Dennis the Menace

Dennis the Menace
Dennis the Menace
  • PG
  • 1h 37m
  • 1993
Common Sense Media Iconage 8+
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Is it a tornado? Is it a circus? Look out--it's Dennis the Menace! John Hughes, master chronicler of the American kid's imagination, brings Hank Ketcham's beloved comic strip character to the big screen. Wherever Dennis goes, mayhem follows. And somehow, most of it seems to land in the lap of his long-suffering next-door neighbor, George Wilson (WALTER MATTHAU). Dennis and his backyard exploits are guaranteed to stir up laughter and warm the heart.

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

Critics Consensus: Walter Matthau does a nice job as Mr. Wilson, but Dennis the Menace follows the Home Alone formula far too closely.
Entertainment Weekly
Ty Burr

Its unholy mixture of peppy sadism and pious, self-righteous sentiment comes straight from Hughes'...

June 22, 2017
Todd McCarthy

Very young children may find the numskull, by-the-numbers gags here amusing, but teens will consid...

March 4, 2019
Time Out

A smooth blend of sentiment and slapstick.

June 21, 2017
New York Times
Vincent Canby

Mr. Hughes and Mr. Castle try hard to re-create a kind of timeless, idealized comic-strip atmosphe...

March 4, 2019
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Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media Iconage 8+
Common Sense Says
Comic strip-based comedy has peril, scary villain.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dennis the Menace is a 1993 remake of the 1950s situation comedy. Expect a lot of exaggerated pratfall violence -- if Mr. Wilson isn't on the receiving end of Dennis' unintentional shenanigans (slipping, falling, golf ball to the groin, etc.), the antagonist (a scary-looking vagrant played by Christopher Lloyd) finds himself handcuffed, tied up, knife falling on his backside, etc. Dennis is kidnapped by a hobo. Dennis finds an old magazine in Mr. Wilson's basement called "Peep Show," with a scantily-clad woman from the 1950s on the cover. Little kids discuss "how babies are made (the mother's belly button opens up so they can enter). Dennis tells Mrs. Wilson how his parents like to "wrestle" on Sunday mornings, by themselves with their shirts off. A babysitter and her boyfriend make out on the couch. Later, this boyfriend reads a train-themed children's story to Dennis and misreads a line in the story as "all trains are impotent." Baked beans and the inevitable flatulence play a part in the action later in the movie. The screenplay was written by John Hughes, and like the classic 1980s teen movies he directed, there's a fair amount of "kids versus adults" noticeable to those familiar with Hughes' other movies.

A Lot or A Little?

The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive Role Models
Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Additional Info

  • Genre:Comedy, Family
  • Release Date:June 25, 1993
  • Languages:English
  • Captions:English
  • Audio Format:
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