It used to be so easy to decide which movies to take Jackson to. When he was two years old the obvious choice was Finding Nemo. When he was three we had a John Ritter memorial viewing of Clifford’s Really Big Movie. Then came The Incredibles, Toy Story 1,2 and 3, and Shrek XVII: The Reckoning.
But slowly, almost without me noticing it, he became a fully-formed human being with tastes and opinions. (Not the most discerning human being, to be sure; he’ll watch Modern Family and a Pepsi commercial with equal intensity.)
But he has a penchant for comedy, so when Bridesmaids came out last summer I began looking for the closest bargain matinee. Then I realized, “Oh, this is rated R.” I went over to see what Kids In Mind had to say about it because hey, he’s fairly mature for 10, all his teachers say so, but I wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be anything in it that he really didn’t need to see.
THINGS THAT JACKSON, AT TEN YEARS OLD, DOES NOT NEED TO SEE
- Naked boobs, or any boobs of the exploitative variety
- Drug use (he knows that people take drugs to achieve an altered state/numb out their problems, but I don’t need him getting a step-by-step tutorial on how to load a bong, cook meth, etc.)
- The glorification of alcohol
- Explicit violence, abuse, neglect, or bloodshed
- Horror (see #4 above; with the additional bonus of supernatural unpredictability = years of nightmares and spiritual insecurity)
THINGS THAT ARE GROSS BUT OKAY, I GUESS, DON’T JUDGE ME:
- Gleeful mayhem and/or car wrecks where no one really gets hurt
- Talking guinea pigs
- Revenge, though in a DC/Marvel superhero sort of way it looks more like justice
- People making out fully clothed and then being interrupted by an explosion!
So when I read the Kids In Mind assessment of Bridesmaids, all signs pointed to HELL, NO. There were just so many mentions of thrusting! And bras! And steaming genitals and someone stowing a gun in their butt? And then a woman falls into a giant cookie, plus “20 religious exclamations.” It was all just too much to bear.
We went to get smoothies instead.
Six months later, temptation (i.e., the DVD release) got the better of us, and one day Jack and Jackson came home with a copy of Bridesmaids they’d impulsively bought at the grocery store. We cued it up and sat down to watch it together over hamburgers.
I think Kids In Mind does a great job of calmly listing all the red flags a parent may want to know in advance about a film, but what those red flags lack is context, and any sense of what they might mean to me as opposed to you.
- The thrusting was comic (though I clapped my hand over Jackson’s eyes anyway)
- The bras did a nice job of covering up the breasts
- The steaming genitals? I believe the exact line referred to a lot of “heat coming off of my undercarriage,” and was delivered with gusto by Melissa McCarthy in a lovely reversal of the standard girls-wait-to-be-chased-by-boys cliché
- Guns in butts was sort of borderline, but again, it totally made sense in context
As for the religious exclamations, Oh my God, it was nothing worse than he hears at home.