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"HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS"
(2006) (Luke Benward, Hallie Kate Eisenberg) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Moderate Moderate Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy Minor None None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Mild Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Kids' comedy: A new kid in the fifth grade takes a bet to eat 10 worms in a day, then bonds with his challengers as they share adventures finding and cooking the worms.
PLOT:
When 11-year-old Billy (LUKE BENWARD) arrives at a new school, he feels intimidated by the notorious bully Joe (ADAM HICKS). Wanting to fit in, Billy takes Joe's bet, that he can't eat 10 worms in one day without throwing up, even though Billy is prone to vomit at the slightest provocation, like watching the dryer spin or seeing his little brother Woody (TY PANITZ) drool. Billy is jealous that Woody seems able to fit in right away; his performance as a "sea turtle" with his kindergarten classmates has their mom (KIMBERLY WILLIAMS-PAISLEY) and dad (TOM CAVANAUGH) cheering him on.

At the same time, Billy's father is trying to adjust to his new office, so their efforts to seem "normal" run on parallel courses. Thus, as Billy spends Saturday trying to eat the worms and look after Woody, their mom and dad play tennis with his new colleague and his wife, worried about making a good impression. A third parallel is established in Joe's relationship with his bully of a big brother, Nigel (NICK KRAUSE), who taunts him, suggesting that Joe learned to be mean at home.

Billy's worm-eating efforts are monitored by Joe and his "team," including Bradley (PHILIP DANIEL BOLDEN) as the Official Timekeeper, Benjy (RYAN MALGARNI) as the Worm Cook, and Donny the Brain (ALEXANDER AGATE). Billy's moral support comes in the form of adorably dweeby Adam (AUSTIN ROGERS) and especially Erika (HALLIE KATE EISENBERG), who encourages him to keep up his nerve and so, perhaps, win respect and take down Joe a notch.

As the kids await Billy's "barfing," he is surprisingly able to keep the worms down, and grows more self-confident with each new worm recipe.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Yes, especially if they like Thomas Rockwell's book, have survived elementary school bullying, or enjoy kids-style gross-out jokes (worms and snot and goo, etc.).
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For mild bullying and some crude humor.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • LUKE BENWARD plays Billy Forrester, the new kid at school who responds to the bully's challenge and earns the respect of his classmates.
  • ADAM HICKS plays Joe Guire, the bully who is also bullied at home by his big brother. He learns to be nice by film's end.
  • TOM CAVANAUGH plays the dad, struggling to "fit in" at his new job, so his concerns coincide with Billy's.
  • KIMBERLY WILLIAMS-PAISLEY plays the mom, very sensible, who helps her husband and Billy feel less insecure.
  • HALLIE KATE EISENBERG plays Erika, a tall girl who makes friends with Billy on his first day, then helps by taking care of Woody and encouraging Billy as he tries to eat the worms on Saturday.
  • JAMES REBHORN plays Principal Burdock, called "Boilerhead" by the kids and serving as an ineffective authority figure.
  • AUSTIN ROGERS plays Adam, a boy who believes Joe punched him with his Death Ring and fears his imminent death "in eighth grade."
  • ALEXANDER GOULD plays Twitch, who responds nervously to the worm eating, and soon takes Billy's "side" against Joe.
  • ANDREW GILLINGHAM plays Techno Mouth, so named because he wears braces and who also takes Billy's side.
  • RYAN MALGARNI plays Benjy, who cooks the worms for Billy to eat, naming each dish with a flourish.
  • PHILIP DANIEL BOLDEN plays Bradley, who keeps the time, wearing three watches.
  • TY PANITZ plays Woody, Billy's little brother, who seems to fit in easily and so makes Billy feel worse.
  • ALEXANDER AGATE plays Donny, the "Brain" of Joe's crew.
  • JAMES REBHORN plays Principal Burdock, object of the kids' humor behind his back.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this children's comedy that's rated PG. Various colorful phrases are present, including a benign, child-based one for male genitalia. The main gist of the plot is about eating worms, so there is scene after scene of preparing them for consumption, with all sorts of gross results (other crude humor is also present).

