Ricky Stanicky parents guide: This Zac Efron comedy is no High School Musical

Zac Efron is back in the world of comedy and stars in Ricky Stanicky on Prime Video. But is it soarin', flyin'?

Ricky Stanicky
Ricky Stanicky /

There is no doubt that High School Musical and Bad Neighbors fans have been eagerly waiting for a new Zac Efron comedy. We've seen him go dark as Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. He's done drama in The Iron Claw. And neither Firestarter nor The Greatest Beer Run ever really scratched that Efron comedy itch. Now he's back with Ricky Stanicky on Prime Video. But is this a movie that’s suitable for the kids in the house?

There are sure to be some High School Musical fans in the house. Those who grew up with the movies are now at the perfect age to watch Efron’s latest release. Those who are still young enough to relate to the HSM series, on the other hand, might want to find something else to watch.

Ricky Stanicky is rated R for a reason.

Alcohol use, drug use, and inappropriate material are seen throughout Ricky Stanicky

Ricky Stanicky focuses on three friends who have blamed their pranks on a childhood imaginary friend for decades. They named him Ricky Stanicky, and he became an important part of their lives. When they wanted to get out of an obligation or a mess, "Ricky" was always there with a helping hand.

Of course, their partners start to get suspicious. When one of the wives has a baby, her family suggests that Ricky comes to the circumcision ceremony. And naturally, antics that aren’t appropriate for minors ensue.

There is a lot of drug use and drinking throughout the movie. In fact, at one point, one of the characters pulls out ketamine and suggests that they drug a guest at the circumcision party. While the other two friends know it’s wrong, they still agree to go ahead with it.

John Cena’s Rod Rimstead (who pretends to be Ricky Stanicky for the friends) is an alcoholic. There’s a moment where he drinks what’s left of a broken bottle of alcohol off a dirty cardboard box to show the severity of his disease.

Then there’s the language. Rod is an impersonator, but he sings some of the most inappropriate versions of songs by the likes of Britney Spears and Boy George. All the characters regularly swear. This is an American comedy, so the harshest of the words is the F-bomb rather than the C-word, but it is still used frequently.

All in all, you won’t want your children to get any ideas from this movie. It starts off as kids pulling pranks and blaming it on an imaginary friend, which is pretty common and normal. These kids take it too far as they get older. And quite honestly, the comedy isn’t all that great. John Cena is the best part of the whole movie, not Zac Efron, unfortunately. Seems like someone needed to getcha head in the game.

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Ricky Stanicky is now available to stream on Prime Video.