Movie Review: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

by Catherine McCafferty
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Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

The Backyard Has Never Looked So Big

Long before A Bug's Life, Antz, or The Bee Movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids took viewers on a bug's-eye tour of the wilds of the backyard and the dangers of household items such as brooms and cereal bowls. The cool visual effects were like an amusement park you wanted to visit, complete with leaf-slides and bee rides. What made the effects so fun was watching live action kids work their way through a survival course that could exist in anyone's back yard.

What fills out the movie, though, beyond the aw-cool FX, is a plot element that plays out in every neighborhood. There's always a "weird" family on the block -- it's just a matter of who you think they are. The joke with the Szalinskis and the Thompsons is that each thinks the other's weird. "Big Russ" Thompson sees a wacky inventor with a nerdy son and a daughter who dances with a mop. Wayne sees an oafish jock who has the strange idea that family togetherness involves sports and camping. They get to their common ground when all their kids disappear (shrink) and all the parents worry. Likewise, the kids learn to appreciate and even like each other as they rely on one another to make it back to the Szalinski house.

Kids Will Like:

Aside from the obvious teeny kids in a giant world...

Who wouldn't want a remote-control lawnmower -- plus all those other gadgets that fill the Szalinski household?

There is a kid for everyone to relate to: the nerdy nonsports-playing Nick; the outdoorsy bully-turned-friend Ron; Amy, the popular teen who finally notices the boy next door; and "Little Russ," the boy next door who can't relate to his dad but really wants to meet that girl next door.

Parents Will Like:

Every Mom and Dad can feel better about their own parental missteps after watching Wayne accidentally sweep up his kids and throw them out in the trash. They'll also connect with the idea of neighbors they can't quite connect with.

The film might give a nudge to Dads who either are struggling to understand their sons or just not paying enough attention to them.

Heads Up:

(Spoiler!) Anty dies after protecting the kids from a scorpion.

There is a running joke that turns serious: Big Russ alternately tries to quit and tries to sneak smoking. Turns out, he mostly smokes when he's worried.

Amy jokes that a fellow teen couple broke up because of "religious differences": the girl thought she was God and her boy friend didn't.

Kids probably won't get it, but parents will when Russ says he learned artificial respiration in French class.

Own It?

Yes, for fun repeated viewings and for the details of super-sized ordinary objects.

 

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