    Some kids may be enticed to imitate that, while such actions and other behavior (including some bullying) exhibit varying degrees of bad attitudes. It's possible some of that could be disturbing or unsettling for some younger kids, but much is played for comedy. Some tense family material is present (mainly brotherly picking), while some slapstick style material is present (along with the killing of the worms).

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Every worm preparation and consumption scene features yucky images.
  • The animated credits sequence shows repeated vomiting as comedy, as cartoon Billy reacts to the sight of a baby's drool, exposed buttocks, watching the dryer spin, and a water slide.
  • As animated characters turn into live people, Woody is eating a burrito in the car, with beans and sauce all over his face. Billy looks queasy and has to get out of the car to vomit behind a tree.
  • Adam explains the Death Ring (his story illustrated in animation) -- When Joe punches you with it, you die in the eighth grade. The animation shows how you slowly bleed to death because of poison.
  • A bird eats a worm.
  • Adam says worms are "just meat." Joe then makes Adam eat a worm. Adam chews and gags, then vomits.
  • In the morning, Billy brushes his teeth and imagines the toothpaste is worms.
  • Woody picks his nose, then tries to drop his drool on ants on the sidewalk.
  • Benjy brings lard to cook the worm at the BBQ in the park, saying, "Lard's from a pig." He calls the concoction "La Big Porker." When bitten, the cooked worm squirts goo on Techno Mouth's face. Billy puts it in his mouth, prompting Twitch to say, "Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew."
  • At the diner called the Brown Toad, Adam fries a worm in a pan, with eggs and cheese.
  • Uncle Ed (Clint Howard) takes the "omelet" and feeds it to the principal. The boys watch him eat it, their horror underscored by close-ups of the worm being eaten.
  • Benjy brings out another worm he's cooked in grease, in a Chinese food carton, says it's fried in "glibber juice," and names it the "Greasy Brown Toad Bloater Special."
  • Outside, Plug and Bradley watch Billy -- they're "official puke watchers."
  • Billy almost vomits but doesn't, prompting a kid to say, "Worm Boy stopped himself with mental power. He told the vomit to stay inside." "Puke has a mind of its own."
  • Benjy combines ketchup and marshmallow with the worm, and names it "Barfmallow."
  • Benjy uses a rolling pin to make a peanut butter and worm jam sandwich.
  • For supper, Mom brings home Chinese food, and the family eats noodles with chopsticks. They look like worms and Billy is unable to eat. Woody's exhausted and his head falls in his plate of noodles, asleep.
  • At the Bait Shop, the kids open a container that dumps worms on a kid's face.
  • Benjy uses a blender to mix broccoli, spinach, and green worms, making the "Green Slusher, served on a bed of slush at room temperature."
  • Benjy microwaves a worm and it explodes -- he calls it "Radioactive Slime Delight." Billy then scrapes it off the sides of the microwave with a spatula.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers may take offense at the worms being consumed for sport or fun as occurs repeatedly in the film.
  • Watching Billy vomit behind a tree, his dad asks, "Wrapping it up there Billy?" which sounds a bit callous.
  • When his mom tells him to unpack his toys, Billy grumps, suggesting he feels too old to play with "toys."
  • At school and later at the diner, kids call the principal "Boilerhead."
  • Billy falls back, fainting, with echoes in his head, and the boys make fun of "Irk" (Erika). Billy joins in, and tells her to go away, calling her "You big giant." She leaves, her feelings hurt.
  • In class, kids don't say hello to Billy when prompted. Instead, you hear a "crickets" sound.
  • A teacher teaching ancient Egypt mentions the "bust of Nefertiti," and some kids snicker.
  • In the cafeteria, the kids replace Billy's thermos drink with worms. At lunch, he throws one at the chief bully, Joe, who acts afraid. The other kids laugh at him and then he gets angry.
  • In the cafeteria, Billy hides worms in his lap, from Principal Burdock
  • At school and elsewhere, kids and then Woody call Billy "Worm Boy."
  • In the classroom, kids have gummy worms hanging from their mouths and noses, and taunt Billy.
  • After school, Joe and friends on bikes chase Billy. Joe then challenges him to eat 10 worms in a day without throwing up.
