The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Sesame Street fans will love this sweet movie.
  • G
  • 1999
  • 73 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 31 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 29 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Most of the movie's lessons have to do with communication, determination, and friendship. When Elmo loses his blankie, he needs to use a set of skills that will help him get it back. He has to communicate his needs, he has to co-operate with grouches, and he has to follow directions to help him find Huxley's castle.

Positive Messages

As per usual, the friends on Sesame Street come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, and everyone pretty much gets along (except for the grouchy characters in Grouchland, of course).

Positive Role Models

Elmo's friends -- both adults and younger folks, human and monster -- come to Elmo's aid when he's in a bind. Everyone works together to help solve problems. The Grouchland characters throw manners out the window, but they're clearly in the wrong.

Violence & Scariness

Some perilous moments -- like a rollerblading scene and falling down a tunnel -- that might put little ones on the edge of their seat. The villain, Huxley, is a selfish meanie who sends Elmo into a dark tunnel after stealing his blankie. But Elmo asks his friends in the audience for help and escapes the dark place.

Sexy Stuff

The Queen of Trash is a curvaceous, sensual woman. Huxley is shown in his boxer shorts and an undershirt.


Grouches aren't models of friendly language. Part of their "charm" is saying "scram," "yuck," and "go away!"


Elmo has lots of toys in his room, including some Fisher Price classics and a poster of Tiger Woods. Huxley sings a song about things that he wants to take from other people in which he names brands like Atari and Ferrari. There's a reference to Starbucks, though it's called "Tarbucks."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that everything is topsy turvy when Elmo ventures into Grouchland, so a certain understanding of what is (and isn't) acceptable behavior is needed to get the humor fully -- hearing the pleasure with which the Grouches tell each other to get lost is funny only if you know it's not really OK. There are a few mildly perilous/tense moments that could upset sensitive or very young viewers, and some kids may be concerned that Elmo doesn't seem to have any parents and could need some reassurance.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymonkeymo June 18, 2011

Agh....too scary for my 3.5 year old.

I wish I had read the parents recommendations on this one rather than just commonsensemedia's review as my 3.5 year old was really upset by this movie. She... Continue reading
Parent of a 2-year-old Written byddaisydee76 December 28, 2010

Dancing blanket too scarey for my little one.

This was too scarey for my two year old. We only got through 5 minutes. The opening scene has Elmo dancing with and dancing blanket. This freaked out my daug... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBlue-Bunny January 30, 2011

Great family movie...

Wow! I'm really impressed. Ordered this through Netflix, and it really had me entertained! It really isn't that scary. The villain is not scary, eithe... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byNotRealPerson September 11, 2021

Not for kids!!!

This movie is a timeless classic but it is not for young audiences . First of all the graphic male and female nudity is very overwhelming at times . And the con... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this Sesame Street adventure, Elmo's favorite friend, his beloved blanket, is tossed into Oscar's trash can. Elmo (Kevin Clash) goes in after it, only to find himself transported to Grouchland, where grouches cut off the flowers and keep the stems and you get put in jail if you ask for help. The Sesame Street characters all go to Grouchland to try to find Elmo, but by then Elmo is on his way to get his blanket back from mean Mr. Huxley (Mandy Patinkin), who takes everything he sees and has a big machine to stamp "MINE" on everything he takes.

Is it any good?

Sesame Street fans will love THE ADVENTURES OF ELMO IN GROUCHLAND, which has all of the wonderful Sesame Street trademarks. There are subtle puns for parents, delightful silliness for kids, and gentle lessons about cooperation, loyalty, sharing, and believing in yourself for everyone, all told with their characteristic warmth, good humor, and kindness. Even Oscar the Grouch (Carroll Spinney) admits that Elmo is his friend. And during the few moments of mild tension, Ernie and Bert appear to reassure kids that everything is all right.

Patinkin and Vanessa Williams (as the Trash Queen) provide some star power, but the real stars are the Muppets and the audience -- who are invited to participate in the movie at crucial moments.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their own "special" toys and other transition objects. Why is it sometimes hard to share?

  • What do the characters learn during the movie? What makes a Grouch a Grouch? (It can be a lot of fun to spend a couple of hours pretending the whole family is in Grouchland!)

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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