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  • PG
  • 1h 33m
  • 1996
Common Sense Media Iconage 9+
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Max Connor, a 12-year-old whose mother has raised him alone since her husband left, is distraught by her impending marriage to Travis, a kind fire fighter who can’t seem to make friends with Max. While hiding from a school gang of bullies in an abandoned building, he accidentally kicks a battered boom box, freeing a seven-foot, 3,000-year-old genie, Kazaam, who will grant him three wishes. Max runs away to meet his real father who he hasn’t seen in ten years, and who turns out to be involved with criminals in the bootleg CD trade. Kazaam is momentarily distracted by becoming an overnight sensation rap star, but defeats the criminals and grants Max’s final wish.
© 1996 Touchstone

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

Critics Consensus: Crafted from a mix of genre clichés, Kazaam doesn't know what kind of film it wants to be, and Shaq's larger-than-life charisma is stifled by rote filmmaking and an unimaginative story.
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Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media Iconage 9+
Common Sense Says
Bad fantasy comedy is dated and materialistic; bullying.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Kazaam is a fantasy comedy designed to be a family movie that tackles issues such as divorce and friendships, but is dated, mean, and inappropriate. Unlike most movies of its type, it fails to feature any particularly sympathetic characters. Max (Francis Capra) the 12-year-old protagonist is rude and un-cooperative with his mother. He is also mean and harsh toward Kazaam -- played by basketball star Shaquille O'Neal -- a genie who must grant Max three "material" wishes, and who himself displays shallow behavior. Max's father treats him poorly, initially welcoming him into his life but then frequently becoming annoyed and short-tempered with him. There is mild, intermittent violence, as Max is roughed up by bullies on a few occasions. One of the bullies also attacks Kazaam with a baseball bat, but inflicts no harm. Some of the language feels especially dated with Max referring to one teacher as a "very angry man trapped in a woman's body" and alleges Kazaam is mentally ill by recommending a "nice building with padded walls." Insults such as "dork," "little fart," "turd," and "loser" are also used. The movie also has some prominent product placement, most notably for Pepsi and M&Ms: these are tied to Max's initial, childish wishes. Characters drink alcohol on occasion, but not to excess, although in one scene a child is offered some before a parent intervenes.

A Lot or A Little?

The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Messages
Positive Role Models
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
More on Common Sense Media

Additional Info

  • Genre:Comedy, Fantasy, Family
  • Release Date:July 17, 1996
  • Languages:English, Spanish
  • Captions:English
  • Audio Format:
  • Screen Pass Eligible:Yes
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