[Screen It]


(1996) (Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Pollack) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild None Moderate Minor *Minor
Moderate None None None Mild
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor Mild Heavy Mild Mild

Comedy: A group of teenagers, worried about their parents behavior, lock them in a basement until they decide to get along with each other.
Middle class suburban parents Janet (JAMIE LEE CURTIS) and Ned (KEVIN POLLAK) Beindorf have had enough of each other. So on their anniversary, they decide to tell their kids Grover (KYLE HOWARD) and Stacy (AMY SAKASITZ) that they're getting separated. The kids try to get the parents back together again, but when that fails, they decide to lock them in the basement. They state they'll keep them there until Janet and Ned put aside their differences. Once some school kids, including Grover's friend Matt (MOOKY ARIZONA), TJ (RUSSELL HARPER) the school bully, and Brook (JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT), the pretty girl Grover likes, hear about this they decide to kidnap their parents and bring them over to the Beindorf prisoner camp. From then on, the kids try to keep their kidnaping a secret from the outside world while performing group therapy on their parents who attempt to escape while they aren't bonding and learning how to get along.
Probably. The commercials make it look like a "Home Alone" type movie, but it isn't.
For thematic material and language.
  • Other than TJ's father (the nasty lawyer), nobody is really a good or bad role model. Everyone, including JAMIE LEE CURTIS , KEVIN POLLAK and KYLE HOWARD, is just sort of there, doing their thing until the movie ends. Although the kids kidnap their parents, they have good intentions of keeping their families together.


    OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
    I can imagine the scene in some Hollywood hotspot. Some writer, producer or someone wanting to make the big, fast buck says, "Let's do a movie that's like "Home Alone," but with a twist. The kids will rule the house while the parents are locked in the basement. It'll be great!" Well, it isn't. It's boring. It's repetitive. And it isn't funny. It makes you wish that all involved in this production had been locked in the basement while they were shooting this fiasco. Don't go. You'll be bored silly and will wish that someone had locked you in the basement before you went to see this. It gets just a 2 out of 10.
    Beyond the fact that this is a bad film, your kids will be bored to tears by it. It's missing the fun that "Home Alone" had that kids loved. The children at our screening were getting very restless simply because the movie isn't funny and it focuses way too much attention on the parents' angst over being stuck in the basement and the general condition of their lives. Other than that, the film focuses on divorce and fighting parents, so if your kids are sensitive about that, they won't like seeing it on the screen. There's a little bit of profanity, one fight scene and a scene where one parent grabs Grover and throws him onto the hood of a car. As always, don't forget to read through the listings before deciding if this movie is appropriate for you and your kids.

  • A video of Grover's parents on their honeymoon shows them with a bottle of champagne.
  • TJ brings out that bottle and all of the kids have a taste. Of course it's gross to them and they all spit it out.
  • The champagne bottle eventually ends up in the basement where the parents then have drinks from it.
  • Bewildered by the turn of events, Ned asks the kids, "Are you on drugs?" To which Grover replies, "Yeah, I'm on heroin and Stacy's on crack."
  • When a nosey neighbor asks police what they found at the house, they reply, "Oh the usual. Sex. Drugs. Twister (the game the kids were playing)."
  • None.
  • TJ and other school bullies generally harass Grover and Matt in school. They knock books from Grover's hands and TJ pushes Grover up against a wall and then trips him so that he lands in a trash can.
  • The kids (all of them) lock their parents in the basement and later tell them they'll stop feeding them and will cut off the water if the parents don't make any progress in getting along with each other.
  • The other kids party in Grover's house and knock over and break things, have food fights and generally make a mess of the place.
  • TJ's father isn't nice to anyone and is condescending to his wife.
  • TJ's father grabs his chest in pain and falls to the floor. Everyone panics, but it turns out he's just faking it in an attempt to escape from the basement.
  • Janet crawls up through the cobweb-filled laundry shoot and several rats show up and crawl down her back. Moments later, she slips and slides down the chute, screaming the whole way down (but is unhurt).
  • TJ's boa constrictor slithers its way up alongside a sleeping Grover.
  • The police arrive and have their guns drawn (but don't use them).
  • Phrases: "Sucks," "Shut up," "Geek," "Losers," "Turd," "Shut up," "Wuss," "Snot nosed," "Old fart," and "Pissed."
  • Some kids shoot off a model rocket inside the house.
  • The kids lock their parents in the basement and then nail the door shut. Little Stacy uses a big, high powered nail gun to do the trick.
  • The other kids have a food fight in Grover's house.
  • The kids make a messy concoction of chocolate syrup, peanut butter and marshmallows that they then use a mixer on which throws the goo everywhere. Soon they're spreading it all over themselves and each other.
  • Grover drinks straight from a milk carton and then puts it back in the fridge.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • 1 "s" word, 2 "ass" words, 1 crap, 1 damn, and 5 uses of "Oh my God," 2 uses each of "Swear to God" and "My God," and 1 use each of "Oh God," "God forsaken," "God," and "For God's sake" as exclamations.
  • Matt focuses on a girl's breasts with his video camera in the cafeteria.
  • Stacy asks her parents if their having affairs (as the reason for separating). Janet tells her they aren't.
  • One of the fathers mentions that he gets "standing ovations in bed."
  • When a nosey neighbor asks police what they found at the house, they reply, "Oh the usual. Sex. Drugs. Twister (the game the kids were playing)."
  • In home movies, Ned is seen with an unlit cigar in his mouth after Grover is born.
  • Matt's mom is seen occasionally smoking and craves a cigarette after she's locked up in the basement without any.
  • TJ, trying to look debonair, walks out with an unlit pipe in his mouth.
  • Brook's mother smokes a cigarette.
  • The movie focuses on the parents not getting along. At the beginning they vehemently argue in front of the kids, and once locked in the basement they continue. Of course this upsets the kids. The parents drop the bomb on the kids that they're separating, but not divorcing. The kids don't believe that and lock them in the basement, as do the other kids who are concerned about how their parents are acting. Grover's hopes grow as his parents seem to be working things out, but divorce papers delivered by Janet's lawyer set everything back. Ned can't believe that she's done that and they don't speak anymore. Of course at the end, everything comes out fine, but in the meantime, there is a lot of family bickering and instability.
  • Divorce.
  • Locking people in any room against their will.
  • TJ pushes Grover up against a wall while bullying him.
  • Ned and Janet try breaking the windows in the basement to escape, but they find that the window wells have been cemented shut.
  • TJ has created a shocking apparatus powered by two car batteries that he uses to threaten the parents (to keep them from attempting an escape). He demonstrates its power by blowing a tomato apart just by touching it with two prongs.
  • One parent mentions an article he read about people being stuck in a basement and when the authorities found them, they were all hanged.
  • The other kids, partying in Grover's house, absentmindedly knock things over.
  • As tensions increase, Ned and TJ's father exchange words and then punches. Ned punches him twice in the stomach and gets a fist to the face in return. They then wrestle around the room, knocking over a table and smashing it to the floor.
  • TJ's mother slams a piece of cake into his father's face.
  • Grover, upset that a lawyer has just delivered divorce papers to the house, knocks things over in the living room.
  • Two cops are yanked up into the trees in nets after they trip wires placed in the yard by TJ. Later, a nosey neighbor is yanked up into one himself.
  • TJ's father, once freed from the basement, grabs Grover and throws him onto the hood of a police car. The police have to pull him away.

  • Reviewed August 14, 1996

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