Mr Peabody and Sherman is an animated comedy about Mr Peabody (voice of Ty Burrell), a dog who has dedicated himself to the pursuit of knowledge and advanced scientific inventions, including the creation of a time machine. Mr Peabody has adopted a boy named Sherman (Max Charles) as a son and apprentice. Together they travel through time visiting famous historical figures and getting into considerable trouble along the way.
At school Sherman gets into an argument with a girl called Penny (Ariel Winter). Penny bullies Sherman about his father being a dog, and Sherman apparently bites Penny on the arm. As a consequence Mr Peabody’s fitness to be a father comes under scrutiny from Ms Grunion (Allison Janney) from Social Services. She has a particular problem with the idea of a dog being the father of a boy.
While Mr Peabody is trying to sort things out with Ms Grunion and Penny’s parents, Penny and Sherman are left to their own devices. Penny persuades Sherman to take her time-travelling. Things get tricky in ancient Egypt when Penny is captured and almost married off to King Tutankhamun. Although Sherman manages to save her, their excessive use of the time machine tears a hole in the space-time continuum. People from every era are torn from their homes and begin bleeding through the gap.
Mr Peabody and Sherman must work together to save the world. Their dangerous journey enables Mr Peabody to learn how to be a good parent, and helps Sherman discover what it means to be a good son.
Mr Peabody and Sherman has some violence. For example:
- Mr Peabody is almost guillotined while visiting the French Revolution at the beginning of the movie. Some revolutionaries capture him. People are taken in carts to their deaths and are abused by angry crowds. The guillotine blade falls and it looks like Mr Peabody has been beheaded. Sherman faints. A short time later Mr Peabody reappears unharmed.
- After escaping, Mr Peabody is captured again. In a comic scene, he is forced to fence with one of the soldiers.
- Sherman gets into an argument and then a physical fight with Penny. The principal talks to Mr Peabody about it, showing him a file with pictures of a bite on the girl’s arm. It seems that Sherman has bitten her.
- Ms Gunion is a large and threatening woman. She tries to take Sherman away from Mr Peabody. She grabs Sherman by the arm and drags him away. Mr Peabody loses control and bites her on the arm. A dog catcher places a noose around Mr Peabody’s neck and drags him away. It seems that Mr Peabody will be destroyed because he is a dangerous animal. Mr Peabody is later released uninjured.
- After travelling back in time to the Trojan War, Mr Peabody finds himself in front of a group of Greek soldiers. A soldier points his sword at Mr Peabody and says, ‘Kill him’. The soldier also says, ‘We’re gonna destroy their houses and make the streets run red with blood’, and ‘Eat my blood you Trojan dogs’. A sword fight breaks out between the Greek and Trojan soldiers. A soldier threatens Sherman, knocking him to the ground and attempting to slash him with his sword. Mr Peabody intervenes, knocking out the soldier and fighting off several others.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Mr Peabody and Sherman has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- There are images of Egyptian statues of snakes with large fangs. There are also images of mummified bodies, one with a skeletal hand sticking out of its wrappings.
- A creepy one-armed wooden robot child invented by Leonardo Da Vinci roams the city streets looking for its father. People in the street run away in fear when they see the wooden robot child approaching. In one scene the robot’s arm falls off.
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.
Younger children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.
There is nothing of concern in this movie for children in this age group.
Mr Peabody and Sherman has limited sexual references. For example:
- When Mr Peabody warns Sherman that there is a booby trap in the ancient Egyptian tomb they are trying to escape, Sherman giggles and says, ‘You said “booby”’.
- After present-day Penny and Sherman travel back in time to talk to a version of Mr Peabody from the past, Mr Peabody’s future self suddenly appears and tells Sherman, ‘I’ve got to get you out of here before you touch yourself’. This causes Penny’s parents and Ms Grunion to gasp in horror.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Mr Peabody and Sherman shows some use of substances, including when Mr Peabody makes cocktails for Penny’s parents and himself.
Nudity and sexual activity
Mr Peabody and Sherman has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Seven-year-old Penny is about to marry seven-year-old King Tut. There is some mild flirting between them. Tut calls Penny his ‘sweet little desert blossom’. Sherman seems jealous.
- Sherman accidentally puts his head through a painting of a woman with exposed cleavage.
- A Greek soldier says he is in love with a woman and he picks her up and carries her off through a worm hole. At the end of the movie, the same man marries the woman and kisses her.
None of concern
Mr Peabody and Sherman has occasional low-level coarse language, name-calling and toilet humour.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Mr Peabody and Sherman is a heart-warming story about a dog trying to be a parent and a young boy trying to grow up.
Mr Peabody has always had trouble expressing emotion. He learns that it’s OK to tell his son that he loves him and to show affection in the way he has always wanted to. At the same time, Sherman has always followed his adoptive father’s rules, but he starts wanting to be independent and explore the world on his own. Sherman and his father eventually find a peaceful middle ground of respect and admiration for each other.
Children under eight years might be scared by some scenes, and you might have some concerns about the amount of violence in the movie. The movie is therefore not recommended for children under five years, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 5-10 years.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:
- Every great relationship starts from a place of conflict and evolves into something richer.
- If you don’t like a person, it’s quite often because they remind you of something you don’t like about yourself – self-reflection is therefore crucial.
- Another person’s belief in you can help you to believe in yourself.
You could also talk with your children about the negative and limited roles the movie gives to female characters. For example, Penny is for the most part presented as a selfish, manipulating and unlikeable bully.