Shorts parents guide

Shorts Parent Guide

Jumping randomly from one mini story to the next like a cartoon on caffeine, this film about making your wishes come true may appeal most to audience members with very short attention spans.

Overall C+

When Toby Thompson (Jimmy Bennett) finds a rainbow-striped rock capable of granting his every wish, the unpopular boy is sure his prospects are looking up. But when the other neighborhood kids and their parents get their hands on the magic stone, the whole world turns upside-down.

Release date August 21, 2009

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

Why is Shorts rated PG? The MPAA rated Shorts PG for mild action and some rude humor.

Run Time: 89 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

About all filmmaker Robert Rodriguez doesn’t seem to have done during the production of his latest family film was sew costumes and cater lunches. He may have been too busy in his roles as director, producer, writer, cinematographer, music composer, visual effects supervisor and film editor to worry about sandwiches.

He does, however, manage to find time to procure roles for three of his five children. Rocket and his brother Rebel star as schoolyard bullies who carry out the demands of the bossy and cruel Helvetica Black (Jolie Vanier). His son Rebel plays Lug, a young boy who uses the powers of a magical, rainbow-colored rock to conjure up an imposing rock fortress and a float of crocodiles.

But Lug isn’t the only kid to take advantage of the mysterious stone. When Toe Thompson (Jimmy Bennett) finds the rock and discovers its abilities, he believes all his problems at home with his sister (Kat Dennings) and at school are over. The first item on his wish list is friends. Yet before long, the flotilla of tiny alien spaceships that appear to keep him company prove to be more troublesome than friendly.

Tossed around the neighborhood of Black Falls, the polished, multi-striped aggregate grants the innermost desires of other adults and kids as well. Unfortunately most of the residents don’t make particularly wise choices when it comes to having their hopes realized. Their adventures with the rock unfold in a series of non-sequential shorts that take place at school, at the office and in the homes of the unusual residents that inhabit the town.

While the storyline resembles the fanciful undertakings seen in Rodriguez’s early family-oriented films (Spy Kids 1, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over as well as The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D) where bullied children also live secret, powerful lives, parents may be less comfortable with this script’s amount of mimicable violence. Toe is stuffed into a garbage can headfirst even after trying to talk his way out of trouble with a gaggle of goons. On the way home, the boys pelt him with rocks and he falls from a tree after being knocked out. As a way to taunt Toe, a mean-spirited classmate swallows his pet fish, hits Toe in the head repeatedly and calls him names. Not only do students fall from the roof of the school after falling through an open window, there are also kids who intentionally break the windows of a house to gain access to the inside. Although most of these stunts are played for comedy, they, along with plenty of more fantastical depictions of a destructive robot, a defecating Pterodactyl and a living piece of nasal mucus may be too graphic and/or gross for younger viewers.

Jumping randomly from one mini story to the next like a cartoon on caffeine, this film about making your wishes come true may appeal most to audience members with very short attention spans.

Starring Jimmy Bennett, James Spader, Kat Dennings, Robert Rodriguez . Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release August 21, 2009. Updated

Rating & Content Info

Why is Shorts rated PG? Shorts is rated PG by the MPAA for mild action and some rude humor.

Bullies, adult and child, molest their employees and classmates with name-calling, threats, physical aggression and yelling. Students hit a boy with rocks. A character is stuffed in a garbage can and later falls from a tree. Students fall off the roof of a school. Characters are attacked by miniature aliens, a giant robot, chased by crocodiles, and carried off by a dinosaur. An explosion occurs in a science class covering the students with an unknown substance. A girl intentionally swallows a live fish. Siblings fight among themselves. A married couple experience stress and alienation because of a shared work project. A boy is swallowed by a crocodile and defecated on by a flying dinosaur. A boy repeatedly picks his nose. A blob of his mucus turns into a living, animated monster. A boy is covered with mucus after meeting up with the monster. Adults attack one another at a house party. Boys break a house window and enter the premise illegally. Characters scuffle with one another. A character is hit in the head and knocked out. Characters ride motorcycles without a helmet and talk on the phone while driving. Characters are frequently in peril. The script includes mild crude humor and a term of Deity.

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Shorts Parents' Guide

How are families portrayed in this film? Which family would you rather live with, the Thompsons, the Noseworthys, the Blacks or Lug and his brothers?

Robert Rodriguez often features bullied children in his films. How can children and teens best deal with bullies? How can adults help intervene? What positive attempts does Toe make to reason with the bullies?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Shorts movie is November 24, 2009. Here are some details…

Release Date: 27 November 2009

Shorts on DVD offers both the widescreen and full screen presentations of the movie. Audio tracks are available in Dolby Digital 5.1Audio (English, French and Spanish), with subtitles in English, French and Spanish. Bonus materials include:

- Featurette: Ten Minute Film School: Making of Short Shorts and Ten Minute Cooking School: Chocolate Chip Volcano Cookies.

Shorts on Blu-ray comes a combo pack including DVD and Digital Copies of the movie. Audio tracks are available in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) and Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French and Spanish), with subtitles in French and English. Extra features provided are:

- Featurette: Ten Minute Film School: Making of Short Shorts, Ten Minute Cooking School: Chocolate Chip Volcano Cookies, Magic Of Shorts and Shorts Show And Tell.

- BD-Live features

Related home video titles:

Although actor Jimmy Bennett is only 13-years-old, he already has an impressive number of credits on his acting resume, including roles as a pint-sized superhero in Daddy Day Care, the son of a shipbuilder in Evan Almighty, and a young James T. Kirk in Star Trek.

Writer/director Robert Rodriguez is also the creative force behind the Spy Kids franchise (Spy Kids 1, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over).