Arlo the Alligator Boy Parent Guide
Designed to launch a TV series for kids, this weirdly entertaining movie is off to a good start.
Parent Movie Review
Abandoned as a baby, half human and half alligator Arlo (Michael J. Woodard) has spent his life living in a swamp with his adoptive mom, Edmee (Annie Potts). On his 15th birthday, Arlo learns from Edmee that he was born in New York City to a father named Ansel Beauregard (Vincent Rodriguez III). Searching for his place in the world, the perpetually optimistic Arlo sets out on an adventure to find his dad. Along the way he’ll meet new friends, learn some lessons, and evade capture by a couple of greedy con artists who want to turn him into a tourist attraction (Jennifer Coolidge and Flea).
I’m going to be honest here: I’m not entirely sure what I just watched. This is a really weird movie, and that’s saying a lot for media aimed at young kids. That said, I mostly enjoyed myself! First, I really appreciated the animation style. I love 2D animation, and there are some beautiful sequences here, as well as some surprisingly cinematic ones. Arlo the Alligator Boy is a musical, and it has some of the best film music I’ve heard in a while. Each song is catchy, well written, and beautifully sung. I’m honestly thinking of downloading the soundtrack; it’s that good!
Where the film really shines is in its messaging. The story includes messages of friendship, belonging, being your true self, accepting differences, and staying optimistic. The overall metaphor, about not hiding your true self, is broad enough that it can apply to almost anything a child is going through, and I think that kids will be able to relate to it from a variety of angles.
As far as content goes, Arlo is relatively clean. There’s some mild cartoon violence and a few frightening sequences, plus a couple of adult jokes that will go right over kid’s heads. Aside from that, I was surprised to find some instances of stereotyping, which is odd for a story all about acceptance and being yourself. The characters that live in and around the swamp are all depicted as uneducated, violent, and poor, with a few illiteracy jokes thrown in for emphasis. On the other hand, the elites of New York are shown as vapid, shallow, and silly. It contradicts the film’s overall message and might be a good prompt for a conversation with your children about not judging on appearances.
All that said, I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. It’s definitely aimed at younger audiences, so don’t expect your tweens or teens to be interested, but I think that Arlo the Alligator Boy is a solid choice for some fun, colorful entertainment. Just be prepared for a huge helping of weirdness.Directed by Ryan Crego. Starring Michael J. Woodard, Mary Lambert, Haley Tju. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release April 16, 2021. Updated April 16, 2021
Watch the trailer for Arlo the Alligator Boy
Arlo the Alligator Boy
Rating & Content Info
Why is Arlo the Alligator Boy rated TV-PG? Arlo the Alligator Boy is rated TV-PG by the MPAA
Violence: Mild cartoon violence including punching, throwing, and kicking. An antagonist threatens other characters with a stun gun. A character is stabbed with a pitchfork, no blood or lasting injury. Some mildly scary sequences involving a “Beast” that hides in the shadows and drags a man away.
Sexual Content: A cat and cow are shown kissing. A character says, “Get a room”.
Profanity: Some minor insults such as “freak”.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man pours himself a drink at his home bar. A character eats too much sugar and has the equivalent of a drug trip.
Page last updated April 16, 2021
Arlo the Alligator Boy Parents' Guide
Why does Ansel hide his true self from the world? How does he learn to live authentically? What might we hide from the world in our own lives?
What kind of attitude does Arlo have towards his obstacles? How does this attitude help him and the people he meets?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
There are a plethora of books encouraging kids to celebrate their unique selves.
Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey follows the adventures of Thelma, a horse who wants to be a unicorn. When her dream comes true, she has some lessons to learn.
Full of mantras that can prompt positive self-talk, I Like Me by Nancy Carlson is the story of an upbeat pig whose self esteem comes from appreciating her own uniqueness and persistence.
Vibrant, simple illustrations underline Todd Parr’s message of individuality in Be Who You Are.
Differences aren’t just interesting; they’re part of what makes us special. Susann Hoffmann shares that perspective in her bright picture book, You Are Awesome.
Does your youngster struggle with a lack of confidence? Jordan Gershowitz and Sandhya Prabhat offer some lessons mixed with humor and adventure in Ignore the Trolls. In this book, Tim the Timid at ye Olde Elementary School must overcome his fear of bullies in order to achieve his dreams.
Short and unusual, Molly Lou listens to her grandfather’s advice and is proud of who she is. Her story is told by Patty Lovell and David Catrow in Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon.
Kids with ADHD will appreciate Happy Dreamer. Author Peter H Reynolds uses this story to reframe ADHD as “Amazing Delightful Happy Dreamer”.
For girls who are struggling with perfectionism or feelings of inadequacy, Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s Just Like Me provides an antidote. With its stories of varied girls and equally diverse feelings, this is a self-affirming book for young female readers. Girls might also appreciate Jane Yolen’s stereotype-busting Not All Princesses Dress in Pink.
Feeling different and being different are okay as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor teaches kids in Just Ask.
Having unusual interests doesn’t mean that something’s wrong. In the classic The Story of Ferdinand by Robert Lawson, Ferdinand the bull doesn’t want to be in bullfights; he wants to sit quietly and smell the flowers.
The most recent home video release of Arlo the Alligator Boy movie is April 16, 2021. Here are some details…
Related home video titles:
Being yourself is a consistent theme in kids movies.
Sing is an animated tale featuring critters competing in a talent show, hoping that a win will give them the chance to live their best lives.
In Wonder, a young boy born with a congenital facial deformity changes the lives and perspectives of kids and teachers at his new school.
Zootopia stars an animated bunny rabbit whose diminutive stature doesn’t prevent her from getting her dream job: becoming a police officer.
Cursed with a touch that turns everything to ice, Princess Elsa hides away from the world in Frozen until her sister goes on a quest to persuade her that her gifts are the only thing that can save their kingdom. Elsa learns even more about her unusual abilities in Frozen II.