A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The underlying message is to follow Big Z's motto: "Never give up ... find a way."
Positive Role Models
Cody's determination gets him the chance of a lifetime.
Violence & Scariness
Slightly disturbing images include a photo of Cody's dad about to be eaten by a shark and footage of the Z's wipeout wave when he supposedly died. Tank punches Cody.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Cody flirts with and hugs Lani. Female penguins follow Tank, who, in turn, has an unusual, almost sexualized relationship with his surfing trophies (he even hugs and kisses them). His mother yells "Are you polishing your trophies again?" and in one scene, a penguin's genitals are "blurred out."
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Mild PG words and insults: "crap," "butt," "sucks," "shut up," "go cut yourself," "you're a trash can full of poop," etc. There are also a few fart jokes.
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Products & Purchases
Surfing commentators Kelly (Slater) and Rob (Machado) are real professional surfers.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Surf's Up is an animated comedy that was heavily marketed to kids, and those who liked Happy Feet will be particularly interested in seeing it. Although there's not much violence, there are a few mildly perilous scenes during the surfing competition and in old photos/footage. And (big surprise for an animated story) the main character has a dead parent -- in this case, a father who was eaten by a shark. There's some unfortunate potty talk (which parents might want to manage at home), a harmless flirtation between two penguins, and a surfing champ's bizarre attachment to his trophies, which he refers to as his "girls." 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 is a fresh take on an otherwise overexposed animal. Penguins have been all the cinematic rage since the Academy Award-winning documentary March of the Penguins became a surprise summer blockbuster in 2005. Next came 2006's coming-of-age musical -- and fellow Oscar winner -- Happy Feet. Surf's Up doesn't surpass the award-winning caliber of previous penguin films, but it does feature a cool soundtrack of surfer tunes, impressive oceanic action visuals, and a cast of droll characters.
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.