Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this comedy classic opens with a bloody murder scene that's just a prank on the viewer, and isn't indicative of the rest of the film. Later, a character gets robbed and beaten, though not much is shown, and another character dies when he's run over by a train offscreen. Non-explicit references to sex. Several main characters smoke cigarettes and refer to drinking. Some African-American characters border on comic stereotypes, though these depictions are paired with a dignified all-black church sequence near the end. A child leads a crazy, reckless vehicle chase in his souped-up go-kart.
Very mild verbal innuendo about hanky-panky behind the scenes of the movie industry, girls being "taken advantage of." Discreet scenes of the heroine in the shower. Verbal joke about studio executive agreeing to produce a movie as long as there's "a little sex."
Fake-out opener of a violent fight and murder, which turns out to be just an overwrought film's conclusion. Sullivan is robbed, beaten, and brutalized and attacks another man with a rock, but nothing explicit is shown. Another character is killed, non-explicitly (but we're given to understand there isn't much left), by a train. A slapsticky car chase.
The whole film builds to a morality lesson in the vital importance of laughter and levity (and its cinematic expression, movie comedy) in stressed-out, non-funny times. A secondary message about the disconnect between the privileged and the underprivileged, and how this can cause misunderstandings, however well meaning people are.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Much casual smoking by main characters. Hint of drunkenness.