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"THE ANT BULLY"
(2006) (voices of Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage) (PG)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Animated Adventure: After terrorizing the ant colony in his backyard, a boy must contend with being shrunken down to their size and assimilated into their society.
PLOT:
Lucas Nickle (voice of ZACH TYLER EISEN) is a young boy who's often terrorized by the local neighborhood bully. Unable to tell his parents (voice of CHERI OTERI & LARRY MILLER) who are headed off for a childfree vacation, or get help from his teenage sister Tiffany (voice of ALLISON MACK) or alien-obsessed grandmother Mommo (voice of LILY TOMLIN), Lucas takes out his anger and frustration on the ant colony in his backyard, routinely flooding them with the garden hose or trying to stomp them with his enormous (to them) sneaker.

Deemed "The Destroyer" by the ants, he's become the focus of the wizard Zoc (voice of NICOLAS CAGE) who's trying to concoct a potion that might solve their problem. That sounds good to the Head of the Ant Council (voice of RICARDO MONTALBAN), but Zoc's girlfriend, nurse ant Hova (voice of JULIA ROBERTS) would rather pursue some sort of diplomacy. But it's too late as Zoc finally perfects a potion that shrinks Lucas down to their size.

Kidnapped and brought before the Ant Queen (voice of MERYL STREEP), Lucas is sentenced to work as an ant within the colony, but he wants no part of that. Hova takes it upon herself to teach him the ways of their world, and hopes to have foraging instructor Kreela (voice of REGINA KING) -- who's romantically pursued by boastful scout ant Fugax (voice of BRUCE CAMPBELL) -- help out in that quest.

As Lucas learns what it means to be a team player within the colony, he must not only put up with his inherent deficiencies in this foreign world and Zoc's dislike and distrust of him, but also the inherent dangers, including giant marauding wasps and the arrival of Stan Beals (voice of PAUL GIAMATTI), a Godzilla-sized exterminator who's intent on killing every pest in the backyard.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many younger ones will want to, especially if they like computer-animated films featuring non-human characters.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For some mild rude humor and action.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
It's debatable whether kids view animated characters (particularly non-human ones) as role models, but here's a quick look at their major characteristics:
  • LUCAS NICKLE is an average kid who takes out his frustration (about being bullied) on the ant colony. After he's shrunken down to their size, he must learn how to become a team player (although he's initially reluctant about that).
  • ZOC is the colony's wizard who conjures up a potion that shrinks Lucas down to their size. From that point on, he still doesn't like or trust the boy due to his previous actions, although he eventually has a change of heart.
  • HOVA is the nurse ant (and girlfriend to Zoc) who takes it upon herself to teach Lucas the ways of their colony.
  • KREELA is the instructor who teaches the ants (and Lucas) how to forage.
  • FUGAX is the boastful scout ant who's sweet on Kreela.
  • STAN BEALS is the overzealous pest exterminator who's determined to wipe out the ant colony and all other insects in the backyard. He smokes cigars.
  • MOMMO is Lucas' somewhat senile grandmother who's obsessed with alien abduction.
  • 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:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this animated comedy that's been rated PG. Profanity consists of a minor expletive, while some colorful phrases are also uttered. A boy is nude after being miniaturized and then returned to normal size, but all we see are brief glimpses of his bare butt (a female ant apparently sees him fully nude as she realizes what sex he is by that viewing).

    Some personified ant and other insect characters are apparently killed by insecticide, flooding, and being hit by intense beams of sunlight. Those scenes and other moments of peril (including larger wasps, frogs and a Godzilla-sized exterminator coming after the miniature boy and ant characters) may be rather intense, suspenseful or downright scary to younger kids, but probably to no one else.

