A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this collection of animated comedy shorts is definitely not aimed at kids. Many of them start with well-known fairy tales, popular TV characters, and well-known pop-culture icons, and then creator Seth MacFarlane adds a generous dose of adult humor, including plenty of profanity, drinking, and lots of sex (including straight sex, gay sex, and bestiality). There's some cartoon nudity and some pretty explicit under-the-sheets action, with obvious thrusting and even more obvious moans and groans.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
SETH MACFARLANE'S CAVALCADE OF CARTOON COMEDY may look, to a casual observer, much like a collection of classic animated short films from days gone by. There's the Roadrunner and the Coyote; Star Trek characters make a few appearances; wise-cracking animals abound, and there are even some fractured fairy tales. But these cartoons are definitely not for kids; instead of slapstick hijinks, expect characters who are more interested in drinking and sex. And when there is violence, it's more likely to be realistic and gory. Put it this way: the Frog Prince asks the princess to give him a lot more than just a kiss, and when the speedy roadrunner is crushed under a boulder, the result is an unpleasant puddle of bloody grossness.
Is it any good?
Anyone familiar with MacFarlane's work (see The Family Guy, which is known for its adult take on the standard, family-oriented sit-com) will quickly recognize his unique sensibilities here. It's rude and crude, and in pushing the cartoon-shock value envelope can veer into territory that some viewers will probably find offensive (anyone up for graphic close-ups of animal genitalia?).
The main problem here isn't the raunch, however; it's the lack of laughs. McFarlane is trying so hard to be outrageous that the script just isn't that entertaining. His idea of humor is to start with a familiar situation and then tweak it by introducing a dose of realism, usually driven by lust or liquor, or both. Sometimes this works – after finally, amazingly, catching the Roadrunner, the Coyote finds he has no purpose in life. But many other sketches have little to sustain them – one short episode is based solely on the premise that Star Trek's Mr. Sulu probably sounds funny when he's having sex. He doesn't, and like too many of these animated shorts, it's not very funny to watch, either.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about coarse humor. The dialogue in these short films is often quite profane, but it also sounds very natural. The swearing is not there to shock, but reflects the way people communicate in informal settings. Do you think there is too much swearing, or do you think it makes sense, given the settings? Do you think the language and the overt sexuality makes the film funny, or does it get in the way of the jokes? Or is it not a factor at all?