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Movie Review

Back in 1986, Justin Schumacher and his three friends, known as the Funky Fresh Boys, were ready to throw down their power moves in a local breakdance contest. Their biggest competition was Kip Unger and his crew. Kip was also Justin's biggest rival for the attentions of the pretty Jen. (When Justin gifts her with a Garbage Pail Kid card, Kip is right there with a gold necklace.) Justin decides it's time to wow the crowd with a dangerous move he's been working on. But instead of winning the day he falls off the stage and ends up in a coma.

Twenty years later, just as Mom and Dad are about to "pull the plug," Justin wakes up a thirtysomething with the brain of a teen. The boy/man tries to adjust to his new world, but is burdened with the knowledge that his parents are about to lose their house because of his medical bills. Not only that, Jen is now engaged to marry Kip. Justin can think of only one solution—pull the Funky Fresh Boys back together and win a national dance competition. First prize: $100,000 ... and maybe, Jen's heart.

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Positive Elements

Justin comes out of his coma and decides to get his friends, Darnell, Aki and Hector, back together as his dance crew. The guys are a little hesitant at first, but eventually they rally together to support him. Jen is constantly protective of Justin and tries to shield him from Kip's verbal gibes. Justin feels responsible to pay his parents back for all the money they spent on his medical bills.

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Justin and Jen kiss passionately in the front seat of a car. She unbuttons her blouse for him. He takes advantage of that by touching her. (The camera, thankfully, swings around behind her.)

Justin's friends decide they need to teach him about women, so they talk about and show him pornographic movies on the Internet (that we don't see) and dress Hector up as a woman. Hector wears a bra in one scene and the men show Justin "techniques" for fondling a woman. During one of these "lessons" Justin mimics things he's seen on the Internet and begins to strip off his clothes.

Jen wears some low-cut, form-fitting and midriff-baring tops. A team of girls dance in skimpy shorts and bikini tops. A busty woman in Aki's office wears a revealing blouse, and the guys ask her what chance Aki has of sleeping with her.

A conversation Justin has with a kid at a toy store sounds to others as if he's trying to molest the boy. Kip quips about masturbation. Jen comments about the size of Kip's genitals. A fast-food chain's logo is shaped like male genitals. Jen talks of her menstrual flow. When young Kip gives young Jen a present he asks for a kiss in return and opens his mouth, waggling his tongue.

When Justin's parents come into the bathroom while he's in the tub, he gets up, covered in bubbles, and walks down the hall (showing full rear nudity).

Violent Content

Kip makes a comment about someone being "retarded." A mentally handicapped man responds by punching him in the mouth. When Justin first leaves the hospital it's hard for him to walk. And his parents let him fall face first on the ground and on the street. Young Justin falls off the stage and lands on his back. Darnell slaps Justin to get him to listen. When Justin is embarrassed he says he wants to kill himself. (To prove he's serious he buys soda and a bag of Pop Rocks.)

Crude or Profane Language

The f-word is blurted out once along with several uses of "effing" and "effed." The s-word shows up about 10 times. "H---," "b--ch," "a--" and "d--n" add another 40 or 50 profanities to the pack. We hear close to 10 crude references to various male and female body parts. And God's and Jesus' names are misused about 25 or 30 times total.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Justin's mom and dad give him a bottle of Ritalin to help him "calm down." And his frustrated mother says that she needs to take a couple, too. We see Justin at the bar with a colorful drink of some kind. Kip gives him what looks like an energy drink at a party. Justin tosses back the drink and then starts acting crazy and hyper.

Other Negative Elements

Darnell invents a new puzzle game he calls a "Jewbics Cube." Its sides have little pictures of the Star of David, dollar signs and (we're told) circumcised penises.

When Justin's parents decide to stop his life support, his dad says, "The kid's a vegetable." Mom responds, "I know, but I'm gonna miss the little turnip." Elsewhere, Justin gets nervous and throws up on a dancer's face. There are crude uses of the epithet "fag." Justin grabs handfuls of chocolate cake and mimics defecation. During competition, Aki takes a girl's towel, pulls down his pants and wipes it back-and-forth between his legs.

Conclusion

The 1988 movie Big told the tale of a boy named Josh who makes a wish to be a grownup and the next morning finds himself, still a boy, but in a 30-year-old body. It had a few rough spots (Josh touches a girl's breast in that one, too), but as a whole was an endearingly funny comedy about a kid trying to comprehend adult life while rejuvenating everyone around him with his forthright innocence. And it didn't make grownups the bad guys, either. They'd just somehow lost their way to that special state of wonder. Tom Hanks' childlike portrayal was perfectly balanced. Josh loved life as an adult, but yearned to be a boy in his family's embrace.

Kickin' It Old Skool takes that same idea and substitutes a 20-year coma for the overnight magic. But everywhere Big was rich and charming, Kickin' is shallow and obnoxious. This flick has no warmth, creativity or respect. Humor ranges from distasteful race and handicap jokes to tedious sexual and scatological groaners. (An obese man has his "breasts" roughly groped. And a homeless man urinates on people—repeatedly. Need I continue?)

The script is weak, the acting is terrible and the love story is absurd. Star Jamie Kennedy creates one of the most obnoxious characters to ever blemish the big screen. Maria Menounos works hard as the romantic interest, but Katharine Hepburn and Meryl Streep—in their prime and tag-teaming—couldn't make us believe that any sane person would be attracted to this guy. Mom and Dad are typical Hollywood-style parental idiots. Even the breakdancing is dreadful. And the list of negatives goes endlessly on.

When I went to see Kickin' on its first day of release (the studio heads responsible for this travesty thought so little of it that they didn't bother screening it in advance), the theater was empty except for me. As the credits rolled, I imagined that every moviegoer in the state had already gotten the bad word and decided to go to someone's house and watch a favorite video instead. I gotta give them my number.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Jamie Kennedy as Justin Schumacher; Maria Menounos as Jennifer Stone; Miguel A. Núñez Jr. as Darnell Jackson; Michael Rosenbaum as Kip Unger; Christopher McDonald as Marty Schumacher; Debra Jo Rupp as Sylvia Schumacher

Director

Harvey Glazer ( )

Distributor

Yari Film Group

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

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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