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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Mostly intended for entertainment, but viewers will learn a bit about marketing and technology use, as well as teamwork and communication.
Encourages parents and kids not to rely too heavily on technology for friendship and happiness, while also acknowledging positive aspects of technology and social media. Stresses importance of real-life friendships, of accepting others who aren't like you, of family-wide compassion, empathy, and teamwork.
Positive Role Models
Barney is loyal and loving but also lonely. Ron is quirky and mischievous but has Barney's best interests in mind. Barney's father and grandmother want him to be happy and safe. Marc is a thoughtful CEO who wants his devices to help his customers.
Barney and his family aren't racially diverse, but they are intergenerational, with his Eastern European-born grandmother having a prominent role in his life. The extended ensemble includes a Black tech genius and characters with different backgrounds.
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Violence & Scariness
The B*Bot squeezes a hen so thoroughly that she lays an egg; in another scene, it looks like the B*Bot has accidentally killed a chicken. A goat causes mild destruction. A group of boys bullies Barney. Barney and his crew must escape from the tech company's security. The security team tries to grab Ron so that they can have him destroyed.
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"Hell" used infrequently. "You're such a freak," "sucks," "freakin'," "poop," "stick it to the man," "I hate kids," "kill me now," etc. Middle schoolers make fun of Ron, follow him, and even bother him while he's in a bathroom stall. Jokes and a meme about a girl who gets pooped on; they call her "Poop Girl." A plastic unicorn toy "poops" glittery slime.
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Products & Purchases
The on-screen tech is reminiscent of Apple products. Off-camera, the movie has tie-ins to apparel, toys, B*Bot figures, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Reference to vodka; an adult celebrates with sparkling wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ron's Gone Wrong is an animated adventure about an 11-year-old boy named Barney (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer) who receives a "defective" robot named Ron (Zach Galifianakis) as a birthday present. Together, they write their own code about friendship that makes Ron one of a kind. The movie explores issues of class (Barney is the last person in his school to get a B*Bot) and the proliferation of technology, social media, and screen time among tweens and teens. While there's little in the way of violence or scariness, you can expect instances of school bullying (a boy is even ridiculed while on the toilet) and brief moments of light peril as a team infiltrates a company to save the day. There's also some rude language ("sucks," "freakin'," etc.) and bathroom humor, including a meme about a "Poop Girl" and a toy plastic unicorn that "poops" glittery slime. The movie stresses the importance of real-life friendships, of accepting others who aren't like you, and of family-wide compassion, empathy, and teamwork. Olivia Colman co-stars as Barney's grandma, and Ed Helms voices his dad. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This animated tale is an entertaining mix of kid-friendly adventure, quirky buddy comedy, and cautionary schoolyard drama. Barney starts out as a somewhat sad character; he doesn't even hand out his birthday party invitations because he's sure no one will want to attend. Aside from Donka and his father, Barney's only "friend" is the family's goat. After Ron arrives, he quickly grows into the best friend Barney has longed for, because they're writing the rules for friendship together. Writer-director Sarah Smith (Arthur Christmas) again follows a clumsy but kind, lonely but lovable protagonist. She keeps the focus on Barney's family and friendships, even as Ron causes chaos when he inspires the other kids to instruct their B*Bots to rid themselves of their Bubble programming.
Kids will find Barney and Ron's partnership amusing, especially all the silly banter as they get to know each other. Galifianakis is ideally cast as Ron, with his voice performance making the dialogue even funnier. Colman stands out as Donka, who simultaneously dotes on Barney and encourages him to be self-sufficient. Her love of Old World cooking (she offers Barney tripe soup) and superstitions (she believes a relative died from a "demon inside a cashew" instead of a nut allergy) will endear her in particular to anyone with an immigrant grandparent. The incident with Barney's former friend, Savannah (Kylie Cantrall), who ends up a poop meme, shows how easy it is for someone's social media presence to turn ugly. But the "big reveal" about companies wanting access to kids for their marketing power shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's gotten a merchandise tie-in or watched kids' programming with ads. Ultimately, the movie's technology messages are important, but even more vital are the reminders about the importance of unconditional friendship and close family bonds.
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.