    Various instances of crude humor occur, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Some thematic elements are present, while some of the behavior may be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some bouncy, point of view camerawork.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • When an aphid or similar creature turns on its firefly type light, it lets out a fart-like sound.
  • Lucas is embarrassed and mad when his mom thinks he has a bedwetting issue (since he has underwear missing, but that's from getting wedgies from the local bully).
  • The Council Head comments on when Lucas doused the colony "with the dreaded yellow rain" (and the boy tries to defend that by saying he had to go).
  • About using fans to ward off what she thinks are alien invaders, Mommo says she's windy (referring to the fans) but then says that again (possibly referring to a gas issue).
  • Lucas is given a green blob of liquid that the ants call honeydew and consider a treat. Lucas likes the taste and gobbles it down, prompting an ant to ask if he wants more. He does, but then turns green when he sees that the "treat" comes out of a caterpillar's bottom. Later, when the ants talk that the return of the queen of queens will mean honeydew from the sky, Lucas sarcastically asks about them wanting more "poop" falling from the sky.
  • Seeing Lucas' home, Fugax comments on it (in surprise, but mistaken) being made from poop.
  • After being swallowed by a giant frog, Lucas ends up in the stomach along with several bugs and a gooey liquid all around them (all played for comedy, but at one point, one bug sees a friend bug and goes to lift him up from the liquid, but all he retrieves is the bug's severed head).
  • After Zoc allows himself to be swallowed to save Lucas who's suffered the same apparent fate, Lucas asks how he also got into the stomach, and Zoc sarcastically replies that he didn't come in through the rear.
  • While in some stomach liquid (inside a frog), a bubble pops up, and one bug there says it wasn't from him.
  • Lucas ends up on Stan's scaly scalp where he encounters some sort of insects that then flee when Stan's pudgy fingers come scratching toward them.
  • Lucas ends up hanging from Stan's nose hairs, with the exterminator then blowing his nose and all sorts of green stuff flies out.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • A human bully gives Lucas an "atomic wedgie" by pulling his underwear up out of the back of his pants. That bully then slaps another kid (one of his followers) on the back of the head.
  • Lucas takes out his frustration about being picked on by a human bully by terrorizing the ant colony in his backyard.
  • Stan tries to coerce and then manipulate Lucas into signing a pest control contract that his father had yet to sign. One of his tactics is playing on Lucas' hatred of being considered a young kid and so Stan jokes about the boy needing someone to "wipe my little butt" and wipes the contract across his own clothed butt to taunt him.
  • Zoc pours a magic potion into Lucas' ear while the boy sleeps (it causes him to shrink down to ant size and he does that to stop the attacks, but some viewers might not like the use of "magic").
  • Lucas won't act as a member of his ant team, thinking he can do everything by himself.
  • Zoc doesn't like Lucas and tells the boy he does not intend to change him back into a full-size kid.
  • The human bully tries to pick on Lucas again and seems ready to hit another boy, but Lucas and the other kids then stand up to the bully who then runs away when they start to go after him.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling, suspenseful, or maybe even scary to younger viewers, but probably not to anyone else.
  • Lucas takes out his frustration about being picked on by a human bully by terrorizing the ant colony in his backyard. He fires his squirt gun at it, with those streams being like rivers of water blasting their mound and washing away various ants (that panic and try to flee). He then kicks the mound, causing more panicking and damage and nearly steps down on Hova with his gargantuan (to them) foot (see from their POV), but Zoc saves her.
  • Lucas uses a garden hose on the ant mound, causing lots of flooding that sweeps away ants including some major characters and minor ones (we don't know the fate of the latter) as well as structural damage inside the colony.
  • Having just shrunken Lucas, the ants send him on various long falls, including passing him along from place to place through the air via sticky "swings" of goo (but he's okay). When they get him to the council, two ant guards throw Lucas to the floor.
