Rocket Science Movie Poster Image

Rocket Science



Debate-team teen comedy is clever, unpredictable.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A teen with a severe stutter joins the debate club and finds his voice. An overly competitive girl tries to sabotage a team's chances of winning.


Hal gets pounded by his angry brother; Hal throws a cello through a window.


Teen couples kiss; Hal and Ginny make out in a janitor's closet; Hal hears his mom having sex with a neighbor; Hal and his brother discuss oral sex and "bases." Illustrations from the Kama Sutra are shown.


Several instances of "the finger" and uses of words including "s--t," "bulls--t," "ass," "retard," etc.


Lincoln Town Car.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Hal drinks a bottle of hard liquor and then does stupid things while very drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this quirky teen comedy is pretty mild for an R-rated film (think Rushmore rather than Superbad). It does include some language ("s--t," "ass," etc.), shots of teens kissing, a couple of conversations about sex, and one scene of the protagonist drinking, but for the most part it's a clever, unconventional teen flick that follows a misfit, stuttering guy who joins the school debate team.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Hal Hefner (Reece Thompson) isn't your typical high-school antihero. He's not an overachiever like Tracy Flint (Election) or Max Fischer (Rushmore). Nor is he an all-out nerd like Napoleon Dynamite. He's a disfluent (i.e. a severe stutterer) underdog who spends part of his day in special-needs therapy with a silent girl. On the bus one afternoon, a lovely girl named Ginny (Anna Kendrick) invites Hal to join the debate team, swearing that all of the "deformed" debaters rock, because they have something to prove. Hal finds Ginny's aura of success and self-confidence (not to mention sex appeal) intoxicating, so he gives debating a go, under Ginny's tutelage and the direction of the gung-ho coach (character actress Margo Martindale).

Is it any good?


With a few unexpected plot twists, writer-director Jeffrey Blitz admirably keeps ROCKET SCIENCE from devolving into Rocky-lite. Sometimes when the odds are stacked so high against a kid like Hal, no amount of hard work will end in victory. Sometimes it's the trying itself that's important.

Orbiting Hal on his surprising search for his voice -- to be a champion debater, you have to cram an astonishing amount of words into each second, not an easy feat for a stutterer -- are three other misfits: his agenda-keeping older brother (Vincent Piazza), his quietly closeted friend (Aaron Yoo), and Ginny's young peeping neighbor (Josh Kay). Each contributes to a couple of touching, humorous scenes.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of "misfit" teen heroes, from Max Fischer in Rushmore to Napoleon Dynamite. What characteristics do these kinds of characters have in common? What characteristics do their movies have in common? Is it more fun to watch movies about this kind of teenager or more "mainstream" teens? Why? Who do you identify with more? Families can also discuss the Hefner parents' divorce and how it affects both boys.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 10, 2007
DVD/Streaming release date:January 29, 2008
Cast:Anna Kendrick, Nicholas D'Agosto, Reece Thompson
Director:Jeffrey Blitz
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some sexual content and language.

This review of Rocket Science was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • One-of-a-kind high school comedy for the family.
  • Dark high school comedy is best for older teens.
  • Quirky '90s comedy has profanity, sex, underage drinking.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

Parents should let kids atch this

Adult Written byJorjiboy1134 April 9, 2008
Teen, 14 years old Written byHidalgo99 January 4, 2013

True to Life Teen Dramedy isn't for everybody

Rocket Science isn't your typical teen comedy. It defies your expectations up until the credits and is funny, sad, and real. Every teen can connect with the main character who has a bad stutter and can't talk very well and when he does he usually makes a complete fool of himself. He is silenced and does not speak up for himself until Ginny Ryerson invites him to the debate team. He falls madly in love with her even obbsively is love with her. She on the other hand may be toying with him, or may have feelings. Rocket Science relates one year of the boy's life and it is a bizzare film. Even more so then an Anderson film or Baumbach. But it's experimental style and wit is enthralling and depending on the teen they may enjoy it or may not. This is not a feel good movie. It shows high school as it is, albeit somewhat exaggerated, and is great. Note: This film is R rated and there is much swearing and one scene of drinking. The only really inappropriate part is when two boys look at the Kamasutra and is an easily avoidable section
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking