Is John Cena’s latest movie, Playing with Fire, kid-friendly or does it go up in flames? I’m breaking down all of the thematic elements in my Playing with Fire Parent Review to help you decide if it’s safe for children. And of course, no spoilers.
PLAYING WITH FIRE PARENT REVIEW
I’m going to be completely honest. Going into this film, I wasn’t sure just how “kid-friendly” Playing With Fire would be. The trailers looked hilarious, but I was left to wonder if it would be one of those movies where the trailers show the best parts. What I wasn’t expecting was for this film to have heart.
Playing with Fire introduces us to a trio of “Smoke Jumpers,” led by Jake Carson (John Cena). In the opening sequence, we witness Carson save three children from a devastating house fire. Naturally the parents are not there, so Carson and his team are in charge of watching the kids.
There are a lot of crazy, over-the-top antics going on in the fire depot. Definitely not something that would happen in ordinary life, but it’s all in good fun and makes for some laughs.
I will say that I felt the first 30 minutes or so of this film were slow. Once we dived into the true storyline, things picked up.
The movie reminded me of Three Men and a Baby. Not necessarily the story itself, but the whole “men taking care of children and not really having a clue” theme.
Although this movie is filled with loads of hi jinks, don’t let that suede you from seeing it. Playing with Fire does offer a great message.
Is Playing With Fire Kid-Friendly?
Now for the real reason you came to this post. Is John Cena’s Playing with Fire appropriate for kids? Well. Yes and no. Let me explain. Playing with Fire is rated PG and has a running time of 1 hour and 36 minutes. Although this is really the perfect time for kids, I did mention that the beginning was a little slow. Once the story picks up, I see kids being more engaged in the film. It is definitely a funny movie. My oldest son has been asking to see it, and I know he will be rolling with laughter.
Language: I caught one use of the word “stupid.” There is also A LOT of potty humor, as well as one scene that might make your stomach turn, so keep that in mind.
Violence: While these men are not firefighters, they are smoke jumpers, there are obviously a lot of scenes involving fire. There is also a scene where the kids are shooting flare guns, and another scene where the 3 year old is playing with a nail gun. It’s most definitely done over-the-top, and meant to be funny, but just be aware.
Sensitive Themes: Here is where it gets tricky. A big focus in this movie involves around foster care and the death of the children’s parents. There is mention of separating the 3 siblings because no one will adopt them together. Obviously this can be triggering and upsetting for some kids. You might want to warn them about this before they see the movie.
I would suggest Playing with Fire for children ages 8 and up. HOWEVER, if you have a sensitive 8 year old, you might want to skip out on this one. I know my (almost) 10 year old will LOVE it, but he is really mature for his age. I think the only thing my 6 year old would enjoy in this movie are the potty scenes, LOL.
Bottom line is, this movie is really meant to be FUN! It’s A LOT of slapstick humor, and something you should try not to take too seriously.
It is not to be forgotten that there really are some great messages in this film, and touching moments. You might even surprise yourself and shed a tear or two.
About Playing With Fire
When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his elite team of expert firefighters (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane) come to the rescue of three siblings (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery and Finley Rose Slater) in the path of an encroaching wildfire, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet – babysitters. Unable to locate the children’s parents, the firefighters have their lives, jobs and even their fire depot turned upside down and quickly learn that kids – much like fires –are wild and unpredictable.
Playing with Fire is in theaters now! Will you be taking your family?