In a recent interview with the filmmakers behind THE SIMPSONS MOVIE and the television show, including creator Matt Groening and James L. Brooks (AS GOOD AS IT GETS and CHEERS), the filmmakers admitted they do take into account whether a joke goes too far. Even so, however, they also admitted they aimed to make an irreverent movie and get a PG-13 rating, a fact which probably will cut into the money they will make from the family audience.
There’s a lot of tightrope walking in THE SIMPSONS MOVIE, which verges between being a heartwarming, family-friendly story about kindness, forgiveness and redemption and being an irreverent movie with edgy humor. That’s been the modus operandi of the TV show from the beginning, but it’s taken to a new level here, except perhaps in one aspect. Thus, the movie does not have the kind of bloody cartoon violence that it made famous on its well-known “Itchy and Scratchy” cartoons in the series (there is an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon in the movie, but there’s little or no blood or gore in the sequence).
In the main story, the town of Springfield decides to clean up the local lake and build a concrete wall around it to prevent pollution dumping. Irresponsible Homer Simpson, however, has become obsessed with his new pet pig. He secretly dumps a small silo full of the pig’s droppings into the lake.
Because of the resultant pollution, the head of the EPA builds a huge bubble dome to cut off the town of Springfield completely. The angry townspeople come to lynch all of the Simpsons, but they escape and go on the run. Homer convinces his family to come with him to Alaska to make “a fresh start.”
Things begin to look up for them there, but the EPA decides to blow up Springfield because other people might escape from the bubble. Marge tries to convince Homer to go back to help them save the town, but Homer refuses. Marge decides she’s had enough of Homer’s shenanigans and leaves with Lisa, Bart and Maggie. Saving Springfield becomes Homer’s last chance to keep his family together.
THE SIMPSONS MOVIE is a hilarious, witty, engaging big-screen version of the TV series. In between the edgy humor is a heartwarming, uplifting story about love, kindness, forgiveness, and redemption. The best thing about this positive aspect of the movie is that Ned Flanders, the most Christian character in the Simpsons universe, plays an important, positive role in helping the family, especially Bart and Bart’s relationship with Homer, which becomes strained during the story.
Despite this strong Christian, moral content, however, the movie has some negative content that goes too far at times. This content includes foul language and edgy humor in short vignettes about Homer challenging Bart to ride naked on his skateboard, two homosexual policemen who kiss, cartoon violence, a joke about marijuana, and a scene where young Bart gets drunk on a tiny bottle of whiskey from a hotel room. There are also some jokes about Christianity and the Bible. Perhaps the worst of these jokes is a frantic scene that occurs in church. Lisa yells at her father, Homer, to “Do something!” Cut to a panic-stricken Homer frantically searching through a Bible and blurting out, “This book doesn’t have any answers!”
Thus, all in all, concerned parents and people of faith won’t want to take their children and young teenagers, or perhaps anyone, to see THE SIMPSONS MOVIE. For its part, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong or extreme caution.
(PaPa, BB, CC, Ab, EE, Ho, LL, VV, SS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Strong mixed pagan worldview with pagan elements, positive moral and positive Christian elements, some negative anti-Christian elements and jokes ultimately over-powered by the positive Christian and moral elements, strong environmentalist messages overall, two homosexual jokes, including one where two male policemen secretly meet and kiss one another (see miscellaneous and other categories below for some of the controversial statements and content related to the above); six obscenities (no “f” words), one strong profanity (GD) at the movie’s climax, nine light profanities, and Homer dumps silo full of droppings from pet pig into cleaned-up lake; some strong cartoon violence with very little blood such as father chokes son, gunfire, mob burns down house leaving a placard saying, “God bless this house,” a mob wants to lynch family and viewers see nooses for them, minor snow avalanches where no one gets hurt, hammer hits man in eye but there is no blood in the movie (there is blood in a trailer for the movie which includes that scene), explosions, pratfalls, [spoiler warning] wrecking ball hits man who pendulums back and forth between two objects while he’s still stuck on wrecking ball, and [spoiler warning] mouse fires nuclear missiles at cat, who takes them all into his mouth and explodes; depicted male homosexual kissing, implied marital sex, girl has romantic relationship with boy but nothing salacious implied or shown, and [spoiler warning] when Ned Flanders gets up to make an important announcement in church, Homer crosses his fingers and prays, “Gay, Gay, Gay!” about Ned’s mysterious announcement; non-explicit cartoon shots of upper male nudity, rear male nudity and shot of cartoon boy’s private parts (strong nudity but not explicitly crude, all drawn in minimalist SIMPSONS style); strong alcohol use includes alcohol use, scene with drunken man falling into lake, [spoiler warning] when the government decides to blow up a town people in church rush into a bar next door and people in bar rush into church, and boy gets drunk on small bottle of some kind of whiskey; shot of school bus driver relaxing with a bong which, presumably, contains marijuana; and, cheating, irresponsible father does something directly against wife’s wishes and endangers the whole town, angry wife eventually takes off with the kids but father follows them, boy upset with his own father seeks comfort from loving Christian neighbor who’s widowed with two children and welcomes him but Christian neighbor helps them reconcile when it counts, during frantic moment in church Lisa yells to Homer “Do something” and a panic-stricken Homer shuffles through the Bible and says “This book doesn’t have any answers!”, man has epiphany while doing Eskimo throat singing, totem poles shown, son of Ned Flanders asks him if Buddha will be in Heaven with Jesus, and Ned strongly exclaims, “No!”, illegal dumping of pollution, talk about ending a long marriage because of husband’s irresponsible behavior, Grandpa Simpson makes a crazy prophecy in church about a twisted tail leading to disaster in the local town depicted in the movie, store owner changes expiration date on a product, jokes about Arnold Swarzeneggar being President and not being diligent in the job, Swarzeneggar character makes a joke about “the Kennedy compound,” customers steal bar owner’s alcohol and furniture, and head of EPA goes too far in developing wacky solutions but it is made clear that he is a rich businessman who (it is implied) has been given the job because he’s rich and powerful.
In THE SIMPSONS MOVIE, the animated town of Springfield decides to clean up the local lake and builds a concrete wall around it to prevent pollution dumping. Irresponsible Homer Simpson, however, has become obsessed with his new pet pig. He secretly dumps a small silo full of pig droppings into the lake. The head of the EPA builds a huge bubble to cut off the town of Springfield. The angry townspeople come to lynch all of the Simpsons, but they escape to Alaska. There, everyone seems happier, but the EPA decides to blow up Springfield because others might escape. Homer refuses to leave with Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie to help the town, which breaks up the family. Saving Springfield becomes Homer’s last chance to keep his family together.
THE SIMPSONS MOVIE walks a tightrope between hilarious, heartwarming humor full of love, kindness, forgiveness, and redemption and edgy, sometimes lightly obscene and irreverent humor. Although Ned Flanders, the most Christian character in the Simpsons universe, plays a major, positive role, the movie also contains some anti-Christian humor. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution. See our full review at www.movieguide.org for more details.