Mr. Peabody and Sherman

 

DreamWorks Animation

 

Rating: PG

 

Reason for the Rating: Some mild action and brief rude humor.

 

Plot Summary: A genius dog and his adopted human son have time traveling adventures.

 

PopFam Recommends: This is a different kind of animated film—but one your family should enjoy.

 

If you were lucky enough as a child to watch The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, then you well remember the Mr. Peabody and Sherman cartoons which aired midway through the show. If you never saw it, Mr. Peabody is a dog. But not just any dog. He's the smartest creature on earth. And Mr. Peabody has a son. But not a canine son, rather a human son he adopted. Mr. Peabody created a machine, the WABAC machine, in which he and Sherman would time travel and get the real scoop on what happened in history.

 

This same Mr. Peabody and Sherman have now returned to the future with an upgraded machine and improved animation. In this feature film, Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) and Sherman (Max Charles) travel again to history, but this story isn't a history lesson, but a look at the relationships and how they change us.

 

Mr. Peabody and Sherman have had a wonderful time together exploring history, but now it's time for Sherman to attend school. But the first day in, he meets Penny (Ariel Winter), a girl in his class who doesn't like him. In fact, she dislikes him so much she begins to torment him at lunch, calling him a dog, telling him to fetch his food, and physically pushing him around. So Sherman bites her, which only makes matters worse. In an effort to smooth things over, Sherman invites Penny and her parents over for dinner. And it's during this dinner party that Sherman takes Penny into the WABAC machine where they travel to Ancient Egypt, the Italian Renaissance and the Trojan War. And although not completely accurate, it's a fun history lesson for kids (and possibly some adults).

 

If you saw the trailer, you might be expecting a funny movie. Unfortunately, it just wasn't. Not for the kids, and not for the parents. Dreamworks stayed true to the original cartoon in keeping Mr. Peabody super smart, which makes this a unique cartoon for parents to watch (everything isn't in kid language), but difficult for kids to really understand. Many of the puns were for adults or older kids, leaving the younger kids in the audience saying with Sherman, "I don't get it." Many of the jokes for kids focused on body functions or parts (Sherman and Mr. Peabody being shot out of the back end of a sphynx), which, yes, kids do find funny, but there weren't many other jokes kids laughed at.

 

That said, Mr. Peabody and Sherman has so many things going for it. A great cartoon on which to create a new story, phenomenal actors as voices (Ty Burrell, Allison Janney, and Stephen Colbert are just a few), and a solid storyline. Peabody is the most accomplished dog ever. He can speak every language there is, play any instrument, is a gourmet chef, a licensed chiropractor, inventor, Olympic champion...the list goes on, but can he parent a child? That is the question of every parent, is it not? What I loved about the movie, is that it looks at family from the perspective of the parent, as well as the child. Sherman has to see Mr. Peabody for what he is...a dog, but also his parent. The good with the questionable. And Peabody must see Sherman as a boy growing up, and change his parenting style.

 

Sound familiar?

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• If you could travel to any time in history, when and where would you go?

 

• What are three special characteristics of your family?

 

• Are you more like Sherman or Penny? Explain.

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

Reprint an Article - Free