Ron’s Gone Wrong Parent Guide
A charming, witty story will keep kids watching - and absorbing the movie's warnings about the dangers of excessive technology use.
Parent Movie Review
How would you feel about making a new friend? By that I mean bonding with a digital buddy, hardwired with complex algorithms, designed to absorb every bit of data about you so it can be your new BFF? And what if this new B*bot was on a 24/7 search for potential pals, constantly comparing your profile to other people around you? Who wouldn’t want a maintenance-free bestie who puts you in the middle of an ever-expanding web of friendship?
Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer) desperately wants a B*bot. The lonely tween is the only student at his middle school who doesn’t have one, and because he’s left out of the digital connections, he is also isolated in the real world. Living with his absent-minded widowed father (Ed Helms) and his eccentric Eastern European grandmother (Olivia Colman), Barney lacks connection at home too. So when he finally receives a B*bot as a belated birthday gift, he’s over the moon…at least until he opens the package.
What Barney doesn’t know is that his B*bot (named Ron and voiced by Zach Galifianakis) sustained a fair bit of damage falling off a truck, and it lacks the capabilities of similar devices. But it’s determined to fulfill its main purpose: being a “best friend out of the box”. Once Barney gets over his annoyance and frustration with his “defective” pal, he learns some heartwarming lessons about friendship.
This film is a LockSmith Animation production, made under the aegis of Walt Disney Studios and it measures up to the standards expected of the Mouse House. It might not be perfect but it has a touching story, charming characters, and plenty of laughs for viewers of all ages. Parents will want to be aware that the movie has some issues: the pacing occasionally drags and there are some moments of extreme peril, with a child experiencing a serious medical crisis. There is no super villain but there are scary scenes that will frighten sensitive youngsters.
Fortunately, Ron’s Gone Wrong is full of timely messages that are well suited to young viewers, the most obvious of which relate to technology. The movie makes the obvious points about the need for personal connection and the loneliness that can come from immersion in a digital world. But it also raises an often-overlooked issue in kids’ stories – online safety. The company that makes the B*bots is in the throes of a leadership battle between Marc (Justice Smith), the idealistic B*bot inventor, and Andrew (Rob Delaney), the executive who’s determined to monetize the invention. Hijacking the devices’ capabilities, Andrew turns them against their pint-sized owners, vacuuming up massive amounts of data so he can use the digital “friends” for surveillance and marketing. Given that kids tend to trust technology, parents will appreciate a movie that can help them talk to their youngsters about the need for common sense privacy protections online.
The film’s big messages are delivered in an appealing package that does more than just tell the story of a-boy-and-his-bot. Barney’s dad is given emotional openness and the ability to learn – plus a suitable wardrobe for working from home (a shirt and tie on top and sweat pants on the bottom). Savannah’s (Kylie Cantrall) experience as “Poop Girl” gives young viewers an up-close look at the horrors of cyberbullying, rounding out Barney’s experiences with being physically bullied by his peers. There’s a lot here for pint sized audiences but kids will be having so much fun watching the movie that they are unlikely to notice that they’re being educated as they are being entertained.Directed by Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine, Octavio E Rodriguez. Starring Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Olivia Colman, Ed Helms. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release October 22, 2021. Updated February 24, 2022
Watch the trailer for Ron’s Gone Wrong
Ron’s Gone Wrong
Rating & Content Info
Why is Ron’s Gone Wrong rated PG? Ron’s Gone Wrong is rated PG by the MPAA for some rude material, thematic elements and language
Violence: There are scenes of verbal bullying and cyberbullying. B*bots get involved in physical fights with children and each other, involving hitting, pushing, shoving, and throwing. Adults with nefarious designs pursue a child. A child is in situations of extreme peril and almost dies in one scene.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Profanity: A single mild swear word is used. There are several scenes of verbal bullying and mild name calling.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An adult character is shown drinking something that looks like champagne.
Page last updated February 24, 2022
Ron’s Gone Wrong Parents' Guide
Would you like a B*bot? What do you think would be the best part about having one? Do you think a B*bot would be more fun if it were like Ron or like the original version? Why?
What does this movie teach about friendship? Why do Marc and Barney think Ron is an upgrade over the original B*bots? Can you really be friends with something or someone you control completely?
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