Dennis the Menace (1993) Film
Appropriateness Rating: Don’t Miss It
Entertainment Rating: Awesome
Dennis the Menace is a 1993 comedy movie about a young boy Dennis who can’t help giving others, especially his old neighbor Mr Wilson, a very hard time. He drives every adult around him crazy without really meaning to. He loves Mr Wilson, but he just can’t help himself exploring, experimenting with things, and trying to be helpful, so he ends up ruining Mr. Wilson’s plans in hilarious ways. It’s a great family movie that will keep you laughing throughout no matter how old you are. The young main character will also help keep the attention of younger kids in your family. Unfortunately there is one kissing scene which earns this movie an appropriateness rating of “Don’t Miss It.”
Warnings: kissing scene, girlfriend/boyfriend interactions
When Dennis’ mother has to go to work she leaves him at the home of a young girl called Margaret that Dennis hates. This young girl is quite rude, but not just as a bully who makes fun of other kids: she’s rude in a way that will not be funny to a Muslim audience. She tricks one boy into kissing the backside of one of her dolls while his eyes are closed and then continues to bully him throughout the movie. She is “in love” with Dennis and constantly makes remarks about this, etc.
This isn’t a good example for girls in general, but overall it passes because she’s actually one of the antagonists in the story – the little bad-guy in Dennis’ life that he doesn’t like at all. Muslim parents can use this as an opportunity to discuss with their children that they will meet unpleasant personalities and they should know how to deal with that.
The main inappropriate thing in the movie is a kissing scene between Dennis’ babysitter and her boyfriend. His parents leave him with a teenage girl babysitter and a few minutes later her boyfriend shows up at the house and after they think Dennis is in bed they then start kissing on his couch. He of course plays a trick on them and gets up to some mischief as usual, but this scene should be skipped. I have watched the movie several times and I had no problems with skipping at the right moment, because it’s very obvious when to forward or skip the DVD, so you shouldn’t let this stop you from watching the movie.
Themes: neighborliness, consequences of ones actions
The main change in the story is that Mr. Wilson realizes he is being too hard on Dennis, who is only a little boy after all, and starts to try being more neighborly and nice to the family. After Dennis goes missing he feels genuinely bad for yelling at Dennis and helps to look for him.
Also, while Dennis does cause a lot of trouble he genuinely doesn’t mean to and is only trying to help or pursuing his curiosity. The film clearly shows the negative impact that Dennis’ actions, however well-meaning, can have on the other people around him, so this is a good message that shows kids (and adults too!) that they have to think about the consequences of their actions, not just the intention behind it.
Overall, this is a very entertaining movie that you should watch, just don’t forget to keep your remote handy to skip at that one kissing scene!