Marc (voice of Justice Jesse Smith) has felt lonely, awkward and misunderstood all his life. As a child Marc found it very difficult to make friends. As an adult he has created an algorithm to help children find others with similar interests and develop friendships through the use of his little robots, the B-bots.
A combination of an iPhone, pet and best friend, B-bots are eagerly anticipated and take the world by storm. Soon everyone seems to have B-bots – everyone except Barney (voice of Jack Dylan Grazer), a young boy who lives with his father and Russian grandmother (voice of Olivia Coleman) in a small house on the outskirts of town. Barney has very little money, so he makes do with his scooter and tries to be as invisible at school.
When Rich (voice of Ricardo Hurtado) begins to bully Barney for not having a B-bot and for liking geology, Barney’s father and grandmother set out to find him a B-bot. They can’t even get into the store, but they discover a man in a loading bay who sells them a damaged B-bot . It has an incomplete system and faulty programming, which means it doesn’t act the way it’s supposed to.
Barney and the B-bot, Ron (voice of Zach Galifianakis), have a tricky start to their relationship, with Ron embarrassing Barney in front of Savannah (voice of Kylie Cantrall), a popular girl who used to be his friend. But then Ron sticks up for Barney and puts Rich and the bullies in their place, and a true friendship begins to blossom. When Rich discovers why Ron acts differently from other B-bots, he removes the security settings on his own B-bot and starts a chain reaction that creates havoc throughout the school.
Marc is eager to meet Ron and learn more about his programming. But Marc’s manager, Andrew (voice of Rob Delaney), is concerned only with sales ratings, data harvesting and product reach. Andrew will do anything he can to sabotage Ron, while Barney will do whatever it takes to keep his friend safe. Barney helps Marc discover what’s missing from his original algorithm and, together with his father, grandmother and Ron, they set off to stop Andrew and reverse the damage the B-bots have inadvertently done.
Addiction to technology, social media and social status; corporate corruption; death of a parent; bullying; peer pressure; reliance on technology
Ron’s Gone Wrong has some violence. For example:
- Ron decapitates Barney’s stuffed rabbit and completely destroys Barney’s bedroom.
- While Ron is malfunctioning, he throws a knife into a wall.
- A chicken’s neck gets stretched and looks like it has snapped. In the next scene we see that it hasn’t.
- Ron and Rich shove, kick and slap each other. Ron pulls and stretches Rich’s head. They threaten to destroy each other.
- Ron is put in a box and told that he’ll be crushed.
- Ron is nearly crushed in a machine, but Barney helps him escape. Later another B-bot is crushed in his place.
- The B-bots fight each other.
- A sign is thrown at an older lady.
- A monster made of B-bots swallows Savannah and then ‘poops’ her out. The whole thing is live streamed on social media. Savannah’s status plummets, numerous followers unfriend or block her, and B-bots repeatedly relay the ‘It pooped me’ scene.
- Ron and Barney roll down a cliff and fall into Savannah’s pool, taking her outdoor lighting system with them. Later Ron falls off a cliff, and Barney jumps into the churning water below.
- Barney falls towards a speeding fan that looks like it’ll kill him. It’s turned off at the last moment.
There are no sexual references in Ron’s Gone Wrong.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Ron’s Gone Wrong shows some use of substances. For example:
- Ron’s grandmother says that their family makes do with what they have and that a relative once fixed a hernia with a bread knife and vodka.
- There’s a reference to a character who likes cheap alcohol.
- Ron brings some random people he met to a buddy bench to befriend Barney. He’s carrying something that looks like it could be alcohol.
Nudity and sexual activity
Ron’s Gone Wrong has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, Rich and some of his friends make fun of Ron. They say that he’s naked and they can see his ‘parts’. All the other B-bots can change colour and design whenever they want to.
Ron’s Gone Wrong doesn’t show any products, but it does have a big focus on technology. Characters do live streams and have vlogs. They also care about being popular on social media, getting a lot of likes and having a lot of followers – the more the better. Initially the B-bots determine whether people can become friends. Ultimately these messages are shown to be dangerous.
Ron’s Gone Wrong has some coarse language, including ‘sucks’, ‘You’re useless’, ‘dumb bot’ and ‘poop girl’. There’s also some crude humour about being ‘pooped out’ and underwear being incinerated.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Ron’s Gone Wrong is an animated adventure about friendship and connection, as well as the pros and cons of technology. The movie features a fast-paced plot, excellent voice acting and a powerful message.
Ron’s Gone Wrong isn’t suitable for very young children, but it’s a good choice for a family film because it has something for older children and adults too.
These are the main messages from Ron’s Gone Wrong:
- True friendship goes two ways.
- Technology is powerful but imperfect.
- Life isn’t about the number of likes you get or the number of subscribers you have. It’s about the friends you find and the hearts you connect with along the way.
Values in Ron’s Gone Wrong that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, compassion, kindness, courage, selflessness, vulnerability and trust.
Ron’s Gone Wrong could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- spending too much time online and the perils of social media
- giving big companies access to our data and personal lives
- letting go of our consumer rights in the face of corporate greed
- being involved in one-sided friendships
- trying to be like everyone else or losing who you are so you can fit in
- basing your opinion of yourself on what other people think of you.