  • Large, menacing looking wasps attack the ants and lift several of their domesticated caterpillars. Soldier ants fire rocks back at them (hitting some), while one wasp comes after an ant with its large stinger and Zoc saves that ant. Other ants spit out some sort of substance that hits some wasps, while one of them comes after Hova with its large stinger and then lifts off with her (she's later dropped and is okay). Lucas then tries to hide and then run away, as one or more menacing wasps slowly search for him (and he must avoid shafts of sunlight that will incinerate him). As one comes after him with its stinger jabbing around him, he lights a firecracker in which the wasp's stinger gets stuck. The resultant explosion is seen from a distance in the yard where it appears as nothing more than a slight poof.
  • Spotting Fugax on the counter, Tiffany repeatedly tries to squash him with a phone's handset (that's huge compared to him). We later see that he has a broken leg from this (out of six).
  • As Lucas wanders through a swampy area (where he's still miniature), a bug he meets is suddenly gone. Lucas suspiciously eyes the pond in front of him and then tries to run away from a huge frog that leaps after him, trying to seize him with its tongue. Lucas runs and eventually encounters some ants who also then run from the frog. They scale up a vertical surface, but Lucas can't and the frog snatches and eats him (but everything turns out okay).
  • After being swallowed by a giant frog, Lucas ends up in the stomach along with several bugs and a gooey liquid all around them (all played for comedy, but at one point, one bug sees a friend bug and goes to lift him up from the liquid, but all he retrieves is the bug's severed head).
  • When Zoc and Lucas go to negotiate with the wasps, the much larger insects menacingly surround them, showing off their sharp mandibles.
  • Lucas ends up on Stan's scaly scalp where he encounters some sort of insects that then flee when Stan's pudgy fingers come scratching toward them.
  • Ants run from Stan's pesticide smoke that flows toward them.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Firecracker: Used by Lucas to kill a large wasp that's trying to kill him.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Atomic wedgie," "Mamacita," "Kraznocks" (or something like that said various times as an ant-language expletive), "Take a break," "Sometimes you're a real stinkbug," "Whatever..." "Drive 'em nuts," "Wipe my little butt for me," "I'm windy," "Suck in that thorax," "Captain party pooper," "Booyah," "You rule," "Bye-bye, loser," "Fire in the hole," "He's got a brain the size of a peanut" (said as a good thing by an ant), "I'm on a low fathead diet," "Praise the mother," "No way, two legs," "Awesome," "I can be a real jerk sometimes," "Sugar lips," "You alien scum," "You big pupa," "Are you crazy?" "Weirdo," "Ah, crap," "Uh, definitely not," "Hey puckas," "What the kraznock is wrong with you?" and "Stupid losers."
  • Some kids may want to imitate the actions of some of the characters (including the vacuous-sounding teens).
  • A human bully gives Lucas an "atomic wedgie" by pulling his underwear up out of the back of his pants. That bully then slaps another kid (one of his followers) on the back of the head.
  • Tiffany wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • Stan tries to coerce and then manipulate Lucas into signing a pest control contract that his father had yet to sign. One of his tactics is playing on Lucas' hatred of being considered a young kid and so Stan jokes about the boy needing someone to "wipe my little butt" and wipes the contract across his own clothed butt to taunt him.
  • Lucas lets out a loud belch (after being given an anti-nausea treatment).
  • We see some human teen girls who wear midriff-revealing tops.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 crap and 4 uses of the ant profanity (or colorful phrase) "kraznock."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Lucas' parents are going on vacation sans kids, with the father playfully saying he needs to spend some time with his "mamacita."
  • Zoc pours a magic potion into Lucas' ear while the boy sleeps (it causes him to shrink down to ant size). As the boy shrinks and slides out of bed and down to the floor, we can see (from a distance) that the boy is now nude (since he's grown smaller than his underwear) but we don't see any details. The ants then carry him out nude, but we don't see anything beyond partial glimpses of his bare behind.
  • After having been nude (from being shrunken out of his clothes), Lucas has some material around his waist. Then, when he's trying to hide from Hova, she asks if he's a male or female, wonders how you tell the difference, and then says, "Oh, that's how" as she gazes down at his hiding spot and apparently sees him fully nude (we don't).
