A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Children learn the value of holding onto their fantasies.
The movie's overwhelming messages are that dreams are important and that kids must be allowed to have fantasies and believe in magic and possibility.
Positive Role Models
For most of the movie, Derek is an anti-role model -- always squashing people's dreams, acting surly, and complaining about his bad luck. But by the end, of course, he's redeemed himself and learned the value of truly believing in something and how having dreams can lead to bettering yourself.
Violence & Scariness
Hockey is a violent sport, so on the ice, there are a fair number of falls and tussles -- one resulting in shattered glass and a tooth flying artfully out of a player's mouth. Off the ice, there are many comedic pratfalls and chases. A character mentions she doesn't appreciate physical contact; a male character says that he thinks she really does.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Derek and Carly share a few brief kisses and embraces, and it's implied that it's not uncommon for them to spend the night at each other's homes. Two middle-schoolers flirt innocently. Derek and several of his fellow players are shirtless in a locker-room scene.
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Mostly name-calling and insults like "shut up," "old man," "dang fool," and "emo boy." One "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Like any sports venue, the rink where the Ice Wolves play is plastered with company logos -- in this case, for Dunkin Donuts and Direct TV. Other brands featured include Corvette, Apple (Macs and iPods), BlackBerry, California Pizza Kitchen, ESPN, and the NHL.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fantasy comedy starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is generally age-appropriate for young tweens and up. Like most family comedies featuring action stars, there's some rude language that you won't want your kids repeating (mostly insults like "shut up" and "fool") and violence -- in this case, players slamming into each other during hockey games (in one scene, a player ends up with a missing tooth). Hockey is a violent sport, so on the ice, there are a fair number of falls and tussles -- one resulting in shattered glass and a tooth flying artfully out of a player's mouth. Off the ice, there are many comedic pratfalls and chases. A character mentions she doesn't appreciate physical contact; a male character says that he thinks she really does. The Rock's surly character ultimately transforms into a sweet guy who believes in the power of dreams. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Rock has the powerful body of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the easy charm of Vince Vaughn, with a blindingly white smile that's hard to ignore. That's not a bad combination for a comedy, but it's gangly, bug-eyed British comedian Merchant (Ricky Gervais' creative partner in crime) who steals the show in this sugar-sweet kids' fantasy. It's not that the movie is completely awful, but it is awfully derivative and absolutely nothing parents haven't seen before. But with his dry wit and hilarious body language, Merchant at least livens up some of the bland jokes and predictable sight gags. The Rock looks comfortable enough, but there's just not much to his character that isn't summed up in the trailer.
It's always good to see Andrews in any capacity, and it's an even bigger treat to see Billy Crystal, who somehow came out of live-action semi-retirement to play the fairy in charge of gadgets. It's unclear why he chose this particular movie to grace with an uncredited performance, but his Jerry the Fairy is, along with Merchant's Tracy, one of the best reasons to see what's otherwise a so-so movie with a lovely but obvious message about children -- and adults -- needing to have dreams.
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.