A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Thunderstruck, a family-targeted sports comedy about two people who swap basketball talents, follows a pretty cliched formula. But there's nothing too worrisome, content-wise, aside from occasional mild language ("hell," "damn," "crap," "pissed") and a good bit of commercialism when it comes to the NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Nike. Young kids who love basketball -- and particularly star player Kevin Durant -- will learn a bit about the game and the player.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Oklahoma City teen Brian (Taylor Gray) loves basketball and idolizes Thunder star Kevin Durant. Problem is, Brian isn't all that good -- he's only the equipment manager of his high school's varsity team. When Brian attends a Thunder game, he even botches the halftime free-throw contest. But as a consolation, he gets a signed ball from Durant -- and in the moment they both touch the basketball, they somehow magically exchange talent. Following the incident, KD goes from all-star to worst player in the NBA, while Brian joins the team, led by clueless Coach Amross (James Belushi), and takes it all the way to regional championships. But unless the two can figure out how to undo their transfer of talent, Durant will be doomed.
Is it any good?
The movie feels thrown together, but young basketball fans might be too excited to see Brian try out his new Durant-sized moves (not to mention the NBA star himself) to care. There's no question that Durant is an amazing basketball player. And he's not just a gifted athlete but a humble one at that. While his humility makes him a fascinating player off camera (he'd make an interesting documentary subject), he lacks the larger-than-life charisma of NBA alums like Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley, and the late Bubba Smith. This is a fact that O'Neal and Barkley make clear in their brief cameos as Inside NBA commentators.
But THUNDERSTRUCK isn't a dud just because of Durant's subdued demeanor and inability to command a presence off the court. Brian is similarly underwhelming. Naturally the character couldn't have been dizzingly handsome, or his status as high-school nerd wouldn't have been believed. But that doesn't mean he couldn't have been sweet and charming; unfortunately, in Gray's hands, Brian never really sells his character's transformation.
Talk to your kids about ...
What does Isabel mean about the basketball changing Brian? How does he begin to act differently at school?
Is Kevin Durant a good actor here? Do you think he could play someone other than himself? Can you think of other athletes who've become actors?
- In theaters: August 31, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: December 4, 2012
- Cast: James Belushi, Kevin Durant, Taylor Gray
- Director: John Whitesell
- Studio: Warner Premiere
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild language and rude humor
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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.