Roll Bounce parents guide

Roll Bounce Parent Guide

Overall B

Looking like Saturday Night Fever on wheels, this 1970s disco era story follows a group of African-American youth (lead by Bow Wow) that challenge a gang of over-confident white kids (headed up by Wesley Jonathan) to a roller skating match.

Release date September 22, 2005

Violence B
Sexual Content B-
Profanity C
Substance Use A-

Why is Roll Bounce rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Roll Bounce PG-13 for language and some crude humor.

Parent Movie Review

Sometimes you can’t help but feel you’re in for a bad time at the movies. After viewing the trailer for Roll Bounce, it seemed to have all the makings of a disaster… a sort of Saturday Night Fever with wheels. A soundtrack full of popular songs (often a cheap attempt to attract 40-somethings to an otherwise lame film) further raised my suspicions.

Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised in the opening minutes to be introduced to a cast of older African-American teens. Although they live on Chicago’s south side, they break many of the typical movie stereotypes. They are simply depicted as intelligent, fun-seeking kids living in modest houses. We don’t see any of the usual drugs and guns, or hear a litany of four-letter words.

This refreshing start leads to the next surprise: A reasonably interesting plot. Xavier (Bow Wow) is a young man grieving over the recent death of this mother. He and his little sister live with their father, Curtis Smith (Chi McBride), a mechanical engineer who is also struggling with the loss of his wife and the prospect of raising his children alone.

The father-son relationship forms one storyline in this film. The other revolves around Xavier, his friends, and their favorite pastime: Roller-skating.

It’s 1978, and Chicago—like many cities at that time—has an active roller-skating culture. Xavier (known as X ), Mixed Mike (Khleo Thomas), Bernard (Nick Cannon), Naps (Rick Gonzalez), Boo (Marcus Paulk), and Junior (Brandon T. Jackson) are all passionate about the four-wheeled sport. Joining them during this pivotal summer is Tori (Jurnee Smollett), the new gal on the block. She just wants to hang out and have fun with the guys, but she isn’t the swiftest kid on a pair of skates.

In an impressive extension of kindness, X does his best to teach Tori the basics by having her follow him on his paper route. This young man’s patience and understanding underscores his serious coming-of-age attitude, as well as explaining his determination to become a championship skater.

When their aging neighborhood rink shuts down, the gang is forced to find another venue. The boys check out a flashy disco-like rink in a trendier district known for hosting the ultimate roller-skating competition. A few jibes from a cool skater named Sweetness (Wesley Jonathan) leaves our heroes determined to pit their skills against these literal high rollers (who also look twice their age). The upcoming contest means intense practicing, which keeps them busy for days. Meanwhile, X also needs to settle the anger he still feels over his mother’s passing, which is beginning to destroy his relationship with his dad.

This rink isn’t completely clear of content obstacles. While there are relatively few profanities, parents will still find some moments of sexual innuendo. Yet, the overall tone of the film is quite innocent, and the positive relationships depicted help to overshadow these points of possible concern.

Notwithstanding the relatively inexperienced cast, the performances in Roll Bounce are all worthy of your box office donation. Bow Wow proves he is capable of some real drama, and holds his character well in the vast variety of scenes. He and Chi McBride also have a natural cadence between them that makes the film easy to watch. And for guys like me who were doing a little disco in ‘78—the music is great.

Starring Bow Wow, Chi McBride, Mike Epps. Theatrical release September 22, 2005. Updated

Roll Bounce
Rating & Content Info

Why is Roll Bounce rated PG-13? Roll Bounce is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for language and some crude humor.

These teen characters use some mild profanities, and one offers “the finger” in a moment of anger. However, such incidents are few and the young characters are usually considerate, even though they frequently tease each other. In a fit of rage, Xavier begins smashing his father’s already broken-down car, yet this scene offers a great moment of consolation between them. More content extends from adult characters, including women who dress provocatively and characters that remark about male and female anatomy. On a positive note, Curtis is committed to not drinking alcohol, and shows great compassion, patience, and physical restraint with his son.

Talk about the movie with your family…

Page last updated

Roll Bounce Parents' Guide

Xavier’s anger toward God for his mother’s loss is a common reaction. What good may come from this unfortunate circumstance? How has his father chosen to deal with his grief?

Curtis chooses to lie to Xavier about his employment situation. Was he justified in doing so? Do you think Xavier had the maturity to understand his father’s situation?

Video alternatives…

Flashbacks to the 1970s create some humor in the movie Fat Albert. Another group of teens face off in the film Drumline—only this time they are members of a marching band.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Roll Bounce movie is December 12, 2005. Here are some details…

Rolling onto DVD in either wide or full screen, Twentieth Century Fox takes you behind the rink with a making-of featurette, a look at the film’s 70s stylin’, a profile on Bow Wow, and commentaries from actors Bow Wow, Chi McBride and Mike Epps, the director Malcolm Lee as well as the producers and screen writers. Other disco ball glitter includes twelve deleted scenes (with optional commentary), a gag reel, a Cinemax Special, music video and soundtrack spot. Audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Surround 5.1) with subtitles in English and Spanish.

Related home video titles:

Flashbacks to the 1970s create some humor in the movie Fat Albert. Another group of teens face off in the film Drumline—only this time they are members of a marching band.