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The Willoughbys | 2020 | PG | – 1.4.2

content-ratingsWhy is “The Willoughbys” rated PG? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “rude humor and some thematic elements.” The evaluation includes a few kissing scenes, some cleavage, and a man wearing only underwear; many scenes of parents abusing their children, scenes of children imagining the demise of their parents, many scenes of children undertaking dangerous activity with no injuries, scenes of natural disasters, and wild animal attacks and accidents that leave people at risk of dying; and some name-calling and exclamations. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”

The neglected and unwanted Willoughby children send their selfish, abusive parents (voiced by Martin Short and Jane Krakowski) on a dangerous, fake vacation. The siblings then go on their own adventure to find love and family, juggling interference from a nanny (voiced by Maya Rudolph) and Orphan Services. Also with the voices of Will Forte, Alessia Cara, Ricky Gervais, Sean Cullen and Terry Crews. Directed by Kris Pearn & Rob Lodermeier. [Running Time: 1:32]

The Willoughbys SEX/NUDITY 1

 – A man and a woman who call each other Mother and Father kiss in close-up in several scenes. For a few seconds a man and a woman become frozen in a pile of snow that forms around them as they kiss; the man says, “Oh Mother, you are my home.” A man gargle-purrs at his wife three times in a type of sexual response when she calls him manly.
 A woman wears a scoop-neck top that reveals cleavage and overalls that cling to her buttocks. We see a nude baby from the back, featuring its buttocks. A man wearing only briefs looks like a pink ball with toothpick limbs.

