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Movie Review

Jimmy Neutron may be small, but he has a big brain. He exemplifies the term "boy genius" with his numerous gadgets, which include dressing, bed-making and shoe-tying robots, a jet backpack and his amazing robotic dog, Goddard. So when all the parents in Retroville get abducted by Yokians (gooey, green, egg-shaped aliens), it’s up to Jimmy’s brain and his friends to get them back. Eye-popping 3-D animation and a high-energy soundtrack featuring Aaron Carter, ’N Sync, the Backstreet Boys and others makes this 95-minute movie fly by.

positive elements: When all the parents disappear, the children of Retroville celebrate by eating whatever they want and trashing the town. . . . But the next morning they realize there’s no one there to take care of their upset stomachs and various injuries. Not only do they figure out that they need their parents, but they’re willing to work hard and risk their lives to get them back. While Jimmy’s parents sometimes appear clueless, they set limits for their son, because as his dad says, "We only do what we do because we love you." At the end Jimmy admits that he should listen to his parents more. "I thought I knew more than you, but I need you," he says. Carl, Jimmy’s best friend, even comments that "I’ll never complain about my parents again." When Jimmy and his friends are captured and imprisoned by the Yokians, Cindy (who used to be the smartest kid until Jimmy showed up) shares her struggles with Jimmy and gives him a pep talk.

spiritual content: Jimmy gives a tacit endorsement to the theory of evolution, comparing humans to monkeys and saying their DNA only differs slightly. The Yokians worship Poultra the God of Wrath, which is a giant, three-eyed chicken. They plan to sacrifice all the parents to it.

sexual content: None. But when Carl tells Jimmy, "I didn’t think we liked girls." Jimmy answers that they don’t, but tells him that soon "hormones will overpower our better judgement" and cause us to pursue the opposite sex.

violent content: The film features wacky, cartoon violence. Early on, Jimmy inadvertently shrinks his teacher and she fights off a scary looking worm. Jimmy’s rocket wrecks the neighborhood in the beginning of the movie—without consequence. His mechanical dog blows up—twice. Flying around the house using his jetpack, Jimmy loses control, slams into a wall and sets the drapes on fire. He also develops a girl-eating plant that almost devours Cindy. Encounters with the Yokians are almost always violent. Among other things, the aliens’ robotic shells are cracked by the children, leaving them as gooey, green slime (no death is depicted).

crude or profane language: Several uses of "kick their buttocks," and Cindy says she’ll show Jimmy how "boy dinosaurs got their butts kicked by girl dinosaurs." Jimmy’s mom uses God’s name as an exclamation when the curtains catch fire. A military pilot in the beginning of the movie says, "Holy cow pies." And Nick ("the cool kid") calls Jimmy and his friends "dweebs" because they won’t sneak out of their parents houses—which they eventually do.

drug and alcohol content: None, although Nick looks like he’s smoking, until he pulls a lollipop out of his mouth.

other negative elements: Jimmy and his friends sneak out of their houses to attend the grand opening of Retroland Amusement Park. On the way home, Jimmy wishes upon a star that there were no more parents because then he’d be free to have fun all the time (fortunately, he’s shown the folly of his wishes). Some potty and bodily function humor is also interspersed.

conclusion: Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius is a slick-looking, action-packed adventure with plenty of laughs for kids and parents—and who could ask for a better theme than a child’s need for Mommy and Daddy. Young moviegoers will also learn that a little guy can accomplish big things and that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Consider the negative and positive elements outlined, then decide whether your kids should be friends with Jimmy Neutron. The film isn’t a shoo-in for acceptability, but neither is it out of the question.


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