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The Cable Guy Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

A twisted comedy about TV addiction. Teens OK.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chip flashes back on a childhood where he was neglected by his mom and abandoned by his father. Chip was raised by TV, and embodies all the warnings about what too much TV does to people: he becomes a sociopath, stealing, lying, blackmailing, and manipulating because he doesn't know how to have relationships. There's also considerable comic violence in this film, including people getting beat up and the main characters brandish swords and battle axes and joust at a medieval-themed restaurant. A character threatens suicide and jumps, but doesn't die.

  • Families can talk about family rules that limit TV watching. Why do you have those rules? Do adults follow them, too? The film is a great opportunity to help children become savvier media consumers: are the relationships they see on TV healthy relationships? Do people in movies show their passion for each other by fighting? When you fight in real life, how does it feel? What's the difference between hyperbole for theatrical effect and real-life behavior? How much do you pattern your behavior off what you see on TV?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Generally, Chip acts sociopathically, blackmailing, stalking, stealing, manipulating, and lying to try to convince Steven to be his friend. Chip is also the victim of a negligent mother and absent father. Steven steals cable channels.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Lots of comic violence. Constant mention of a celebrity trial in which a former child star killed his twin. Chip beats up Robin's date. Chip is unnecessarily violent during a basketball game. Chip and Steven do battle in a medieval restaurant, fighting with swords, battle axes, and jousting. No one is seriously injured. Steven punches Chip. Chip spies on Robin. Chip threatens suicide and jumps, though he doesn't die.

  • sex false0

    Sex: A brief glimpse of a woman in lingerie on the TV, references to transexuality, brief mention of masturbation. Chip acts sexually toward his cable, rubbing the wall as if it were a woman. Chip hires a prostitute to sleep with Steven, but it happens offscreen. There's some talk about sexually transmitted diseases. Robin and Steven kiss.

  • language false3

    Language: Some swearing, including "bastard," "goddamn," "ass," "damn," and "son of a bitch."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Some brands are obvious, including MTV and the restaurant Medieval Times. Lots of TV shows get plugs, including My Three Sons, Jerry Springer, Ren and Stimpy, and the movie Sleepless in Seattle.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Steven and Chip drink beers and Steven gives the prostitute tequila.