The War With Grandpa (PG)

Age 8+

‌‌Mischievous‌ ‌slapstick‌ ‌comedy‌ ‌has‌ ‌multigenerational‌ ‌appeal. ‌

The War With Grandpa” is a family comedy based on Robert Kimmel Smith’s 1984 book about a resentful boy named Peter (Oakes Fegley) who pranks his grandfather (Robert De Niro) in hopes that he’ll move out of his room. Eventually, Grandpa engages, and the two start a “war” that actually ends up creating a bond between them. If you can suspend your disbelief, it’s funny enough, and it promotes the value that a relationship with their grandparents can add to kids’ lives. But Peter’s tactics come off more mean-spirited on screen than they did on the page. His “pranks” cause many accidents for Grandpa and his elderly friends, including electrocution and falls that in real life would cause broken bones, cracked skulls or even death. A recurring joke involves Peter’s older sister being caught kissing her boyfriend (though the actual kissing is never shown), and the older characters have a couple of jokes about drinking (and they spike their own drinks). Mild language includes “hell,” “boobie,” and “wisea--”; there’s also some potty humor, a glimpse of a character’s underwear, threats and remarks about a bully punching a kid in the face. (94 minutes)

Elinor Wonders Why
(TV-Y)

Streaming

Age 4+

Eager preschoolers’ curiosity yields learning opportunities.

Elinor Wonders Why” is a preschool series whose main characters show that they are excited to learn new things by exploring and asking questions. The show demonstrates for kids the value of being curious and trying new things, as that is how the characters make discoveries. Adults shine as role models both in their conceptual awareness and in their willingness to help the kids experience and gain knowledge. Viewers are treated to positive representations of friendship and community involvement, as the characters’ explorations also teach them basic truths related to nature and science. (Roughly half-hour episodes)

Available via PBS Kids streaming.

Becoming (Unrated)

Streaming

Age 7+

Feel-good doc series tells stories of celebs’ success.

Becoming” is a documentary series that tells the stories of how celebrity athletes and entertainers persevered and rose to the top of their professions. In telling their stories, some of the celebrities show moderate sadness when talking about things like a loved one dying or being involved in a serious accident. There are mentions of romantic love, and the lead character in one episode finds out she’s expecting a baby. While there is not overt product placement, some brands are mentioned by name and some athletic uniforms have visible logos. (Roughly half-hour episodes)

Available on Disney Plus.

Hubie Halloween (PG-13)

Streaming

Age 13+

Crass, mean-spirited Halloween tale has cursing, bullying.

There’s lots of crass humor, language, bullying and mean behavior in Adam Sandler’s “Hubie Halloween.” Though main character Hubie (Sandler) is a cheerful, kind and brave man who succeeds in the end, Sandler, who is abled, plays him as if he has a mental disability. That’s a problematic representation, and it also makes Hubie the target of constant cruelty (insults, pranks, having things thrown at him) from kids and adults, including the local priest. The nasty behavior extends to other characters, with teens and couples treating each other callously and a teacher insulting a student in front of his classmates. Fart, poop and erection jokes abound, and no opportunity is missed for vulgarity: a ghost sheet has pee stains, a dog eats its own poop, a hot dog is positioned on a bed where a man’s penis would be, and Hubie’s mom cluelessly wears used T-shirts with crude sexual sayings on them. There’s also some kissing and lots of mild Halloween-themed scares. Teens drink and smoke at a Halloween party. Language includes potty talk, plus “s---,” “boner,” “balls,” “boogers,” “a--,” “buffoon,” “suck,” “p-----head,” “dummy,” “boobie,” “idiot,” “crap,” and “t---y-twister.”
(103 minutes)

Available on Netflix.

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