[Screen It]


(1996) (Jerry O'Connell, Lots of Roaches) (PG-13)

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

Comedy: A new resident must contend with the thousands of talking cockroaches that live in his apartment.
Joe (JERRY O'CONNELL) has just arrived in N.Y. city, jobless, homeless and friendless. When he happens upon a vacant apartment, he jumps at the chance and moves in. What he doesn't know is that he has some roommates -- tens of thousands of them! Roaches, and not just ordinary roaches, but intelligent talking roaches who like Joe because he's a slob. Thus when the evil landlord hires his two nephews, Vlad (SHIEK MAHMUD-BEY) and Jesus (JIM STERLING), to get rid of Joe, the roaches come to the rescue. It seems that Joe is the last tenant in the building and the landlord wants to sell the land to a U.S. Senator (ROBERT VAUGHN) who wants to build a prison there. In the meantime, Joe has fallen for Lily (MEGAN WARD), the daughter of the Senator, who wants to turn the decrepit city block into a lush garden. From then on, Joe must contend with the roaches, the people who want him out of the building and his budding romance with Lily.
It's weird enough that many of them just might. In addition, if they're familiar with the MTV short film of the same name and plot, they'll want to see this one.
For crude humor and a brief drug reference.
  • JERRY O'CONNELL plays a young man who comes to N.Y. City from Iowa (who knows why) without a job or place to live. He turns out to be a slob who can't keep a job (not always his fault). He doesn't have any horrible traits, but he doesn't display many good ones either.
  • MEGAN WARD plays a character who wants to help people and make a difference in the world and for that, she's a good role model.
  • THE REST OF THE MAJOR CHARACTERS are pretty much bad role models.


    OUR TAKE: 3 cockroaches out of 10
    While humorous as a short MTV film from a couple of years ago (from which it was based), this movie strains as a full length feature. Although the sight of cockroaches as singers, synchronized swimmers and TV addicts is occasionally funny, their charm starts to wear thin after a while and that's all that holds this story together. There's a lame plot line concerning a greedy landlord and a Senator wanting Joe out of the apartment, but that becomes boring after a while. When will people learn that short films/sketches (attention Saturday Night Live and others) usually don't translate well to the big screen? The reason they work originally is that they are short in duration, and thus don't need to build up a credible, or at least interesting plot line that will sustain them for over an hour. Maybe someday they'll learn, but in the meantime, we give Joe's Apartment just three cockroaches out of ten.
    This film will probably be tough for parents to decide upon if they've never seen the original short version of it. While there's a lot of violence and gross roach stuff, it's played for laughs and it all depends on you and your family as to whether it's really funny or really sick. There's some profanity (including 2 "f" words toward the end used to get a PG-13 rating) and violence toward others used in hopes of getting a laugh. While some laughed at the elderly lady tripping and falling down many flights of stairs, others didn't. It all depends on your sense of humor, and you may want to consider whether and why your kids would laugh at such violent humor.