  • In a classroom, the kids research worms and find a drawing that shows the "sphincter." One calls it the "worm's butt" and they repeat "sphincter" many times before hiding the website when their teacher comes in.
  • Some boys tease Billy, saying, "He's going to be barfing his guts out."
  • Billy's dad takes him to play soccer, but the boys aren't there -- they're searching for worms and making fun of Billy. Adam says worms are "just meat," so Joe makes Adam eat a worm. Adam chews and gags, then vomits.
  • At night, Billy says he's running away. He packs a bag and goes outside, then realizes he has no place to go (the trees creak and there's scary darkness). He kicks his bag in despair and hurts his toe. "Where will I go?"
  • Woody picks his nose, then tries to drop his drool on ants on the sidewalk.
  • When Billy tells him he has to obey him, Woody says it's like being "your slave."
  • Billy intentionally hits Woody's bike.
  • Erika comes by and she and Billy watch Woody intentionally hit the birdfeeder. The seed pours all over him, and the older kids roll their eyes.
  • Joe and his crew see Woody and laugh at him because he has training wheels on his bike.
  • Joe "gives" Billy Adam for his team. On his way over, Adam falls from his bike, into the bushes. Joe and his team then laugh at him.
  • Billy runs in a sort of delirious tizzy and hits a tree, the boys tauntingly chant at Billy: "Swallow, swallow, swallow."
  • Erika plays a game with Woody, when she asks what Woody wishes for, he says, "I wish my brother was dead, dead, dead." She's surprised.
  • Kids watch the principal eat a worm in his eggs (he doesn't know it). Uncle Ed then chases them out of his diner, calling them "Punks" under his breath.
  • The kids leave a mess in Twitch's kitchen., resulting in him being grounded.
  • Billy goes to see Ericka and she calls him a "Rat," telling him he's turning into "another Joe" because he was mean to her. She then tells him he can't quit. "Joe Guire's a bully," she says, "With that dumb old ring he wears to scare people."
  • At the river, the boys watch an older lady and she's called the "two-headed witch."
  • In a bait shop, some kids bring blowfish to the door and make Joe jump back and laugh at him.
  • Joe throws the last worm in the river before Billy can eat it, and Donny says, "Joe, you're a cheater."
  • Billy dives in to get the worm, which he eats live and the kids cheer.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Joe must get even, so he and his minions chase after Billy on their bikes until they catch him on a dirt road.
  • At night, Billy says he's running away. He packs a bag and goes outside, then realizes he has no place to go (the trees creak and there's scary darkness).
  • At one point, the boys are getting night crawlers from a bait shop (they pay for them, but while the owner is out. The elderly owner comes back and the boys run away from her. Her face appears in close-up, alarming the boys.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Erika practices her archery in the backyard early on; her targeting is very accurate.
  • Adam explains the Death Ring (his story illustrated in animation) -- When Joe punches you with it, you die in the eighth grade. The animation shows how you slowly bleed to death because of poison.
  • Adam acts out the scene of being punched by the Death Ring, falling on the ground and pretending to die.
  • Erika arrives at the riverside with the last worm, which she shoots to a tree on her arrow.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Techno mouth," "Boilerhead," "Irk," "Worm Boy," "Barfing his guts out," "Dilly dink" (penis), "I have to go poo," "Punks," "Swallow, swallow, swallow," "Alley oop!", "Thanks, little midget," "Barfmallow," "Rat," "Jeez," La Big Porker," "Glibber juice," "Greasy Brown Toad Bloater Special," "Green slusher," "Radioactive Slime Delight," "You big giant," "Joey and the joke," "Two-headed witch" and "You're just a bunch of little worms."
  • Worms are prepared in various ways, including but not limited to frying in lard, zapped in a microwave, smashed with a rolling pin, combined in a blender with green vegetables, fried on a griddle, combined with ketchup and marshmallow, boiled with hot sauce, and eaten live.
  • The various instances and styles of bullying (replacing a thermos drink with worms, etc.) may similarly be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • In the classroom, kids have gummy worms hanging from their mouths and noses, and taunt Billy.
