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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that from the opening scene -- which shows robots attacking and blowing up mannequins and heavy war machinery -- to the closing moments -- when bad guy-soldiers are trying to destroy the beloved robot-hero -- guns, rifles, lasers, and automatic weaponry are fired at regular intervals. No one is injured or killed, but the lovable robot character is in danger throughout. Also expect frequent angry and/or frustrated swearing in many sequences.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Five robots have been developed to be used in wartime. They're powerful fighting machines. During a storm, lightning strikes one of the robots. "Number 5" malfunctions and escapes from the compound. Hiding out with Stephanie (Ally Sheedy), the robot surprisingly begins to take on the characteristics of a human being. While the security team from the company sets out to find and destroy Number 5 before it blows anything up, Newton (Steve Guttenberg) and Ben (Fisher Stevens), the scientists who created the robot, try to find him first and save him.
Is it any good?
It doesn't get much more simplistic than this. The good guys are good; the bad guys are bad; nobody changes much. But the ride has its message and its moments. The message: it's wrong to kill. The moments come when Number 5 meets '80s culture, particularly TV, movies, and commercialism.
The highlight is when the robot mimics what he takes in around him, imitating John Wayne, The Three Stooges, George Raft, and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. This movie is fun and harmless if viewers can get past the skin-deep characters (and performances), unnecessarily fiery battle sequences, and the lighter-than-air, obligatory romance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the fighting in Short Circuit looks less than real. Why does no one get hurt in all the gunfire?
What makes Number 5 think he's alive? What human feelings does he begin to have?
How does the movie show that Stephanie is a caring person? Why is Ben funny? Do people from India really sound like Ben?
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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.