  • Two cockroaches drink liquor and Joe does the same.
  • Two young children on the street construct a "crack house" out of used drug syringes.
  • The cockroaches drink spilled beer.
  • A performance artist drinks champagne.
  • The Senator has a mixed drink and the waiter walks by carrying two martinis.
  • The cockroaches offer Joe a beer.
  • Though neither bloody nor gory, there are many scenes with cockroaches (on people, in food, etc...) that some may find disgusting.
  • A rather bloody body is seen on the ground, but it turns out to be a very alive N.Y. performance artist.
  • Joe bleeds a bit from where a cat scratched his face.
  • Though neither bloody nor gory, Joe collects excrement from horses, dogs and elephants to use as fertilizer for Lily's garden that some may find disgusting.
  • The landlord and his two nephews want to clear out the building's tenants and resort to violence to remove them. They trip one elderly woman down the stairs, drop another from her window, and set fire to Joe's place.
  • Joe assumes the role of a deceased woman's son in order to get into her rent controlled apartment.
  • A performance artist drops cans of paint onto people to "paint them."
  • Joe lies to Lily about what he does for a living in order to try and impress her.
  • Joe has to escape a raging building fire and he barely makes it out.
  • Handguns: Used by three different men to rob Joe.
  • Machine gun/Hand gun: Used by Vlad and Jesus to fire at the cockroaches.
  • Handguns: Fired by both a bad guy and the police as Joe walks down the street.
  • Joe throws a cat from his window after it latched itself onto his face while fleeing from the cockroaches.
  • A performance artist drops cans of paint onto people to "paint them."
  • Kids may imitate the bad guys running a wire across the top of some stairs in order to trip people down them (especially since this is played for laughs and some people in the audience did laugh).
  • Phrases: "Kick ass," "Shut up," "Sucker," "Sucks," and "Stupid."
  • The cockroaches refer to Joe's mother as an "old bag."
  • There are two instances of belching used for humor.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None (that we could hear, but there are several songs with indecipherable lyrics).
  • 2 "f" words, 8 "s" words (also see below), 4 "ass" words, 2 damns, 2 hells, 1 crap, 1 SOB, and 6 uses of "Oh my God," 2 of "God," 2 of "God damn," and 1 use of "For God's sake" as exclamations.
  • A minor character's last name is "Sh*t," there's a band named "Sh*t," and we see Joe pasting up posters for that band (the "s" word being seen on the wall hundreds of times).
  • The Senator is a closet cross dresser and in one scene unbuttons his shirt to reveal red women's lingerie which he caresses.
  • The roaches give Joe romantic/sexual advice about Lily including: "Tell her you like her boobs," "Tell her you want to plow her." (Instead of plowing her garden), and "Baby, I'm gonna bop you till your ears bleed."
  • The owner of a corporation asks Joe about his mother (whom the man used to know): "Does she still wear her hair that sexy way?" "Does your mom still have that saucy swing to her hips?" and "Did your mom ever give you a sponge bath?"
  • There's a cockroach scene where the male comes in thrusting his abdomen and the female exclaims (as she lies on her back, legs spread), "Oh my God, I'm going to pupate."
  • A cockroach pulls a condom out of Joe's shirt pocket (with Lily sitting next to him) and says "I think you're going need one of these."
  • Joe and Lily passionately kiss and roll over on top of each other on the floor at the end (but no nudity's seen).
  • People are seen smoking in a cafe.
  • Lily's co-workers smoke like crazy, and later Lily is seen smoking.
  • The owner of a large corporation smokes a cigar.
  • None.
  • Cockroaches and whether they can talk.
  • Violence toward others used as humor.
  • Joe is robbed at gunpoint and beaten up by three different men right after stepping off the bus in N.Y. City. (played for laughs)
  • Vlad and Jesus use a wire to trip an elderly woman down the stairs in an attempt to kill her. She falls down many floors and lands hard on the ground. Somehow, she turns out okay, but moments later dies of a heart attack. (Played for laughs but not very funny)
  • Another elderly woman is seen, through Joe's window, being held by her feet. The hands holding her let go and she falls to her death. (Same as above)
  • Vlad and Jesus break into Joe's apartment and bust the place up, trying to get him to leave. The cockroaches come to the rescue but not before both men fire a machine gun and handgun at the roaches. At the end of the scene, the roaches trip the two men who fall down the many flights of stairs to the bottom.
  • Joe throws a cat from his window after it latched itself onto his face while fleeing from the cockroaches.
  • As Joe walks down the street, first a criminal stops in front of him and shoots his gun off into the distance, and then several policemen arrive and fire their guns at the criminal.
  • Vlad and Jesus destroy Lily's garden.
  • Joe tries to bomb the cockroaches. They later capture and tie him to the floor where they prepare to shoot him with bug spray.
  • Vlad and Jesus pour gasoline throughout the apartment building and then light it. Explosions rip through Joe's place and be barely escapes the raging fire which burns the building down.
  • Vlad or Jesus punches Joe, knocking him out.
  • The landlord tells Vlad and Jesus to kill everyone after the property sale falls through. The cockroaches, however, pull away a manhole cover and the three men fall deep into the sewer system.

  • Reviewed July 26, 1996

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood] [Frozen 2] [Knives Out] [Queen & Slim] [21 Bridges]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2019 Screen It, Inc.