"Family Can Be One of Your Greatest Allies"
What You Need To Know:
THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF JOJO is a story about growing up. Though the subject matter is dark and the content sometimes terrifying, the mood manages to stay quirky and lighthearted. THE ADVENTURES OF JOJO has a positive Christian, moral message about learning to love one’s siblings selflessly. There are a few moments where God or Jesus is invoked, and they intervene in the lives of the characters. Strong caution is warranted, however, due to lots of scatological language and humor. THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF JOJO also has intense, scary sequences where children are endangered.
(CC, BB, LL, VV, N, D, MM) Strong Christian, moral worldview where a young boy slowly comes around to appreciating his baby sister, good family relationships between grandmother, mother and children, mother asks son what Jesus would do, Jesus is invoked in a prayer, child prays for safety when he’s about to cross a river and storm stops, child thanks God, Grandmother prays for children to come home safely, antagonist experiences some redemption in the end, the miracle of Jesus walking on water is referenced; several “p” obscenities used to describe urinating and no profanities but lots of crude scatological language and humor, people call homeless man a hobo repeatedly, boy calls man a stupid hobo repeatedly, child described as “grabbing his wiener and pissing’ on animals, child calls his sister fatso and dumb-butt, child says “oh crappers” when frightened, child says “you suck” to antagonist repeatedly, “whizzed” used to describe urinating, child pulls down pants and urinates on lizard (no nudity), child implied to be urinating on a spider, child unzips footie pajamas to urinate on frog, child accidentally pees on man’s face, boy unknowingly licks poop from baby sister, man accidentally falls head first into dirty diaper, narrator says that protagonist “almost pooped his pants” in fear, baby farts and awakens wolves, child urinates on frog in animated end credits; cartoon violence in animated opening credits, Grandmother shoots a gun to scare away people dumping couches on her land, mother crashes car into sign and then into a cow and finally into a tree, blood shown from minor wounds, mother implied to have died, brother drags baby sister through the dirt, man falls into river, boy uses a pocketknife, guy knocked out by a tree branch, child cuts branch so that antagonist falls into the river, antagonist repeatedly threatens violence against children, men with baseball bats seen hitting bag that’s implied to contain a person and throw it in the river, children unknowingly walk on body bags, skeleton arms and skulls shown underwater, boy dreams antagonist attacks and tries to strangle his mother, boy slaps homeless man, homeless man grabs boy by the arm and verbally berates him, baby bites homeless man in the arm, wolves grab baby by pajamas, brother fights wolves over sister, homeless man hits wolf with a heavy stick and kills it; no sex; upper male nudity when prepubescent child bathes in the river, and female baby is nude when bathing; man briefly smokes a cigarette, but no drugs; and, grandmother described as having a favorite riverboat casino, boy convinces himself his mother is only “sleeping” after a car wreck, and he takes his baby sister into the wilderness to find their grandmother’s house and get help, studios are called on to “repeal child labor laws,” the movie described as “not for overprotective parents,” brother resents younger sister at first, and children constantly in life-threatening situations.
It’s hard to know what to expect from a movie about a little boy and his baby sister stranded in the wilderness, trying to find their grandmother’s house. Is it going to be a hard-boiled, heart-wrenching drama, a light and fluffy childhood romp, or a sardonic, madcap comedy? THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF JOJO (AND HIS ANNOYING LITTLE SISTER AVILA) strikes a bizarre balance between all three of these, with a sarcastic narrator, charming child actors and adrenaline-pumping, stressful cinematography. However, there’s a lot of scatological humor and language.
The narrator introduces the protagonist, JoJo, who with his mother and sister, is on a drive to visit his grandmother. However, he doesn’t seem to be getting as much attention from his grandmother as usual, and he’s suspicious that his baby sister, Avila, has something to do with it. Before he leaves for the night, his grandmother gives JoJo a pocketknife that used to belong to his grandfather.
In the back of the car on the drive home, Avila tries to grab the pocketknife. The children’s mother becomes distracted trying to break up their bickering and accidentally hits a cow, and drives off the road into a tree. JoJo and Avila awaken the next morning in the back of the crashed car. JoJo senses something’s wrong, though he convinces himself that his mother is “only sleeping,” packs his sister, and a few essentials (such as Skittles, a ray gun, a game console, and a world map), and sets off through the woods to find their grandmother’s house.
Along the way, the two children are pursued by an angry homeless man, a pack of wolves, and a volunteer search-and-rescue team. They face danger from a raging river, inclement weather, and wolf traps set out in their path. Through their adventures, JoJo realizes his sister isn’t so bad after all and might even be one of his greatest allies.
It’s hard to pin down the style of this movie. It’s a fantastical mix of gritty reality and childlike imaginative play. The movie is tied together by a narrator, who’s quick with sarcastic commentary and grandiose language, giving the whole experience a sort of comical, whimsical feeling. Though the subject matter is dark, and the situations the children find themselves in can be quite terrifying (such as when baby Avila is almost caught in a wolf trap) the mood always manages to remain quirky and lighthearted. Even so, the humor can be a bit disorienting and unsettling at times.
THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF JOJO pulls at the heartstrings through the surprisingly subtle performance of the main child actor, Joseph Ogando. The audience can relate to excitement, terror, joy, and sorrow, even when he’s not expressing JoJo’s feelings directly.
THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF JOJO is a story about family and growing up. It has a positive, moral message about learning to love one’s siblings selflessly. There are a few moments where God or Jesus are invoked, and they intervene in the lives of the characters. Strong caution is warranted due to bathroom humor, and intense, frightening sequences where children are endangered.