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Movie Review

Alex is a thirtysomething video game tester who has narrowed the focus of his life to three things: Sex. Drugs. And games.

After getting evicted from his apartment, Alex is forced to live with his grandmother and her three geriatric roommates for a spell. That's where this mindless movie wallows for most of its 100 minutes. He tells his buddies at work that he's shacked up with three "hot babes." They believe him. Then it's as if a fleet of garbage trucks full of sexual double entendres backs up to the screen and dumps its cargo. After they find out the truth, everybody has a big bong party. And the credits roll. "Virgin gamers, stoned grandmas, amorous chimps, meth lab scum," boasts the film's press materials, "all in a day's work for Happy Madison [Productions]."


Positive Elements

Alex loves his grandma so much he includes her in one of his marijuana bashes. (But of course only the first four words of that sentence are actually positive.) Granny returns his affection, and comes to Alex's defense when the video game he'd been working on gets stolen by a colleague.

Spiritual Content

Demonik, the primary video game featured in Grandma's Boy is a real-world game slated for release on Xbox 360. Its story line revolves around a demon who possesses a human and uses its host to wreak havoc.

Alex's boss, Mr. Cheezle, takes Eastern mystical thought to goofy extremes. He brings in a shaman to keep "bad energy" away from their new video game. And he contorts himself into yoga positions during meetings. A woman is said to have gone to heaven when she died—even though she was considered to be "mean and full of hate."

Sexual Content

A graphic masturbation scene tops this movie's extensive list of sexual content. Without going into detail—a courtesy the film does not afford—suffice it to say that it involves Alex, a Lara Croft action figure and a co-worker's mother. The eight-inch doll is used and abused "sexually" afterwards, too.

One of Alex's friends spends "13 hours" with his face glued (figuratively) to a woman's bare breasts—which moviegoers see several times—during the big bash. Another buddy makes out with (onscreen) and has sex with (offscreen) one of Granny's elderly roommates who claims to have given sexual services to Charlie Chaplin and Don Knots.

Jokes, comments and verbal gags involve male and female anatomy, foursomes, bondage, prostitution, homosexuality, masturbation, manual stimulation, oral and anal sex, and STDs. When Mr. Cheezle hires a young woman (Samantha) to manage game production, she instantly becomes a target for leering come-ons and misogynist outbursts. Naturally, since this is an R-rated sex comedy, she's perfectly fine with such obscene treatment and eventually falls for Alex's nearly nonexistent charm. While high, and seconds before passing out, she performs an extremely sexual dance.

A statue of a nude woman's torso is seen mounted over a fireplace as if it's a hunting trophy.

Violent Content

The video games Alex and Co. are working on are typical, violent, Doom or Halo look-alikes. Animated bodies are ripped apart, shredded with bullets and/or bludgeoned. Alex kicks one co-worker and threatens another. We hear the sounds of a man and a chimpanzee fighting.

Crude or Profane Language

A couple-dozen s-words. And twice that many f-words. A multitude of other crudities and a few obscenities assail viewers. Characters make obscene gestures and profane God's name.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Alex can't stand to be separated from his marijuana stash. He and pretty much everybody else in the film smoke a multitude of varietals, to borrow a term from the oenophiles, just about as often as Edward R. Murrow smokes cigarettes in Good Night, and Good Luck. Drug paraphernalia litters the screen, sometimes all but obscured by clouds of toxic smog. These characters don't have casual acquaintanceships with pot, they have all-encompassing love-affairs. Even Samantha, who appears to have her act together at the office, can't wait to get her lips wrapped around a joint or a bong once the workday is done.

Coming along for the free ride are cigarettes and booze. The latter is consumed in great quantities, and is shown to have only cute or funny aftereffects—it never generates a hangover. The day after getting smashed on tequila and weed, Alex and Samantha appear to be just fine, thank you very much.

One of Grandma's roomies eats nothing but paint, flowers and prescription medication. So she walks around in a perpetual haze. And then she adds marijuana to the mix.

Other Negative Elements

Scorning education, a master game developer named J.P. rants, "Who needs school? All I ever cared about were video games, and now I'm a millionaire." J.P.'s mental "oddities"—he often pretends that he is a robot—are maliciously and mercilessly mocked. A running joke involves a game tester who hates himself and frequently expresses his desire to be dead. Passing gas serves as endless entertainment for many of the characters.


Grandma's Boy opens with a 10-second scene from the classic arcade game Galaga. It's the only one worth watching.

In the tradition of Dude Where's My Car?, Half-Baked, How High, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and the Friday movies, Grandma's Boy inhales the "hilarity" that is known as drug abuse. I put hilarity in quotes because, beyond the fact that the idea of abusing drugs isn't funny unless you are abusing drugs, this whole pretending-to-be-high-for-the-camera shtick is becoming toweringly tedious. Do we really need to see some self-made slacker sitting on a couch wasting his life away while getting wasted—again? And again? And again?

The only twist here is that Alex loves his grandma. And his grandma loves his pot. I can hear the pitch meeting now: "No, no, Mr. 20th Century Fox Executive, this isn't just a rollicking rehash of How High. It's got octogenarians from Everybody Loves Raymond, The Partridge Family and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood all getting stoned!"

"Then by all means, proceed," comes the answer.

And the disastrous result is now available for all to see. Or not. A recent nationwide study of more than 6,500 children and 532 movies reports that 38% of smokers ages 10 to 14 started their cigarette habit after seeing it on the big screen. And that those who witnessed the most smoking onscreen were two-and-a-half times more likely to smoke than those who saw the least. I can only wonder if the same statistics apply to marijuana. Because we already know that lots of 10- to 14-year-olds see R-rated movies.

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Allen Covert as Alex; Linda Cardellini as Samantha; Peter Dante as Dante; Doris Roberts as Grandma Lilly; Shirley Jones as Grace; Shirley Knight as Bea; Joel David Moore as J.P.; Kevin Nealon as Mr. Cheezle


Nicholaus Goossen ( )


20th Century Fox



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In Theaters

On Video

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Steven Isaac

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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