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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This film explores the idea that it doesn't matter who you are on the outside -- it's who you are on the inside that counts most.
Positive Role Models
While the characters don't veer very far from the simplest of archetypes -- prince, butler, skateboarding Californian teenager -- Cash's father is a single parent doing the best he can to provide a good home for his son.
Violence & Scariness
Some bullying from a rich man who drives a sports car and doesn't like Cash and his skateboarding friends. When Cash and the Prince switch places, this bully shoves the Prince to the ground, causing the Prince to knock his head into a garbage can. The antagonist is hit in the groin area with a golf putter.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen kissing and innocent flirtation.
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In the main song played in the movie three times, the phrase "retard dance" is in the lyrics. After the antagonist is knocked down after being hit in the groin with a golf putter, a double entendre is made about golf balls. The word "ass" is used once.
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Products & Purchases
Early in the movie, a father and son are sitting down to breakfast. The son drinks from a large soda in which White Castle is prominently featured on the cup. The father drinks from a White Castle coffee mug that is conveniently turned away from him so the logo is easier for the audience to see.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The antagonist is seen smoking a cigar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Prince and the Surfer is a 1999 modern-day retelling of Mark Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper." Less than two minutes after the actor Jon Voight introduces the film as part of a wholesome, family-oriented attempt to update Mark Twain's stories for modern audiences, the movie's theme song -- played three times during the movie -- talks of how a girl doesn't like the singer's "retard dance." Aside from this, there is some brief violence -- a rich bully has it out for "the surfer," and there's some pushing and shoving between characters. The antagonist of the movie is hit in the groin with a golf putter -- which leads to a double entendre involving golf balls. Also, for the record, aside from a father telling his son about the days when he used to surf, there is very little in the way of actual surfing, as the teens in the movie are always on or near skateboards. Finally, part of their attempt at "modernizing" Twain's novel here is by substituting Twain's narrative voice for the voiceover of a narrator attempting a very stereotypical "Californian" voice peppered with "dude," "totally," etc. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Lacking the barbed wit of Mark Twain, this movie feels less like the modernization of a classic, and more like just another tepid Hollywood "character switcheroo" movie. As an attempt to modernize Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper," THE PRINCE AND THE SURFER fails at making the story any more accessible for families than if they had simply stuck to the original time, setting, and characters, and not only because "The Surfer" referenced in the title is actually more of a skateboarder. Early in the film, the voiceover of the narrator is delivered in the most stereotypical of Southern Californian accents and slang. Had this actually been funny, it would have been tolerable, but it's really just a sign of the flat humor and predictable action scenes to come.
The actors make the best of what they've been given -- among them, Robert Englund as the wicked minister, Jennifer O'Neill as the Queen, and Vincent Schiavelli as the butler -- but there's simply too much hackneyed character interaction and excruciating attempts at humor to overcome.
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.