  • Some insects fly up Stan's pants, hoping to find a way to stop him. As they get toward his crotch, one says, "That looks vulnerable" and one bites or stings him there (we don't see the impact or what part of the anatomy they attack, although the implication is it's his genitals). They then fly out from his butt crack as his pants ride a bit low.
  • We see Lucas bare butt once he's returned to normal size and has been left in the backyard.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Lucas takes out his frustration about being picked on by a human bully by terrorizing the ant colony in his backyard.
  • Lucas not liking his mom treating him like a little kid.
  • Lucas is embarrassed and mad when his mom thinks he has a bedwetting issue (since he has underwear missing, but that's from getting wedgies from the local bully).
  • The Council Head commenting on them being attacked without provocation or reason.
  • What it would be like to be an ant.
  • Lucas learning to become a team player.
  • The point discussing the difference in how ants and humans cooperate (or not) within their own species.
  • VIOLENCE
  • As Zoc tries to remove some crystals from a cliff-face, small rocks fall down and land on sleeping ants below him. One of them kicks another to wake him up, followed by more rocks falling, one of which knocks one of those ants out of the camera shot.
  • While ants carry huge pieces of food along, one of them accidentally bops another on the head with what he's carrying.
  • A human bully gives Lucas an "atomic wedgie" by pulling his underwear up out of the back of his pants. That bully then slaps another kid (one of his followers) on the back of the head.
  • Lucas takes out his frustration about being picked on by a human bully by terrorizing the ant colony in his backyard. He fires his squirt gun at it, with those streams being like rivers of water blasting their mound and washing away various ants (that panic and try to flee). He then kicks the mound, causing more panicking and damage and nearly steps down on Hova with his gargantuan (to them) foot (see from their POV), but Zoc saves her.
  • Lucas uses a garden hose on the ant mound, causing lots of flooding that sweeps away ants including some major characters and minor ones (we don't know the fate of the latter) as well as structural damage inside the colony.
  • Having just shrunken Lucas, the ants send him on various long falls, including passing him along from place to place through the air via sticky "swings" of goo (but he's okay). When they get him to the council, two ant guards throw Lucas to the floor.
  • Lucas tries to jump over a crevice, but smacks into the far wall of it and falls (but is then stuck on something that leaves him hanging there).
  • Lucas is accidentally thrown through the air and lands quite hard on the ground (during a training exercise) but is okay.
  • A bug accidentally encounters a beam of sunlight and bursts into flames, instantly burning up.
  • Large, menacing looking wasps attack the ants and lift several of their domesticated caterpillars. Soldier ants fire rocks back at them (hitting some), while one wasp comes after an ant with its large stinger and Zoc saves that ant. Other ants spit out some sort of substance that hits some wasps, while one of them comes after Hova with its large stinger and then lifts off with her (she's later dropped and is okay). Lucas then tries to hide and then run away, as one or more menacing wasps slowly search for him (and he must avoid shafts of sunlight that will incinerate him). As one comes after him with its stinger jabbing around him, he lights a firecracker in which the wasp's stinger gets stuck. The resultant explosion is seen from a distance in the yard where it appears as nothing more than a slight poof.
  • While jumping down from a desk to "hang glide" across the room, Fugax accidentally lands in the spinning blades of a desk fan, but is okay.
  • Spotting Fugax on the counter, Tiffany repeatedly tries to squash him with a phone's handset (that's huge compared to him). We later see that he has a broken leg from this (out of six).
  • A frog eats Lucas and other bugs (they're okay, except for one bug where all that's left - from being digested - is his head).
  • Stan blasts various wasps (carrying ants on their backs) with his pesticide fogger, presumably killing them. He also catches and then flicks away one such duo, sending them banging into some wind chimes.
  • Some insects fly up Stan's pants, hoping to find a way to stop him. As they get toward his crotch, one says, "That looks vulnerable" and one bites or stings him there (we don't see the impact or what part of the anatomy they attack, although the implication is it's his genitals).



  • Reviewed July 7, 2006 / Posted July 28, 2006

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