In recent years, filmmakers have gotten a lot better at making kids’ movies appeal to adults – usually by filling it with jokes and references that the average kid won’t even understand. There are almost too many to choose from, but these are just a few of our favorite adult jokes that younger audiences never caught.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Hidden Adult Jokes in Children's Movies.
The Road to El Dorado
In this Dreamworks adventure, two quasi-criminals quest to find a mystical “city of gold,” but it wouldn't be much of a movie if things went smoothly for the heroes Tulio and Miguel. The journey isn't all bad though, especially for Tulio, who enjoys the company of a beautiful woman named Chel. In fact, he's enjoying their time together more than anyone would think appropriate for a children's adventure. In one scene, the camera pans across a couch before Chel appears from below, followed by a... satisfied Tulio. Considering the sounds heard before they're interrupted - and the fact that their heads pop up from two different places - the animators seem to be implying something far more adult than a PG kids movie. But we'll let you decide.
In the wacky universe of Space Jam, anything could happen! After a cosmic amusement park experiences a dip in attendance, the owner starts to scout out some new talent. When The Looney Tunes become the target of a cosmic amusement park owner looking to boost profits, they wind up having their freedom bet on a basketball game. Thankfully, the Looney Tunes have Michael Jordan on their side, but the opposition is tough. The MonSTARS cheat by stealing the talents of real-world NBA stars. When the players are given physicals to try to understand why they suddenly can’t play basketball, the doctor drops a erectile dysfunction joke, asking about their performance off the court. That one definitely stayed under the radar of most kids.
In the first Shrek, the title ogre's peaceful existence is ruined when an evil lord banishes all fairy tale characters to live in his beloved swamp. Shrek heads off to see the lord and convince him to reverse the decision, but even before he meets “Lord Farquaad," kids will have missed a particularly crude joke. Try saying Lord Farquaad’s name twice as fast, and you’ll hear the R-Rated nickname some fans claim is an obvious joke ("Lord F***wad"). Not to mention Shrek and Donkey implying that his massive castle is "compensating for something."
Neighborly disputes are common, but Monster House shows how bad things can get when the owner’s soul literally merges with his house. When the films’ trio of kids losing their basketball on the property leads to a grisly scuffle, the kids decide to investigate inside. The house is modeled after the human body, with references to anatomy worked right into its architecture. The parts of the house never head below the belt, but when a part of the human anatomy comes close, the filmmakers couldn’t pass up the gag that even adults might miss: when the discovery of the house's uvula - dangling in the back of the throat - leads one kid to realize it must be "a female house."
Not all cartoons translate well to live-action, but Disney’s retelling of 101 Dalmations sticks pretty close to the original story. When Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close) talks to stars Roger (Jeff Daniels) and Anita (Joely Richardson), it’s revealed that the couple is also expecting a baby to go along with the upcoming litter of puppies. Cruella snaps her gaze to Roger and exclaims that that he really has been "a busy boy," making a crude joke that is, at best, accusing him of cheating - and at worst, bestiality. Neither one seems at home in a Disney movie.
The Little Mermaid
When the restless star of The Little Mermaid falls in love with a human, she makes a deal that goes horribly wrong. Ariel winds up with her prince charming in the end, but the film's wedding scene didn’t help to quiet the persistent belief that Disney likes to hide adult references in all of their children's movies. Conspiracy theorists like to point out that the minister is far too excited to be leading the ceremony, while Disney’s defenders claim his knobby, protruding knees are the obvious explanation for the bulge in his pants. Either way, Disney took note, and only copies produced during the original run contain the scene in its true state. It was modified for the 2006 re-release.
Muppet Treasure Island
Based on the classic pirate caper, Muppet Treasure Island keeps to the original plot, sending Muppets on a search for treasure while navigating pirate-infested waters. The Muppets have always been as popular with adults as kids, and known for incorporating dirty, sometimes dark humor into their shows. One of the film’s more risqué scenes sees Kermit and Miss Piggy reunite, with the pink pirate discussing her past lovers. She then greets Tim Curry’s 'Long John Silver' a little too intimately - as "Loooooooong John" - leading Kermit to assume they’ve also knocked boots.
Most parents learn fast that inventing words or phrases to replace cursing in front of their kids is a must, but sometimes, the cleverest solutions make it into film. In the animal adventure Madagascar, a group of pampered animals escape their New York zoo to wind up on the island of Madagascar. Alex the lion is prone to hunger-induced hallucinations, which means his friend Marty the zebra starts to look a little too delicious. When their ride home arrives, Marty runs to fetch a starving Alex, but as Marty realizes that Alex is only looking for a meal, he shouts out a seemingly meaningless string of words: "Sugar Honey Iced Tea!" When adults take a second to think it over, they’ll realize the words’ first letters are... perfectly accurate.
The Rugrats Movie
If you were watching Nickelodeon in the nineties, there’s a good chance you know cartoon babies Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil, and the rest of the Rugrats gang. The cartoon’s full-length movie saw Tommy and his friends set out to return his newborn brother Dil to the hospital. The show was always a bit edgy, but one dirty little joke slides by almost completely undetected. A conversation between two newborns turns dark as one laments the loss of her umbilical cord, cuing the second, male baby to stare longingly into his diaper, telling her to be happy that’s all they took. Ouch.
Deadbeat dads are nothing new for Hollywood, but when it’s Robin Williams in the role, you know it’s going to be funny. It’s bad enough that his character loses his kids in a custody battle with his soon-to-be ex-wife, but disguising himself as the elderly 'Mrs. Doubtfire' actually works - until a new suitor named Stu (Pierce Brosnan) starts courting his wife. People who only saw the movie as children might now realize that the villainous Stu was actually a decent guy, but most of the sexual innuendo probably went completely over their heads.
No conversation proves it better than Mrs. Doubtfire’s attempt to scare him off by discussing his wife's nighttime hobbies, all of which were completely meaningless to the kids just laughing at a man dressed as an old woman.
So what do you think of our list? Did we miss any of your favorite hidden jokes in kids movies? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.