who find themselves in a battle against a jock-filled fraternity. After the jocks take over the freshman dorms, Gilbert, Lewis and a rag-tag group of genius outcasts decide to form their own fraternity. Led by insolent buffoon, Stan (Ted McGinley), the jocks of Alpha Beta fraternity and their sister sorority try everything they can to ensure the nerds are not granted fraternity status. Pushed to the breaking point, the nerds resort to desperate measures to get back at the jocks and their sister sorority. The nerds turn peeping tom and install hidden video cameras so they can watch naked women and a nerd wearing a mask pretends to be Stan so he can have sex with Stan's girlfriend, among other sneaky modes of revenge.
Is it any good?
REVENGE OF THE NERDS mirrors National Lampoon's Animal House, with one retaliation scene after another. But there's something decidedly different here: the nerds are really nice guys, which gives this film a more heartwarming vibe. While the story has heart and Gilbert, Lewis, and the rest of the nerds are likable, this film is definitely "college kids gone wild." There's plenty of binge drinking, sex talk, making out, nudity, foul language, and a little pot smoking. While the nerds use their smarts to get back at the jocks, they also cheat in a competition. None of the characters are shown studying or attending classes.
Stereotypes abound, and there's rampant bad behavior, sure, but there's a strong positive message about acceptance to enjoy, too. Unlike the protagonists in Animal House, the heroes in this film are sweet, smart guys who just want to be treated with the respect they deserve. The story shows the unfair treatment of people considered outsiders, and in the end, emphasizes the acceptance of outsiders.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the struggles that the nerds faced against the jocks. Why do you think certain groups of people label other groups as uncool outcasts? Who did you associate with more -- the jock-frat boys, or the nerds -- and why? What are the negative effects and dangers of teasing and bullying, and what can you do to help eliminate unfair labeling of certain types of people in your school environment? Was it right for the nerds to spy on the naked sorority girls to get back on them for their mean pranks? Are all nerds really alike? Are all sorority girls and jocks really alike? What were the other stereotypes in this film, and why can they be damaging, even and maybe especially in a comedy?
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