Four Kids and It Parent Guide
While this film is no marvel of children's cinema, it's kid-friendly entertainment with good moral lessons.
Parent Movie Review
Bookworm Ros (Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen) and her little brother, Robbie (Billy Jenkins) are grieving the absence of their mother, who has left them to “find herself” at university. Smash (also known as Samantha and played by Ashley Aufderheide), angry and rebellious at 13, is exorcising her rage at her absent, uncaring father by throwing rocks at the windows of empty buildings. When Ros and Robbie discover that they will be spending their holidays with Smash and her younger sister Maddie, they are almost as angry as Smash. But when they find a Psammaed, a strange CGI sand creature voiced by Michael Caine, it looks like their dreams have come true.
The Psammead is a magical being who grants wishes – one a day, but nothing longer than a sentence. “You don’t want a wish,” he tells the disbelieving youngsters. “They never work out. There’s consequences.” And the four kids discover the consequences almost immediately. As the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.”
Parents might not find Four Kids and It to be the pinnacle of cinematic achievement but it doesn’t contain a lot of negative content. There is some minor social drinking and some plot driven violence, none of which is terribly scary for most kids over age six or so. There’s plenty of flatulence humor, but kids generally think that’s a plus. (After the Psammead swells up and deflates, he tells the complaining children that their wishes depend on “enchanted stomach gases”. I sincerely hope that nobody in the probiotics industry ever sees this film. Imagine the commercials.) The movie also features a creepy character played by Russell Brand who set off my stranger danger alarm. I don’t think he’s likely to frighten most viewers, but I found him terrifying in a purely how-low-can-he-go-for-pay kind of way.
On the plus side, the film fulfills parents’ wish lists for movies with morals. The young characters learn and grow over the course of the story, eventually modeling positive behaviors like making the best of a difficult situation, working together, adapting to change, and caring for others. My biggest wish for this film is better acting; Ashley Aufderheide is particularly weak as Smash, literally smashing her way through dialogue with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. I might also mention a preference for a less disturbing-looking psammaed since the one in this film is neither cuddly nor charming. That might, however, be a blessing in disguise, since this magical critter is unlikely to spawn the avalanche of merchandise that would ensue were he cute and huggable. For such tender mercies, we can all be grateful.Directed by Andy De Emmony. Starring Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen, Pippa Haywood, and Matthew Goode. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release June 30, 2020. Updated July 3, 2020
Watch the trailer for Four Kids and It
Four Kids and It
Rating & Content Info
Why is Four Kids and It rated PG? Four Kids and It is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic elements, some rude/suggestive comments, fantasy violence and language.
Violence: A main character throws a suitcase downstairs. Teens throw rocks through the windows in an abandoned building. Characters push and hit one another. A child falls off a cliff face; he is unharmed. A character knocks another one over. A character mentions pulling the wings off creatures. A couple tussles for a phone and falls off a ladder. Mention of shooting an animal in a hunting context. Mention of shooting a person. A house is full of dead animals which have been stuffed. An angry person breaks glass panes in a greenhouse. A man grabs a child. A child magically pushes a man. A character burns another’s backside with magical powers. A character sends sparks after others. A man chases children with an excavator. A man eats a live worm. Children are manhandled by adults. A man administers electric shocks to a character. Adults point firearms at children. A house collapses. A man punches another man.
Sexual Content: A couple embrace each other; the man rubs the woman’s leg. A couple embrace and fall to the floor.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink moderate amounts of alcohol in social settings.
Page last updated July 3, 2020
Four Kids and It Parents' Guide
If you met a psammaed, what would you wish for? Do you think there would be consequences for those wishes? Would they be worth it?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
This film is inspired by Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit. Other children’s adventure stories by the same author include The Railway Children and The Enchanted Castle.
Related home video titles:
Disney’s classic animated feature, Aladdin, follows a homeless young man who encounters a genie that grants three wishes. He learns that getting what you want might not always be what you expect. There is also a live action version of the movie.
In Swallows & Amazons, four siblings persuade their mother to let them camp alone on an island in the middle of the lake. They encounter wannabe pirates and real Russian spies in this family-friendly adventure movie.
The four Pevensie siblings discover another world known as Narnia when they go through the back of an enchanted wardrobe. Follow their adventures in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Watch, and the Wardrobe.
Two sisters scheme to reunite their divorced parents in The Parent Trap.