Talent-swapping basketball tale is bland but OK for kids.
  • Review Date: August 24, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids who don't know much about basketball might learn some of the sport's terminology and plays.

Positive messages

The overall message is that talent should be cultivated and not taken advantage of -- but it's also not something to use as an excuse to treat others differently.

Positive role models

Kevin Durant is a humble and hardworking player, even when his talent appears to have run out. He refuses to blame others and just practices harder. Brian is willing to trade his talent back, even though it can mean losing an important game and his popularity.

Violence & scariness

Some comic pratfalls when Brian first attempts to dunk (he comically hurts himself in the crotch) and other basketball stunts.

Sexy stuff

Mentions that a girl is hot; Brian has a crush on the new girl in school.


Language includes "jackhole," "hell," "crap," "damn," "pissed," "oh my God," and one exclamation of "Jesus"!


The Oklahoma City Thunder gets a huge spotlight, since that's the NBA team that Kevin Durant plays for off-screen. Nike is also heavily featured, since Durant shoots a sneaker commercial during the movie. Other brands include BMW and YouTube. ESPN and TNT are also shown, with stars Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kenny Smith.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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?


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. Bottom line? The movie feels thrown together, but young basketball fans might be so excited to see Brian try out his new Durant-sized moves (not to mention the NBA star himself) to care.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why body-swapping stories are so popular in movies. How does this one compare to others like Freaky Friday and Vice Versa?

  • 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 31, 2012
DVD release date: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

This review of Thunderstruck was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 7 years old November 25, 2012

Best movie ever!

BEST MOVIE EVER! If you like basketball it is a good choice!
Teen, 14 years old Written byeazy__breezy January 25, 2015

Good moive

Its a cool movie, even if its predictable and all that. It has some very mild cursing, but nothing else parents would find inappropriate.
Parent Written byridersr1 September 9, 2013

Good Family Movie

We watched this movie with our 11 and 7 year old daughters. It was a good clean family movie!


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