We love our kids (most of the time), and therefore give in when they plead for us to take them to the movies. Sometimes, kids’ movies are entertaining (enter most Pixar and DreamWorks movies here), but other times the films are absolutely awful. Here’s what happens: your kid sees an ad for a movie featuring his or her very favorite character, you get sucked in by their excitement, and you begrudgingly pay $10 for a movie ticket. And then you suffer in silence as the film drags on.
Here are five times parents walked out of a movie muttering “well, that was 90 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”
5. Space Chimps (2008)
I knew this movie would be awful before I even stepped into the theater. But it appealed to my boys: spaceships, rockets, monkeys! So, I made the ultimate parenting sacrifice and took them to see it.
The atrocious animation alone is enough to earn this movie its 34% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the storyline seals the deal. It’s a discombobulated mess, with jokes that go over kids’ heads and don’t make adults laugh, either. The plot never makes sense. For being less than an hour and a half long, I felt like I was in that theater for days.
The worst part? The creators made a sequel. I wised up the second time around and did not subject myself to that torture.
4. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)
It’s SpongeBob. For an hour and a half. I think I lost brain cells.
If you’re a fan of the SpongeBob TV show, I’m sure you found this entertaining. In fact, 77% of audience members on Rotten Tomatoes somehow thought the film was great. I am not one of those people. Sure, I may have found myself chuckling at a few of the jokes, and I love that my kids thought it was the absolute best movie of 2004, but I could not take one more minute.
What’s worse, Paramount went on to release a second SpongeBob movie in 2015.
3. Tomorrowland (2015)
Tomorrowland is billed as a sci-fi/action flick that brings Disney’s theme park to life. But instead of relying on its action sequences and breathtaking CGI, the film’s plot takes off in too many directions, and it all falls apart.
Tomorrowland relies too heavily on its message of social and environmental responsibility. While that message is important, the constant barrage of social commentary overshadows any plotlines and action sequences that might have saved the film.
After about 20 minutes, my kids and I were all confused, bored, and ready for the credits to roll. Even the talent of George Clooney and Hugh Laurie couldn’t keep this movie from being a flop.
2. FRED: The Movie (2010)
This movie based on an extraordinarily annoying and abrasive YouTube character, and received a 2.1 rating on IMDB. That’s about all you need to know.
My kid insisted on seeing this one in the theater, and I wish I had brought earplugs to drown out the nails-on-a-chalkboard-esque voice of the main character (Lucas Cruikshank). It’s the story of a boy who apparently hasn’t yet reached puberty, loudly searching for his crush Judy (Pixie Lott) after she goes missing. Spoiler alert: she’s not missing, she moved. Probably to get away from Fred’s irritating, whiny voice.
The humor appealed to my then-nine-year-old, though, and when the movie came on Netflix the following year, he watched this movie approximately one million times. Every time, it made me want to put a fork in my eye.
1. The Cat in the Hat (2003)
I don’t even know where to begin. This adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s beloved book was so terrible that Seuss’s widow, Audrey Geisel, vowed after its release to never permit another live-action adaptation of her late husband’s work. It was perhaps the most vulgar and horrific book adaptation ever to make it to the screen.
My son was very young when this movie was released, so thankfully he didn’t understand the constant barrage of potty humor, vulgar jokes, and suggestive dialogue made by Mike Myers’s character. In one scene, while The Cat is dressed in a bra and skirt and attempting a salsa, he clearly refers to his genitalia. Then, he finds a hoe in the garden and exclaims, “dirty hoe.” And don’t even get me started on Alec Baldwin’s creepy character, who at one point digs lint out of his hairy belly button. I mean, why, Universal? Why?
This movie earns its 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and even that might be generous.
What movie did you regret caving in to see with your kids?
Becca Stewart is a freelance writer and editor, avid traveler, military spouse, and boy mom. She loves movies, but can often be heard in the theater whispering “in the book, this part was completely different.” You can learn more about her at her website, writebecca.com.