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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Potential messages about being too quick to judge others or about taking a good look at yourself before accusing others are erased in the end when the truth about the mysterious neighbors is revealed.
Positive Role Models
Carol Peterson models concern, using common sense, and tackling problems head-on. Ray, Art, and Rumsfield all model letting their imaginations run away with them and taking matters to the extreme. Teen neighbor Ricky is home alone, has a party, and is seen drinking beer.
Violence & Scariness
A hopeful mention of finding someone's head cracked open. On a television, part of a slasher movie briefly shown; screaming and chainsaw sound effects are heard. Television also briefly shows what looks like the vomit scene from The Exorcist. A dream sequence shows a spooky satanic cult, a man with an ax in his head, and bloody clothing. A bloody hand is seen, with the "blood" later said to be paint. A car trunk full of skeletons, with closeups of skulls. A large explosion sets an entire house on fire. A gun accidentally discharges and is fired at birds.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple kisses twice on the lips and once on the cheek. A teen boy compliments a scantily clad woman's lack of tan lines.
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"Goddamn," "dump," "bastard," "ass," "crap," "hell," "bulls--t," "p---y-whipped," "Jesus Christ," "s--t," "poop," and "piss off." Name-calling includes "weenie." One man refers to women he knows as a "broad" and a "chick." Dog feces shown.
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Products & Purchases
Jeopardy heard on TV, and main characters play along. Tide, Post Toasties, Barnum's animal crackers, McDonald's Quarter Pounder.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke cigars. Adults drink beer a few times; a teen drinks beer once or twice.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The 'Burbs is a slapstick comedy with some light horror but no real gore. It's about men who suspect that their neighbors are serial killers. Blood's seen once on clothing and is smeared during a handshake; many skeletons are shown in the trunk of a car. Strong language is not frequent, but one character says "goddamn" half a dozen times, and there are curse words such as "p---y-whipped" and "s--t." A teen staying home alone has a party and drinks beer. Adults drink beer and smoke cigars. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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.