A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Team Marco is a family-friendly drama with comedy elements about 12-year-old Marco and his grandfather Nonno. Marco looks forward to reaching level 100 in a video game during summer, but his grandfather wants him to put down the iPad and electronics, get outside, and play some bocce, the "world's oldest game." A sweet but predictable story with some stereotypical characters encourages more time with loved ones and family and friends, face to face. Strong themes of family, togetherness, and gratitude. Some minor moments of danger (riding on a scooter with no seatbelt or eating foods that you might be allergic to). Marco's absent father inappropriately sends an iPad chat picture of his new girlfriend to Marco. Lots of product tie-ins and brands written directly into the dialogue include Apple products, iPads, Google Home Assistant, Xbox, and Facebook. Language includes "asses," "d--k," and "Jesus Christ."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In TEAM MARCO, 12-year-old Marco (Owen Vaccaro) must spend his summer watching over his grandfather Nonno (Anthony Patellis) because he recently burned down his house by accident. All Marco wants to do is stay inside all summer and play video games, iPad, and his VR headset. Nonno wants to get Marco outside to teach him how to play bocce. But Marco's father (Louis Cancelmi) told Marco that if he reached level 100 in a certain video game, he could go to a game convention later in the summer. His mother (Anastasia Ganias-Gellin) doesn't appreciate Marco's father and struggles with his poor behavior, new girlfriend, and lack of desire to be more a part of Marco's life. Will Marco leave the electronic toys alone and head out into the sun or stay inside and grind levels? Will the beauty of bocce bring together the family?
Is it any good?
This family-friendly drama is charming and has some heartfelt moments. While the central message of too much technology can be sometimes overbearing and monolithic, Team Marco remains appealing because of its spirited performances, strong relationships, and themes of gratitude, family, and learning what's really important in life. Technologically-engaged kids will enjoy and greatly relate to Marco and his underused friends, who all enjoy electronics, gadgets, and the next hot new thing. There are some minor moments of danger that shouldn't be encouraged, like riding in a vehicle with no seatbelt or eating foods that you might be allergic to, but these scenes are meant for comedic relief as Nonno tries to get Marco to loosen up.
Some stereotyping, however, brings the film down a bit. There isn't anything surprising about the depiction of Nonno as an older adult, as he's expectedly confused by modern technologies (new coffee makers, iPads, video games) and scoffs at other modern conventions of younger people, (social media, music). Racially diverse characters are few and limited to very small nonspeaking roles, and Marco's mother, Anna, doesn't get to do anything except be an aggrieved single mother who still cares who her ex-husband dates. Beyond fretting over him and getting Marco to clean his room and spend time with Nonno, Anna has no depth or role beyond that.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Team Marco portrays the dangers of technology, too much screen time, and video games. How might a kid have a healthy balance of both playing outside and technology in their life?
Was Nonno right to take away Marco's gadgets and screens and devices? If yes, why? If no, what would have been a better alternative?
How might this story look different if Marco was the one into bocce and Nonno was the one into electronics and technology?
Would the film have been better if the roles of Marco's mother and father were reversed? Why or why not?
After watching this movie, would you like to play bocce? Where could you learn more about the game?
- On DVD or streaming: November 20, 2020
- Cast: Owen Vaccaro, Anthony Patellis, Anastasia Ganias-Gellin, Jacob Laval
- Director: Julio Vincent Gambuto
- Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, Middle School
- Character strengths: Gratitude
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 21, 2021
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