The Willoughbys VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – Abusive parents live in a dark old house with dusty, stuffed game animals and paintings of generations of men with huge red mustaches; they call their life “old fashioned” and say they do not like or want children, yet they have four (a preteen boy and girl, and young twin boys), and no one in the family ever goes out of the house; the two youngest boys have the same name and speak in sinister voices.
 A man grabs his infant son by the hair and dumps him in a hallway. Four children say they are afraid to talk or sing in the house. A man shouts at his children in many scenes. A man and a woman will not let their children eat any food and their bodies look like toothpicks, and they have bushy red hair. A man tells his preteen son that he may not eat and locks him into a closet that turns out to be a coal bin; a nanny is shown the bin and displays outrage at hearing children are locked into it.
 A girl finds a shuddering box outside her front gate and screams, and we later see her in her house pulling a smiling infant from the box until her parents see the baby and throw her, the infant and her three siblings out onto the street; a preteen boy dodges two buses and a third speeds past him, he escapes from three separate cars, dashes into traffic and each time causes another car to swerve and crash (we hear a bang but see no damage) and the third time another car bangs into two cars for a pile-up without injuries.
 A train is covered by an avalanche and a couple inside run out of the train and through snow as well as a snow storm; they become cold, kiss, and freeze in place under a pile of snow as their four children build a dirigible ship with candy and a van and fly it to the Swiss Alps, where it loses power, so they drive the van through the sky, they find snow covered columns that look like people (they are trees) and a preteen girl says, “It’s like a yard of graves”; the children put flares around a man and a woman freezing in ice and a cat licks their eyes open, the couple knocks down the four children and steals the dirigible to fly away, but crash in the far distance (we hear they died, but later see them floating on a piece of metal as a shark jumps over them toward the camera and their death by shark is implied). A man falls into shooting lava. A guide is dumped into some hot springs, chased by sharks and then by a roaring bear and by three jumping piranhas, one of which chews on his boot (off-screen; we hear a scream). A rhino charges by a man and a woman. Four children shudder, freezing in a snow storm; a preteen girl sings about rainbows and a man and a woman break through ice and snow to save the kids, a preteen boy is stuck to some ice by his hands and feet and a cat melts the ice with magic power light emanating from its body. Four children, an infant, and a cat ride on a man’s back as he flies through the sky.
 A realtor’s open house features a doorknob that electrifies a man and shows his flashing skeleton and later electrifies a family of four and their cat, showing skeletons; loud music plays as a woman is ejected into the sky by a floor panel spring, a man is punched by a boxing glove coming from a painting, a catapult launches a couple out a window, a pendulum launches another couple out of a door, a taxidermied bear roars and causes men and women to run, and a trap door propels a man to the basement; a woman using a walker falls through a hole in the floor and disappears, and a boy falls off the top of a taxidermied bear and a cell phone sticks on his nose (he is unhurt). Children lock a nanny into her bedroom, but they see red mist coming from the attic stairs as a family of four and their cat run down screaming and out of the front door as a deep voice rumbles. Children find darkness and hundreds of candles lit in an attic as if in a cult scene; they find a huge roaring insect with a golden mask like a skull and when the mask comes off, they see the nanny wearing a costume. An army of black-frocked bluish aliens with sunglasses marches into a house and confront a nanny, who runs out crying; the aliens, agents of Orphan Services, remove the children to foster homes, and they throw the preteen boy into a cell at headquarters where he refuses to eat oatmeal. A duck falls over and is later tied to a rope and used as an anchor for an airship. A child uses a catapult to send a book flying through an open window. A woman uses a catapult to send a preteen boy into a closed window with a “splat” but he is unharmed.
 A woman steals a guard’s uniform, makes a mustache with her own hairs and breaks a preteen boy out of Orphan Services detention after hitting him in the head with a pillow several times; several cars chase the woman’s van, but slam into a gate to make a pile up of cars as another car honks at them; on the way out, the van is electrified and the driver shouts and grimaces until she is able to get through the gate and she repeatedly swerves in traffic causing other drivers honk.
 Children long to be orphans and conspire to send their parents on a fake vacation through a made-up travel agency. A travel brochure comes into a house on a zip line and a woman screams and knocks things off a table. A woman says that Orphan Services is like locking a puppy in a cage. A row of portraits glows and one image speaks to a boy about family responsibility and greatness. A young girl says nannies sometimes eat children. A young girl says she wants a hippo to eat her father. A man texts to a nanny about his children, “Dispose of the children as you wish.” Two preteen siblings argue loudly several times. A nanny shouts at a preteen boy a few times. A man rumbles in a loud voice several times. Two women argue a few times, shouting, and a teen girl shouts at one of the women.
 Construction paper scenes show lava spewing from mountains, two sharks with large teeth jumping at a man and a woman, a bear with large teeth attacking, and the couple boiling in a cannibal cauldron, freezing in a ball of ice, and dissolving in acid.
 A baby speeds through a house, sliding on banisters and falling into a fireplace, bouncing out without harm, and jumping onto a tall potted tree; sliding down, it has its hair cut off by a falling sword, without injury. A preteen boy slides down a banister into his kitchen and comes out with a tray holding a huge lobster on coal chunks; the lobster is taxidermied and it explodes when he cuts it. A cat sits in a street, quickly stopping a bus and a passenger slams into the front windshield, but is unharmed.
 A woman cuts her husband’s hair to use for yarn and he looks scared; two lice sit in the yarn and one louse knits. A butcher whacks a ham in half with a large cleaver and a lumberjack saws a tree in half loudly. A baby vomits a ball of yarn (there’s no slime). A baby drools slime onto a window. A baby dives into a meatloaf, becoming covered in gravy. Children slurp oatmeal loudly and a nanny fights with a boy to eat, the oats landing all over her face. A woman’s phone falls into a bowl of oatmeal. A baby rides conveyor belts in a candy factory and gorges itself on chocolate. Gray pellets shoot into the air and a man says the baby “poops” so much it keeps him awake. An alien-like man asks a woman if she is wearing toilet paper and she says she made a costume of it. A man and a woman pile luggage 100 feet high on their car and some falls off as they speed around a corner.

The Willoughbys LANGUAGE 2

 – 1 mild scatological term, name-calling (weird, boring, selfish, evil, mean, short-panted, mustache-less, backwater town, bad parents, bad nanny, beast, crackers, gullible, thing, sugar daddy, silly orange boy, silly bones, ridiculous, mushroom heads, devil woman, Candy Man, Skin and Bones, Will-not-be), exclamations (blimey, hmpf, yuck, oh boy, oh dear, diddly do, what in blue blazes, what the Willoughby, where the Willoughby). | profanity glossary |

The Willoughbys SUBSTANCE USE

 – Two empty wine glasses are shown on a dining room table and a full bottle of wine rolls on a kitchen floor, and a man and a woman have glasses of wine (they do not drink). A preteen drinks a large cup of coffee and a cat drinks a large cup of coffee.


 – Child abuse, parenting, orphans, foster homes, pets, responsibility, safety, loneliness, hunger, fear, reputation, compensating for inadequacies, meaning of manhood, unconditional love, meaning of family, blended families, creativity, imagination, invention, hope.

The Willoughbys MESSAGE

 – You can actually choose your own family.


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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