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Parents' Guide to

The 'Burbs

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Dated slapstick comedy-horror mix is silly but stale.

Movie PG 1989 101 minutes
The 'Burbs Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 13+

Enjoyable but has far too much language and some potentially scary moments for small children

I hadn’t really wanted to see this one for some time because it just looked rather odd, but since it was on Netflix and because I love Tom Hanks I decided to give it a shot. It’s weird to be sure but it’s far from disappointing. I actually found it surprisingly entertaining. It’s nowhere near as good as two other Hanks 80’s comedies Splash and Big but it’s surprisingly enjoyable and funny for what it is. With that being said this was released in the late 80’s when the MPAA put family friendly PG ratings on movies that should be PG-13. This movie doesn’t have some of the same sexual humor and innuendos like Big did but it has a lot more profanity in it and due to its very dark comedy there are a few moments which may frighten very small children. It’s a story about a guy investigating neighbors he thinks are satanists so there’s nothing light here. What makes it work is the creativity of the script and the performances. Some people may dislike that it is entirely set in the suburban neighborhood, but I feel that adds to the strength of the movie. If you are very religious you may find some of the jokes and situations about Satan worship to be offensive. While I have been offended by such things nothing here bothered me because it’s really more about the neighbors finding clues about who lives next door than it is pro Satan worship. Still if you don’t want to subject your kids to that content you may want to have them not watch this until they are a little older. All in all a good Tom Hanks movie that I am happy to see has grown in significant popularity since it’s release. He has done better but this is still a funny movie and if you are enough of a fan of his give it a watch. But I still wouldn’t recommend anyone under 13 see it due to frequent language throughout (no f words but just about everything else) as well as some extremely dark humor that teenagers should be able to handle but small children probably won’t be able to.

This title has:

Too much swearing
age 15+

Great movie but too much swearing!

This movie is really entertaining but it would have been 10x better if they had taken out ALL the swear words.

This title has:

Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7 ):
Kids say (4 ):

With such a strong cast and veteran director (Joe Dante), THE 'BURBS should have been a better movie. The weak link here is the writing. About the best that can be said is that it clips along at a good pace. Sure, there are a few laughs here and there, but the slapstick is too predictable to offer anything genuine. The situation is hackneyed. The events are not credible, and the script doesn't really help suspend your disbelief enough to go along with the goofiness.

Teens likely will enjoy some laughs despite the familiarity of the slapstick tropes. They may also enjoy the outlandish '80s teen fashions. (We really did used to dress that way, kids.) But with so many better choices available from just about everyone involved in this film, your time would be better spent elsewhere.

Movie Details

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