Parents' Guide to

Self Reliance

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Quirky comedy-thriller has language, constant peril.

Movie R 2024 85 minutes
Self Reliance movie poster: A collage of people scattered over yellow background features a hand in shape of gun pointing at Jake Johnson's forehead

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say Not yet rated
Kids say (1 ):

Jake Johnson is peak Jake Johnson in his first self-directed feature playing Thomas Walcott, an aimless, late 30s-something dude living with his mother. Despite the film's title, the supporting cast helps Johnson out immensely in Self Reliance, as most of the comedy comes from their disbelief in what Thomas claims to be happening to him. While these scenes are too scarce, they do ground the film and try to remind the viewer that Thomas could be anybody. The premise then only holds as long the "this could happen to you," gambit also holds, which means there is a heavy reliance on making sure that Thomas's decisions along the way feel just, rational, and believable, which thankfully they mostly do. But as the days tick on by, the film flirts with a tonal shift that could have sent things in an entirely different direction. For some, the film will only be interesting because of this tease of a tonal shift, which means that the film will only disappoint them because even the in-film game Thomas is playing reminds him that "this is supposed to be a comedy."

But for others, the flirtation with insanity will be enough, and they will find satisfaction in a tidy, if not altogether thrilling, ending. Either way, the film is entirely watchable and pleasant enough. Unfortunately, perhaps not wanting to overly rely on notable talent, Johnson only gives cameos to Andy Samberg, Christopher Lloyd, and Wayne Brady, rather than give them full supporting roles. By doing so, it feels like Johnson missed some great opportunities to make stronger use of their wonderfully varied and comedic talents.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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

See how we rate