A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Working with others for the common good, overcoming your differences, putting negative experiences behind you. The movie is very light-hearted but these themes do feature.
Positive Role Models
Dick is hard working but accident prone and clueless. General Rancor is an evil megalomaniac who is determined to take control of the world.
Some ethnic diversity in the cast. Female characters are shown to be strong and talented, but are mostly reduced to supporting roles. A little person and a blind person feature in minor roles with both being played for comic effect. Some Asian stereotypes portrayed when characters fight using martial arts. More than one language spoken. Some cultural appropriation, played for laughs in the form of different undercover disguises. Brief discussion of mental health issues. Character is mocked for a disability.
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Violence & Scariness
Cartoonish violence includes characters getting shot and blown up, and a character's head exploding. Characters fight with machine guns, pistols, explosives, knives, baseball bats, and other improvised weapons. Character's head banged against a car door, no serious injury and played for comic effect. Play-fighting with excessive force, fatal pratfalls. Frequent slapstick violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent innuendo. Characters viewed and appraised based on their physical appearance. Characters discuss sex. Couple appear in bed after sex, one is shirtless and the other is seen in their underwear. Bare legs and backside shown.
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Language used includes "s--t," "piss," "son of a bitch," and "d--k."
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Products & Purchases
The main villain is motivated by greed and world domination. Some high-end social destinations.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol in moderation.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Spy Hard is an action movie parody starring Leslie Nielsen that spoofs classic films and iconic moments in cinema, and has slapstick violence and frequent innuendo. Nelson plays Dick Steele, codename Agent WD-40, who is tasked with stopping megalomaniac General Rancor (Andy Griffith) from destroying the planet. Steele is a bumbling fool often aided by female love interests and colleagues, although they are mostly sidelined. Some of the comedy also plays to damaging stereotypes, such as Asian characters fighting using martial arts and Steele pretending to be different ethnicities for undercover purposes. Though the violence is slapstick, some set pieces involve over-the-top dismemberment and death. But no realistic blood or gore is shown. Along with lots of innuendo, there are a couple of suggested sex scenes, but the camera cuts away before any nudity or intercourse is shown. Alcohol and cigarettes do feature, usually when they are part of a joke. 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 spy parody from 1996 feels very much of its time. Spy Hard's comedic take on the cliches of early Mission: Impossible and James Bond installments do highlight some of the flaws that have since been addressed in later movies of those franchises. Yet it doesn't appear to be self-aware enough to recognize that its own female characters are still under-utilized and sidelined. This, coupled with multiple scenes that parody Sister Act, Home Alone, and Pulp Fiction, which slows its second half, might make it a slightly confusing watch for anyone who hasn't done their 1990s cinematic homework.
Nielsen does a reliable job as agent Dick Steele, burning through pages of throwaway jokes with his famous deadpan delivery. But anyone who's seen his own iconic roles in Airplane!, Police Squad, and the Naked Gun trilogy is unlikely to view this as much more than a career footnote. Two of the movie's writers, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, penned Scary Movie (released the same year) and a succession of forgettable, similar titles. Sometimes it really is best to stick with the classics.
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.