Story

Boog (voiced by Martin Lawrence), is a loveable grizzly bear who has been hand-reared by Beth (Debra Messing) since she rescued him as a cub. He lives an idyllic life and makes regular appearances with Beth on stage at a local wildlife park. His nice life is challenged when he rescues Elliot (Ashton Kutcher), a young buck, from local hunter Shaw (Gary Sinise).

Elliot is concerned that Boog is a ‘pet’ and needs to learn how to live in the wild. He persuades Boog to leave the comfort of his home and they take a trip into town. Here they break into the local store and trash the place. When Beth finds Boog the next day, the policeman tells her it’s time to return him to the wild. Boog is released into the wild with his sidekick Elliot just in time for open season. Boog has to learn how to fight the elements as well as humans, his natural enemy.

Themes

Animals in peril

Violence

  • Shaw drives his truck erratically across the road, causing children to scatter and scream.
  • Shaw steers his truck deliberately towards the deer to knock him down.
  • Elliot and Boog break into the store and smash everything in it.
  • Beth fires tranquiliser darts at Elliot and Boog.
  • A troop of squirrels pelt Elliot and Boog with acorns when they try to climb their trees.
  • Boog falls over the edge of a mountain, landing heavily in a tree, then on a porcupine.
  • Shaw attacks a little dog, which bites him back.
  • Shaw repeatedly fires at Boog and Elliot but always misses.
  • Shaw throws a knife at Boog who manages to run away, only to be nearly run down by cars.
  • A war breaks out between hunters and animals in which the animals surround the hunters and all crash into them. The men fire at rabbits. The animals send lit arrows at the men. One arrow hits a gas tank, which explodes and blows up the trucks.
  • A fight breaks out between Boog and Shaw. Shaw attacks Boog with a knife and Boog retaliates with a golf club.
  • Shaw fires at Elliot.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

  • Boog roars at Beth in a game but still looks quite scary.
  • Shaw is a very scary-looking man. He is large and hairy, has a big mouth with broken teeth and is always carrying a large rifle.
  • Elliot is tied to the bonnet of Shaw’s truck with ropes.
  • During one of his shows, Boog is shown behind the curtains chasing Elliot and confronting him. From the front of the curtain it looks like Boog is killing Elliot, and the audience all scream and run away.
  • Boog is very frightened when he wakes up to find he’s alone in the mountains and doesn’t know how to get home.
  • Boog has porcupine spikes all over him, which Elliot pulls out, making him scream in pain.
  • Boog and Elliot find Elliot’s herd, only to learn that the leader has expelled Elliot from the pack. He looks very large and aggressive with yellow eyes and sends them away.
  • Boog makes a beaver dam collapse. This causes a flood that washes Boog and Elliot into Shaw’s truck. They appear to be drowning.
  • Boog finds Shaw’s cottage in the woods. It is raining in this scene and the cottage looks very scary, as it is dark and creaky and full of animal heads. Boog is clearly frightened.
  • Elliot appears to die after being shot. Boog becomes enraged, rears up and roars at Shaw.

From 5-8

  • Boog is abandoned by Beth.
  • Shaw is a very aggressive hunter and a mean person.
  • The hunters go out to shoot forest animals.
  • The animals are threatened by men.

From 8-13

Some children in this age group could be scared by the threat to and treatment of animals.

Over 13

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children in this age group.

Sexual references

Boog and Elliot become business partners. Some jokes are made about them being ‘partners’ in the personal relationship sense.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

  • Boog reacts badly to eating sugar and overdoses on confectionery and soft drinks in the shop. He appears to be drunk. 
  • Shaw smokes.

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Product placement

None

Coarse language 

This movie contains occasional, very mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Open Season is not particularly original, but it might amuse some older children. The main message of the movie is that animals shouldn’t be hunted. It presents values of friendship, loyalty and respect for animals. You could talk about these values as well as the danger of using violence to counter violence.