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The Mitchells vs. the Machines | 2021 | PG | – 1.4.1

content-ratingsWhy is “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” rated PG? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “action and some language.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes discussion of sexual orientation, awkward flirting scenes between preteens, many scenes of battles between humans and robots and a Smartphone that leads to humans being captured and encased in pods, scenes of robots being destroyed, many arguments, and some name-calling. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A teen girl (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) reluctantly agrees to a road trip with her squabbling family (voiced by Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph and Eric Andre) to attend her orientation before attending film school. Meanwhile, an angry Smartphone persona takes over the world’s electronic devices for a tech uprising that interrupts the trip and as the only people not captured by robots, the family must make peace and save the planet from technology gone awry. Also with the voices of Michael Rianda, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Charlyne Yi, Blake Griffin, Conan O’Brien and Doug the Pug. Directed by Michael Rianda & Jeff Rowe. [Running Time: 1:53]

The Mitchells vs. the Machines SEX/NUDITY 1

 – We hear that a teenage girl is dating a woman. A preteen boy has a crush on a preteen girl, stutters, talks fast, shouts “I hate you” and runs away from her. A preteen boy awkwardly asks a preteen girl to visit him at his house and she agrees. A man seems to have trouble relating to his teen daughter because she alternates between wearing female and male clothing.
 A preteen boy on a trip asks to use the toilet and the scene cuts to the boy exiting a porta-potty and saying he was just reading.
 A woman wears a tight-fitting knit shirt that reveals cleavage. A shirtless man (we see his bare back, chest and abdomen) washes his face in a drinking fountain. A man, a woman, a teen girl, and a younger boy run nude across a lawn with large pieces of cardboard covering them from below the shoulders to the knees.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – A man tells a Smartphone persona that she is important, then takes the phone onto a stage, tells an audience the persona is obsolete, and throws the phone hard onto the stage; the man introduces robots as updated personal assistants and lights flash in the robots, the phone orders the robots to capture the audience and one robot leans forward, saying, “Remain calm while we capture you,” as people struggle, but a robot army captures the audience and everyone else in the world except one family of four; we see scenes of abandoned buildings and pileups of crashed cars, but no people and we see men, women, and children sucked into individual pods that float to places where walls of pods come together in rhomboids 128 stories high. A Smartphone captures a man and has a robot rub nacho cheese in his face, punch him in the stomach (he shouts in pain), and dump him into a toilet before placing him into a pod. A Smartphone flips across a floor in anger, shouting and screaming.
 Robots wreck a roadside cafe with power beams, breaking windows that shatter as people scream. A man stomps on his family’s cell phones and tells his children they must be prepared to eat their dog; the children scream. A teen girl and a preteen boy fall off a roof, but are uninjured. A man, a woman, and a child hang from a cable before falling to the ground safely. Two robots are smashed by falling statues, but appear unharmed.
 We see hundreds of talking appliances being hostile; some appliances seem to run through a corridor chasing humans and robots, a robot is hit by a falling trash receptacle (it is OK), a toaster steams and pops up toast that reads “ur toast,” appliances shout “give up the laptop,” we see the word “carnage,” a Smart-tennis-racket beats a man (no injuries are shown), and several Roombas fall down an elevator shaft and emit smoke; a five-story Furby breaks through a store wall and chases humans and robots as it shouts, “Let the Dark Harvest begin!” and it is joined by small Furbies that call out in squeaky voices, “We must have revenge”; a family jumps onto a large Furby after it fires beams from its eyes to destroy a computer server, and it falls and hangs upside down in the rafters, losing power. A man breaks a store window with a crash and steals tires. A dog and a boy each run headlong into a wall (they are not hurt).
 Two adults and two children go to a tech HQ, disable robots and take their armor; disguised as robots, they are captured and placed in a cylinder that rolls along a ramp and crashes to release the shaken people without injury. A man falls through a broken glass floor and is placed in a pod and a woman is captured and put in a pod; they later release themselves with screwdrivers. A teen girl is encased in pink crystal and floats to meet a Smartphone; they argue, and the girl is sent hurtling 128 stories down, but a man fires a crystallizing beam to save her. A teen girl grabs a Smartphone and throws it to the ground, but it hits a dog’s head and ricochets into a glass of water, where it shorts out and dies. A man grabs hold of his teen daughter’s laptop and a struggle with shouting causes the machine to slam to the floor with a loud crash, breaking the screen and causing the machine to lose power; the girl storms away angrily. A man grabs a laptop and slams it on a counter several times, breaking it.
