Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to

The Air Up There

By Randy White, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Offensive, shop-worn comedy.

Movie PG 1994 108 minutes
The Air Up There Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 6+

Grew up watching this as a missionary kid

This is a fun, feel good, family friendly comedy set in Africa. My parents lived in Africa, we are friends with Africans. This movie captures the warm humor, community, values, and culture of the African people. It shows the growth of our main character from being a selfish competitive man to a selfless friend who embraced the culture of the people. I am 25 and watched this when I was 5 years old and I have loved it since.
age 8+
This movie isn't really worth watching. Offensive and not very well made.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The air up there must be pretty thin stuff, because whoever thought up this offensive comedy was surely lacking oxygen. The story strains all credulity. Even audiences of a lightweight comedy will balk at the idea that an African tribe would risk everything on a basketball game. The bulk of the movie's humor is of the juvenile or gross-out variety. While Bacon is not given much to work with, he doesn't even deliver on the basics. He is an unconvincing dribbler and his comic timing is weak. This actor has done much better work just about everywhere else.

Given the racial stereotyping, the moralizing tone of the movie is outrageous. Bacon's J.D. learns the typical Hollywood lesson about overcoming pride and figuring out that there are more important things in life than winning. Of course, then J.D. goes out and wins the big game. A 12-year-old girl was extremely unimpressed. Granted, she's probably not the movie's target audience, but her derisive laughter throughout said it all: How dumb do moviemakers think kids are?

Movie Details

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.

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