Australian Council on Children and the Media

Are we there yet?

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 8s (Viol. Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Are we there yet?
  • a review of Are we there yet? completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 March 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to the level of violence and adult themes this movie is not recommended for children under 8.
Children aged 8-13 Should be okay to see this movie with parental guidance.
Children over the age of 13 Should be okay to see this movie with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Are we there yet?
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes
Length 95 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Single mum Suzanne is bringing up her two children Kevin and Lindsay who live in hope that she will get back together again with their father. Consequently, they desperately try to sabotage any attempts Suzanne makes to meet a new man. Nick works in a toy store across the road from Suzanne and is attracted by her beauty. Nick is obsessed with his new four-wheel drive, loves gadgets and hates children. He does his best to impress Suzanne by pretending that he’s interested in Kevin and Lindsay, but they are definitely not going to make any attempt to like Nick.

Suzanne has to travel to Canada on business and has arranged for her former husband to bring the children. However when he declares he’s too sick to take the children, Nick reluctantly agrees to go with them. As it happens, they are refused entry in to the airport and miss the train so Nick and the children decide to drive to Canada. The trip turns out to be eventful in many ways and Suzanne is left to wonder whether her children will ever arrive.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

family break-up

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a lot of violence in this movie all done for laughs with no one getting seriously hurt, such as the following:

  • Kevin and Lindsay pelt a would-be suitor with tomatoes and throw marbles in his path so he falls over, whereupon they assault him with glue balls.
  • Nick throws a ball at a child who’s trying to steal from his shop.
  • Airport security guards all jump on Nick because he has a pocket knife on him.
  • Nick gets an electric shock trying to jumpstart car in the rain and is thrown backwards.
  • Lindsay drives the car and knocks Nick over.
  • An axe falls on Nick’s groin
  • A truck pushes Nick’s car off the road and it crashes into a ditch.
  • A deer attacks Kevin and Nick.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Most of the material is not particularly scary except for the following:

  • Kevin and Lindsay see their father with another woman and a new baby, which upsets them greatly.
  • Kevin and Nick are feeding a deer when it gets startled and starts attacking them both; the attack goes on for quite a while.
  • Nick leaves a cigarette lighter in the car, which ignites the plastic causing the car to explode.
  • Kevin collapses from an asthma attack.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group would probably not be scared by this movie except for the deer attacking Nick and Kevin and Kevin having an asthma attack.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children above thirteen are unlikely to be disturbed by scenes in this film.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

There are a few sexual references:

  • A few references are made to Suzanne’s physique.
  • The children call Nick a sex maniac.
  • Lindsay quotes her Mum as saying that if a man’s not married by the time he’s 35 he’s “either damaged or gay”.
  • Lindsay tells Nick he has intimacy problems.
  • It is said that ‘Vancouver produces more playmates than any other city in the world.’

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern.

Use of substances

None of concern.

Coarse language

There is occasional use of damn and bugger.

In a nutshell

The take home messages from the movie is that children aren’t to blame for their parents’ separation and that people are more important than possessions.

The following themes and content could be used by parents to discuss with their children what their own family’s values are, and what the real life consequences can be of some actions and attitudes:

  • reasons for a father leaving his family and starting a new one with another woman
  • treating people with aggression and disrespect
  • defining success by what car you drive
  • bribing children to behave well
  • laughing at others’ misfortunes

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