  • When a teacher teaching Ancient Egypt mentions the "bust of Nefertiti," some kids snicker.
  • Woody hits a birdfeeder and the seed pours all over him.
  • Benjy combines tomato paste and Louisiana hot sauce, making a mess in the kitchen.
  • Billy falls back, fainting, with echoes in his head, and the boys make fun of "Irk." Billy joins in, and tells her to go away, calling her "You big giant." She leaves, her feelings hurt.
  • Billy and Joe both put a handful of worms in their pants, since neither won the bet.
  • At the end of the film, Billy and Joe walk funny because they have worms in their pants. The other kids imitate that and turn it into a dance to the soundtrack song, "Jungle Boogie."
  • The school bell rings and kids all run outside and toss worms in the air, in a celebration.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • An elderly woman's face suddenly appears in the frame when she's chasing Joe and Billy, but the tone is more comic than scary.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • The kids are scared by the Bait Shop Lady (Jo Ann Farabee), and some music speeds up as she comes after them, but it's not really that scary.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 slang term for male genitals ("dilly dink").
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • The animated credits sequence shows repeated vomiting as comedy, including as cartoon Billy reacts to the sight of a baby's exposed buttocks.
  • A teacher teaching ancient Egypt mentions the "bust of Nefertiti," and some kids snicker.
  • When Billy hits Woody's bike, Woody says, "You hurt my bike... It's hurting my dilly dink. My dilly dink is my penis."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Billy is jealous of his brother's success in a class performance and pouts outside.
  • Billy's mom laughs at her husband when she sees the colleague he's nervous about.
  • At night, Billy says he's running away. He packs a bag and goes outside, then realizes he has no place to go.
  • When Billy tells Woody he has to obey him, Woody says it's like being "your slave."
  • Nigel picks on Joe, calling him "Joey the Joke." He makes fun of the fact that someone threw a worm in his face. "The whole school is laughing at you and you were afraid. You're a joke!" Nigel then slams Joe's toast on the counter.
  • Plug says his dad said no about letting him borrow the blowtorch. (adding, "Dad just laughed at me").
  • Nigel shows up at the river and says to Joe, "Now you're really a joke." Billy says, "Leave him alone." All the boys join in to protect Joe from Nigel. Nigel skulks off, saying, "You're just a bunch of little worms."
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • How to fit in with a new group of people.
  • How bullies can actually be insecure.
  • Big and little brothers' relationships.
  • Little boys being friends with girls.
  • Playing fair and not cheating.
  • Eating worms and other such critters for fun or sport.
  • VIOLENCE
  • All the worms (fake) begin alive, and the kids smash, cook, and otherwise kill them for Billy to eat (except the last one, which he eats wriggling and alive).
  • Adam explains the Death Ring (his story illustrated in animation) -- When Joe punches you with it, you die in the eighth grade. The animation shows how you slowly bleed to death because of poison.
  • Adam acts out the scene of being punched by the Death Ring, falling on the ground and pretending to die.
  • Joe slams Plug to the ground.
  • Adam falls from his bike, into the bushes.
  • Billy intentionally hits Woody's bike.
  • Erika comes by and she and Billy watch Woody intentionally hit the birdfeeder. The seed pours all over him, and the older kids roll their eyes.
  • Billy runs in a sort of delirious tizzy and hits a tree.
  • At the tennis court, there's some slapstick material including Rob and his wife falling and tripping, while a wife accidentally hits her husband in the face with a racket and he falls over.
  • Erika tells Woody a story about a little bird that flapped his wings, flew next to an airplane, and said, "How do you do?" (she makes an explosion noise, as if the bird has been killed by airplane).
  • Joe and an elderly woman bonk heads, prompting the boys to laugh about how she hit Joe in the head with her head.
  • Erika arrives at the riverside with the last worm, which she shoots to a tree on her arrow.



  • Reviewed August 19, 2006 / Posted August 25, 2006

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