Troop Zero

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Troop Zero Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Heartwarming, funny underdog story has cursing, potty humor.
  • PG
  • 2020
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 40 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 14 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Strongly promotes standing up for oneself and one's beliefs, individuality, teamwork, independence, and good sportsmanship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Recognizes and finds value in a wide canvas of people, both adults and kids, who get the job done despite obstacles. Heroine is resourceful, compassionate, courageous, determined, honest, and loyal; she affects others in a positive way. Comically hateful villain is seen as misguided rather than cruel; she learns a lesson. Stereotypical mean girls get their comeuppance, but probably don't change. Ethnic diversity. Some Southern stereotypes.

Violence

Some pushing and shoving, falls, a food fight. Mean girls intimidate heroes. 

Sex
Language

Occasional swearing ("ass," "damn," "s--t," a character's name is "Hell-No"). Bullying and insults ("half-ass," "pee-girl," "freak," "girl-boy"). Bed-wetting and peeing are important to the story. Peeing on camera. Vomiting and farting.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer drinking; a character sneaks alcohol into an iced drink. Smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Troop Zero is an unconventional comedy in which a familiar underdog story turns out fresh and original. Set in 1977 Georgia, it follows young Christmas Flint (McKenna Grace), a quirky, space-loving girl who's coping with the death of her mom just as the United States is preparing to launch two Voyager spacecraft carrying records of sounds of life on Earth. Her efforts to become part of the project -- assisted by a ragtag gang of other kids she enlists, including a gender-nonconforming boy -- are both funny and affecting. Expect occasional swearing ("ass," "damn," "hell," "s--t") and bullying insults ("half-ass," "freak," "girl-boy," "bed-wetter"). A character vomits; there's also unintentional pants-wetting and a fart. Some tussling occurs: pushing, a punch, a fall, a food fight, and mean girls' intimidation. A scout leader smokes and adults drink beer but doesn't get drunk. Some mean-girl and Southern exaggerations/stereotypes.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byAspieMom January 22, 2020

Disappointing, Racially Blind

I found it very disappointing that this movie is set in the 70's, in the deep south, and they choose to completely whitewash the racism of the time as if i... Continue reading
Adult Written byCharlillivan January 19, 2020

Great life lessons!

I watched with my 3yo, 7yo and 10yo and they loved it! Yeah they say a few bad words but it's nothing they dont hear at school, and don't pretend they... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byA.Ham January 19, 2020

Good but for the stupid ending

There’s cussing, smoking, and a big scene of p*ss. Not really that good.
Kid, 9 years old June 2, 2020

Very good but it should be PG-13

I should be PG-13 because there are 55 bad words in the movie so I say four time language and drinking drugs and smoking should be four because they smoke and d... Continue reading

What's the story?

Christmas Flint (McKenna Grace) is enamored with the cosmos as TROOP ZERO launches. It's 1977 -- the spacecraft Voyagers I and II have announced that they'll be recording voices and sounds of Earth for a "Golden Record" to be taken on their next exploration. The spectacular news for Christmas is that at the next Birdie Scout Jamboree, a winning troop will be selected for inclusion on that record. How amazing would it be if her recently-deceased mom, whom she believes is out among the stars, could hear her voice and connect with her? Of course, Christmas, an outsider among her peers, isn't a Birdie Scout. The troop in her economically-eclectic neighborhood, headed by the prim and proper Miss Massey (Allison Janney), turns her down, but the determined girl refuses to give up. She enlists a team of other outsiders -- a spunky girl and her physically-dominating sidekick; a devout Christian with one eye; and a boy whose gender is evolving -- and creates a troop of her own. Christmas coerces her lawyer dad's assistant, the uncompromising Miss Rayleen (Viola Davis), to be their "scout mother," and the troop is established -- and derisively named Troop Zero by the Birdie Scout establishment. All the kids have to do now is earn the necessary badges, wow the judges at the jamboree, and win!  

Is it any good?

An endearingly-gifted young leading lady, sparkling supporting performances, and a devilishly irreverent take on the underdog story make this period movie funny, surprising, and notably current. McKenna Grace's Christmas Flint is an unforgettable character, and she's surrounded by a group of young actors who seem remarkably at ease as they inhabit their eccentric roles. Jim Gaffigan is wonderful as Christmas's beleaguered widowed dad, and Viola Davis and Allison Janney make terrific sparring partners. Co-directors Bert & Bertie, working from a script by Lucy Alibar, have succeeded in making a family movie with just enough grit -- it's mostly wholesome but it has its moments -- to make it special. Troop Zero first appeared in the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how often a dead parent is part of the storyline in films made for kids and families. How does that element immediately help identify the emotional place in which we find a character? How does it help set up the relationship with the character's surviving parent? How did Christmas' hopes to connect with her recently departed mom drive the story in Troop Zero?

  • How did the filmmakers make the movie, set in the '70s, very contemporary? What issues did they explore? What was the tone of the movie?

  • Why do you think the filmmakers chose David Bowie's music for this movie? How did the songs contribute to both the story and energy of the film? 

  • Find out more about the space program's "Golden Record" project. Did you enjoy seeing the actual footage during the end credits of the movie? Did it make the story more real and relevant?

Movie details

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