Tommy and the Cool Mule
By Tracy Moore,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Feel-good talking mule movie deals with parental loss.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Tommy and the Cool Mule offers positive messages about doing one's duty, and that money does not make the person.
Positive Role Models
Many adult characters are present, honest, and fair. Some of the teenagers are kind-hearted and care about doing the right thing. Others seem easily swayed by persuasive bad seeds, but try to do the right thing in the face of enormous peer pressure.
Violence & Scariness
There are some mischief-related and slapstick injuries. In one scene, a woman slams a door in a man's face, hitting his head. In another, a game of paintball knocks loose a two by four in an old barn that slams down on a teenager's head.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man and woman briefly kiss and embrace. A teenage boy and girl kiss.
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There's no profanity, but plenty of clever teenage insults of the "punk," "bottomfeeder," "slug," and "lizard face" variety.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Two women sip margaritas at a pool party.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the premise of Tommy and the Cool Mule involves parental loss. The main character, a teenage boy, has lost his father in military combat. His death is not shown in the film but is referred to and reflected on, and the loss of his income drives many of the family's choices. The film also features budding romance between teenagers and adults, and isn't afraid of a flatulence gag or four. There's also some name-calling and mischief-related injuries.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Tommy (Grant Barker) has just lost his father, and now his family has to sell their beloved horses to get by. But when he makes a friend in a talking mule, Jackie-A (voiced by Ice-T), he may have a chance at winning a stock competition and a cash prize that will keep their house out of the hands of a scheming local realtor (Kevin Sorbo). But can he fend off the no-good competition that's busy hatching schemes to keep him out of the running?
Is It Any Good?
TOMMY AND THE COOL MULE has a down-home, simple vibe to it, with kids and parents played by actors who, for the most part, look kid-like and not actor-like. But more importantly, in spite of a premise that involves a head injury and a talking mule, it depicts adolescent concerns and the pressures teens face in a fairly believable and age-appropriate manner. Though it's mostly a boy-centric movie, it shows girls who ride horses well and a sibling who mostly tries to get along with his sister, all with none of the typically underhanded messages about what boys or girls can (or can't) do.
Kids will enjoy the horse-wrangling, conversing, and the realistic portrayals of peer pressure. And parents will appreciate the low-key, but realistic, resolution. It isn't anything groundbreaking, but overall, the movie has a good heart, where no one is ridiculously evil, or cartoonishly pure, and everything turns out just fine.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about peer pressure. Have you ever been pressured to do something by a friend you didn't want to do? How did you handle it? What happened as a result?
Go online to talk about the ways military families cope with the absence, or sometimes loss, of a parent due to military service.
- On DVD or streaming: May 26, 2009
- Cast: Andrew Stevens, Grant Barker, Ice-T, Kevin Sorbo
- Director: Andrew Stevens
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Screen Media Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG for some rude language
- Last updated: December 7, 2022
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