The Poof Point

Movie review by
Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
The Poof Point Movie Poster Image
Lethargic family comedy promotes math, science, and empathy.
  • NR
  • 2001
  • 89 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Stands out for positive messages.

Educational Value

The movie celebrates science. Characters need to solve an equation to save the day.

Positive Messages

The movie teaches empathy and communication. Listening to and understanding others can bring people closer. Family is also an important theme.

Positive Role Models

Scientists Norton and Marigold follow many stereotypes, including an obsession with their work and an inability to fit in or to communicate on a non-academic level. They put their work before their children, Marie and Eddie, and don't spend much time with them. Similarly, Marie and Eddie are preoccupied with being cool and constantly embarrassed when their parents stand out. The characters' good points emerge during the film, such as the parents' confidence in being themselves and creating an innovative home environment, and the children's caring nature and resourcefulness.

Violence & Scariness

Characters are in danger of disappearing from existence. Explosions in the science lab shake neighboring houses, but nobody is hurt. A character's hat is set on fire, but no injury is seen. A parent is slightly verbally abusive to the family's pet dog.

Sexy Stuff

Parents flirt, hug, and kiss. There is mention of going steady and crushes.

Language

Occasional language such as "heck" and derogatory terms such as "busybody" are used.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Poof Point is a Disney TV movie family comedy about scientist parents who spend more time in the lab than with their teenage children. The intense, socially awkward behavior of parents Norton (Mark Curry) and Marigold Ballard (Dawnn Lewis) relies heavily on stereotypes, as does the exacerbated, eye-rolling of teenage children Eddie (Tahj Mowry) and Marie (Raquel Lee). There is no strong language, violence, or references to drinking, drugs, or smoking, and sexual references are kept to tame kisses and hugs between parents and passing mention of crushes. The science lab is colorful and inventive, and math is involved in saving the day, potentially helping to make the subjects exciting for younger children. At its core, the movie is about the parents and children swapping roles, in turn remembering the importance of fun and understanding responsibility, making it easier for them to bond as a family.

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What's the story?

In THE POOF POINT, Norton (Mark Curry) and Marigold Ballard (Dawnn Lewis) are developing a time-travel machine in their basement science lab. But when their dog, Einstein, steals a vital part just as they're conducting a test, they soon find themselves aging backwards and it is only a matter of time (less than 24 hours) before they'll hit "poof point" and cease to exist. As they get younger and younger and gradually lose their scientific knowledge, it is up to their teenage children, Eddie (Tahj Mowry) and Marie (Raquel Lee), to remember everything their parents taught them, along with a touch of their own math and science knowledge, to recalculate the algorithm, find the missing part, and save their parents from going "poof."

Is it any good?

Disney's The Poof Point is colorful, energetic, and chaotic… but lacks any real urgency until the final scene. Younger children will enjoy the sheer silliness of the parents gradually getting younger -- playing seven-year-olds and toddlers from within their 40-year-old bodies. But elsewhere the acting isn't always convincing, making the pace seem slower than the movie's 89 minutes should allow. Turn-to-camera interludes only serve to make it feel more disjointed and provide another example of the acting not quite hitting the mark.

There are very few levels beyond the immediate physicality of what is happening in any given scene, so older children and adults may struggle to stick with a plot line that deviates very little from the generic and predictable. However, it does serve to make science and math appear fun and encourages understanding between parents and children, making it an easy watch with some educational value that will keep younger viewers amused.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the family dynamic in The Poof Point. How does the relationship between the parents and children change during the movie? What do you think they learn from each other? Can you think of any examples of what you've learned from your parents, and what they in turn might have learned from you?

  • Discuss the characters of Norton and Marigold. How might they be described as stereotypes or caricatures of scientists? Why do we have to be careful of stereotyping people?

  • How are math and science represented in the movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science

Themes & Topics

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