Is 'The Fall Guy' OK for Kids? What to Know Before Seeing the PG-13 Action-Comedy (2024)

Moviegoers have been hearing a lot about Ryan Gosling’s new movie The Fall Guy. But ahead of its May 3 release, parents may want to know: Is it appropriate viewing for kids?

The David Leitch-directed Universal Pictures blockbuster, loosely based on Lee Majors’ 1980s TV drama of the same name, stars Gosling, 43, as stunt performer Colt Seavers. Tasked with tracking down the missing leading man he’s a stunt double for, Tom Ryder (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Colt must save the sci-fi epic directed by his former flame Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt) at the behest of producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham).

Colt’s investigation results in several action sequences that make it clear The Fall Guy is meant to honor the character’s line of work. Assisted by stunt doubles who take brutal punches, drive obscenely fast and fall from awe-inspiring heights, Gosling and company pay homage to the action stars and their doubles who have come before.

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Because it falls well within that genre, the primary reason for the Motion Picture Association’s PG-13 rating is “action and violence.” Read on for the other considerations that gave The Fall Guy that classification, including drug use and some suggestive language.

The Fall Guy features plenty of action and violence

As with the 1980s TV show that inspired it, The Fall Guy is an irreverent, action-packed spectacle. Characters are frequently in peril, fighting each other and becoming injured. Many things explode.

Because it centers on Gosling’s stunt man, the audience is clued into the fact that Leitch’s movie is meant to celebrate moviemaking itself and those who craft its most spectacular moments. Although many of the high-stakes stunts convincingly depict danger, it’s clearly executed with a level of care that meant all of the performers on screen were kept safe.

Is 'The Fall Guy' OK for Kids? What to Know Before Seeing the PG-13 Action-Comedy (1)

Among the stunts The Fall Guy wraps its romantic comedy around are high falls (those averse to heights may be uncomfortable watching Gosling swing from a helicopter),hand-to-hand combat and a world-record-breaking vehicular stunt involving a Jeep’s 8.5 cannon rolls, or head-over-head flips. An extended sequence features Colt enduring being set on fire several times, another impressive yet safe stunt that younger viewers may find alarming.

Guns also feature in The Fall Guy enough that parents and children who are sensitive to their depiction should be wary. It should be noted that one sequence centers on a prop gun Colt grabs that’s full of blanks instead of live rounds. He’s even shot with the fake weapon and pretends to fall dead, a knowing wink to the fact that all of the guns featured in the movie are props.

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There is a sequence involving drug use

Some characters drink and make references to alcohol in The Fall Guy. But the main reason the MPA included “drug content” in their PG-13 rating is a scene in which Colt’s hunt takes him to a nightclub. There, a drug dealer gives him a Shirley Temple that is laced with something hallucinatory.

Colt spends the next several scenes facing off with a unicorn, which he’s told will appear in his vision as long as the drug trip lasts. Although taken against his will, Colt’s drug use is presented as harmlessly silly.

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Some strong language is uttered

The Fall Guy’s dialogue is peppered with mildly strong language. Screenwriter Drew Pearce strikes a balance between squeaky-clean, PG-rated innocence and harsh R-rated obscenity, putting the movie exactly in between: its mild profanity is in keeping with a high-stakes, but primarily heartfelt story designed to thrill rather than offend.

Is 'The Fall Guy' OK for Kids? What to Know Before Seeing the PG-13 Action-Comedy (2)

While the MPA indicated a classification of “some strong language,” parents who don’t want their children learning swear words shouldn’t worry too much —the kids will likely be too in awe of the spectacular stunts and laughing at jokes to notice.

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Sexuality is only vaguely alluded to

At the center of all its action-hero homages is what drives The Fall Guy forward emotionally: the romance between Colt and Jody. Their will-they-won’t-they dynamic includes flashbacks to when they first met and launched a passionate fling, as well as several reminiscences of that time — and tantalizing hope for a rekindling of their relationship.

As such, Gosling and Blunt share a smooch or three throughout the course of the movie. But while there’s some sexiness between the duo, there is no actual sex. The only references to intimacy are vague, as when Gosling’s Colt compliments his director on what she’s wearing, then stammers that she looks great in everything or even nothing.

Critics are giving its story and spectacle a thumbs-up

The Fall Guy “aims first and foremost to be pure entertainment, and it succeeds,” according to PEOPLE reviewer Tom Gliatto, who calls it “an exceptionally nimble, clever movie about the people who make movies, as well as a valentine to Hollywood's small but tough population of stunt artists.”

Of the movie’s stunts, NPR’s Bob Mondello said that Leitch “is like a really confident magician saying, you want to see that up close? ... knowing that you'll always fall for the trick, always fall for the fall guys.”

“The film is designed to educate audiences about all the things — fighting, crashing, jumping, swinging, falling — doubles do,” wrote Variety’s Peter Debruge. “If the movie feels overstuffed, that’s because Leitch wants to give audiences more than just a taste, but the full buffet of what his trade is capable of. By the end, we can’t help appreciating just how hard it is to make action look easy.”

The Fall Guy is in theaters now.

Is 'The Fall Guy' OK for Kids? What to Know Before Seeing the PG-13 Action-Comedy (2024)

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