A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tom & Jerry is based on the classic Tom and Jerry franchise that constantly (and violently) pits a cartoon mouse and cat against each other. This Manhattan-set adventure -- a mix of computer-generated animation and live-action comedy -- has Jerry Mouse crossing paths with his rival Tom Cat while looking for a place to live. But the main storyline focuses on Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young woman who talks her way into a job at a posh hotel just before the wedding of the year. When Tom and Jerry take their antics to the hotel, chaos ensues. As in all Tom and Jerry outings, you can expect a lot of slapstick cartoon violence, with an added kick here because it's depicted against a live-action backdrop. There are tons of physical comedy sight gags, like characters (mostly Tom) getting electrocuted, hit by lightning, and then electrocuted again, or falling from telephone wires or high-rise windows, or smashing into any conceivable door, roof, window, etc. Tom is even hit by a car. Potty humor is also in the mix, courtesy of Spike the dog (he literally does his business, loudly, in a scene that shows everything but the actual poop). Language includes some insults and a couple of utterances of "my God," characters (both human and animal) are shown sampling drinks, and there's mild romance: Tom falls for a female cat, characters flirt, and a couple shares a wedding-day hug and kiss.
- Parents say
- Kids say
When Tom and Jerry are doing their thing the film shines for a few moments but otherwise everything else is flat, dull, boring, not funny, and very underwhelming
What's the story?
In TOM & JERRY -- which is live action except for all of the animals, who are animated (think Roger Rabbit) -- Jerry Mouse bumps into Tom Cat, who dreams of making it big as a pianist, while looking for housing in Manhattan. Jerry causes Tom's piano to break, and from then on it's war ... until Jerry sneaks into the fancy Royal Palace Hotel and takes up residence. Meanwhile, Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz), who lost a job due to a run-in with Tom and Jerry, talks her way into a new gig at the Royal Palace on the events planning team, which is led by the stuffy Terence (Michael Peña). The hotel is hosting the wedding of socialite couple Preeta (Pallavi Sharda) and Ben (Colin Jost), so when Jerry is spotted, Kayla enlists Tom's help to capture the clever little mouse.
Is it any good?
The latest reboot of this decades-old franchise is neither clever enough to win over new fans nor nostalgic enough to engage the generations raised on the cat-and-mouse shenanigans. While only some of the straight-to-DVD Tom and Jerry cartoons have been better than decent, at least they center on the title characters, even when they're thrown into existing storylines like Robin Hood, The Wizard of Oz, or a big Sherlock Holmes or fairytale crossover. Here, however, Tom and Jerry are secondary characters -- and, what's worse, the main plot isn't especially entertaining, particularly for kids who aren't going to care about a millennial who's trying to keep her day job or a society couple's over-the-top wedding.
There's no doubt that younger kids may still enjoy the physical (if violent) shenanigans at the heart of the action, although it's possible some may feel slightly unsettled by seeing animals repeatedly hurting each other in a realistic, live-action environment. It's just not quite as funny as it is in a purely cartoon world. Despite the presence of well-known actors like Moretz, Peńa, and Jost, as well as Rob Delaney and Ken Jeong, Tom & Jerry's screenplay is flat and in no way shows off the cast's comedic talent. Just because kids will laugh at the chase scenes and poop jokes doesn't make the movie worthy of a family-night selection. Not that anyone was clamoring for it, but fans of this iconic duo deserve a reboot that's worth their time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Tom & Jerry. Does the fact that everything is live-action except the animals affect the impact or portrayal of the violence?
Who, if anyone, do you think exemplifies positive character strengths? Which character strengths are highlighted in the movie?
Why do you think Tom and Jerry cartoons and movies continue to be made after so many years? How do you think the characters and their stories have aged with the times?
What other Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters would you like to see make a comeback?
- In theaters: February 26, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: February 26, 2021
- Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Michael Pena, Rob Delaney
- Director: Tim Story
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: cartoon violence, rude humor and brief language
- Last updated: May 19, 2021
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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.
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