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Police Academy Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Sophomoric '80s cop-spoof has profanity, sex, stereotypes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Police Academy is a classic of '80s cop-spoof films but it is not for kids. The sophomoric humor is rooted in one-dimensional character stereotypes, and there is frequent profanity, as well as nudity, sex, and violence. Furthermore, unlike similar '80s movies like Airplane!, Meatballs, and Caddyshack, Police Academy's "so dumb it's funny" brand of comedy hasn't aged well. Parents looking to share with their kids the '80s movies of their youth are encouraged to look elsewhere.

  • Families can talk about the characters in the movie. What makes them funny or not? Are stereotypes ever funny? When does comedy go too far?
  • What are some aspects of the film that root it firmly in the 1980s?
  • What similarities and differences do you see in this film compared to other comedies from the '80s? What about compared to more modern comedies?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true0

    Educational value: This film was intended to entertain, not educate.

  • message true0

    Messages: While an argument could be made that the film has a message of "You can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it," that message is easily lost in the maelstrom of stupid comedy.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The characters are essentially one-dimensional stereotypes. The authority figures are either overly zealous disciplinarians or bumbling fools.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Lots of comic slapstick including fistfights, a motorcycle crash, falling headfirst into the backside of a horse. Verbal bullying. A riot breaks out. Rioters are shown looting, brandishing sticks. Gun play between members of the police academy and "the bad guys." Misfired guns throughout.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Women are shown naked from the waist up while showering. A rear end is shown. A character asks another character if he and his wife "do it doggie style." Two scenes with strongly implied oral sex. Two characters are sent to a gay bar, where patrons dress in leather and force the characters to dance with them. A female character jumps on top of a male character in his room and removes her shirt, while demanding he have sex with her.

  • language false4

    Language: Frequent profanity: "crap," "d--khead," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "pissant," "numbnuts," "son of a bitch," and "f--k." One of the antagonists makes two racial slurs. Another antagonist makes a homophobic pun of another character's last name. Another character says that "sleeping is for fags."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Early in the film, a Kodak photo booth is featured prominently.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters are smoking cigarettes throughout. During a party characters are shown smoking, drinking, and acting drunk.

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