 A man, a teen girl, and a woman fight robots in separate battles, using punches and kicks; the girl uses images of a dog that the robots cannot decide if it is a dog, a pig, or a loaf of bread, to make hundreds of robot heads short out and fall off. A woman fights robots whose arms end in points instead of hands; destroying several, she takes the forearm of one robot as a sword and cuts up other such robots, even cutting one in half lengthwise (no inner workings appear, just a blank area, and we see grease splatter like blood). A man and a teen girl shoot several robots with power beams and cause them to fall to the ground, shorting out in sparks. A brilliant, huge white light blinds robots and a woman comes out of the light looking like a warrior carrying a large sword; robots cower as she screams at them for having placed her preteen son in a pod and we see him riding on her back. A huge wall of people encased in pods falls slowly to the ground and everyone escapes to leave piles of debris everywhere; sobbing parents find their teen daughter unconscious and likely dead in the debris, but she pranks them by suddenly lifting a dog that licks her father in the mouth (which he hates) and everyone laughs.
 A scene and a flashback show robots (like “Star War” Stormtroopers) flying through the sky, accompanied by glowing balls of light as two adults and two children in a car shout about the robots as the car swerves back and forth and flaming mortars are seen behind them. A car swerves in a few scenes on a road, a glass bridge, and a glass wall. A teen girl who cannot drive tries to drive a stick shift car and squeals the tires several times. A car has a flat tire that emits flames, and it falls over a bridge to crash onto a floor (no one was in it). Humans and robots go to an abandoned mall and a large knife sails into the frame from off-screen and sticks in a wall.
 A father constantly berates his wife and two children for using Smartphones and electronic tablets; he forbids the use of them at dinnertime, belittles his daughter’s choice of an education in digital filmmaking and graphic design, and argues with her. Robots tell humans to use a kill code to shut down a smartphone persona that has taken over the world.
 The film is filled with bright colors and loud metal and thrasher music and several scenes include memes with clashing and flashing colors; one meme is a teen girl in the air above a wide yellow fire and she is screaming in anger. Two scenes feature a close-up of a male gibbon croaking loudly. A video shows people walking away from a burning building at night, a teen girl with her head exploding into flames (she comes back whole), and a young boy jumping out a shattering glass window unharmed.
 A family on a mule ride in a canyon in the rain passes a mule being washed away on a river and a man shouts, “Get to the bridge if you want to live!” A man gets caught in a rope ankle trap and is pulled up into a tree where a possum slaps his face several times and he later takes the animal inside his house where it continues to slap him. A man drives through a long line of orange barrels and receives a traffic citation.
 A teen girl says her family all received rabies shots, but we do not see this. A preteen boy on a trip asks to use the toilet and the scene cuts to the boy exiting a porta-potty and saying he was just reading. A man snores loudly in a car. A dog licks a man in the mouth in several scenes, as the man yells about it; the dog lies on the floor in one scene and licks the floor several times. A goopy cupcake hits a dog in the ear and sticks there. In a home video shown at school, a dog eats a talking hamburger, and the class blows raspberries and laughs at the girl that filmed the scene; she looks sad. A video shows a dog spitting out pizza slices and a police badge. Bugs crawl on a hamburger in a diner scene and we then see a family of four with backs to the camera, loudly retching over a roadside guardrail and vomiting (we do not see goo). A dog eats a paper wad. A man chokes on a burrito and spits it out.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines LANGUAGE 1

 – 2 mild anatomical terms, name-calling (idiot, idiotic, crazy, weird, stupid, foolish, goobers, dummy, maniac, suck-up, scumbags, meaningless garbage, garbage, cowardly, mouth-breathers), exclamations (dang it, oh my gosh, heck, whoa, whoo, whoops, wow, ugh), 3 religious exclamations (Oh My God). | profanity glossary |

The Mitchells vs. the Machines SUBSTANCE USE

 – None.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Fantasy, robot apocalypse, digital arts, reliance on technology, courage, communication, understanding, honesty, being oneself, changing one’s dysfunctional behaviors, working together, getting along, anger, resentment, jealousy, fear, love, memories, being laughed at, helping others, overcoming oppression, maturing, saying goodbye.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines MESSAGE

 – The problems within a family are worth the effort to resolve.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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