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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Most of the kids shown here stand out for their misbehavior. Wannabe filmmaker and class troublemaker Lee Carter is like Bart Simpson in a lot of ways, right down to living near the nuclear power plant. Will is a deeply religious boy, but also exceedingly gullible and easily led astray (as though that goes hand-in-hand). Ultimately there is an affirmation of friendship and family, but not religious faith; Will's insular Christian sect is cold, male-dominated, and unappealing.
Violence & Scariness
Children beat up on other kids, one time violently, and blood is drawn. Violence, gunfire, and blood in movie clips from Sylvester Stallone pictures. Knockabout stuff as Will does his own dangerous stunts, like falling from trees, being catapulted aloft, and participating in simulated fistfights and ninja battles. A car accident and hospitalization.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some smooching and a school kissing contest is the worst it gets.
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"Bastard," "arse," "piss," "s--t," and the uniquely British obscene idiom "bollocks."
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Products & Purchases
If kids don't know about (R-rated) Rambo movies before this, they certainly will afterwards.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underaged smoking and drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is frequent swearing in this comedy, though one of the strongest curse words is mainly British slang; American viewers might not even know it's obscene. The plot concerns the fascination kids have for hyper-macho screen violence, and to emulate their favorite movies, kids smoke, fight, and endanger their lives in backyard stunts. One of the kids, a boy from an ultra-conservative Christian family (who doesn't seem to find much enjoyment in his faith) delights in hanging out with his misbehaving, movie-mad schoolmates. Compared to routine Hollywood demonizations of fundamentalists, the religious community isn't made into monsters, but they're still not shown positively. Two boys perform the less-than-sanitary "blood brothers" ritual. 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 comedy has a boisterous, high-energy narrative that occasionally morphs into Will's secret daydreams and handmade comics about evil scarecrows and flying dogs. The kids are later able to make these elements "real" in the movie-within-a-movie, showing both a child's joy in exploring filmmaking and imaginary worlds, and a scrawny boy's delight in transforming into a self-sufficient muscleman commando like Rambo.
Still, things get rather hard to follow at times, and a subplot involving a wildly caricatured French exchange student and his sycophants will leave some confused; Is this happening, or is it all in Will's head? While the young actors turn in terrific performances, Will's character seems a little overdone in his childish naivete, and parents in religious households might not like the negative depiction of the latter-day puritans here. Movie puritans, meanwhile, might fume with hellfire and damnation that some of what these boys pull off just wasn't possible with 1980s VHS-tape technology, especially at the ending.
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Our Editors Recommend
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