There’s a child in every adult, as some saying somewhere probably goes, and most of us are up for indulging that youthful side by enjoying a kids’ movie now and then. But let’s face it, there’s definitely a whole lot more adult in every adult, and nothing spices up a seemingly innocent film better than a lewd sexual reference or a sleazy bit of innuendo. So, here are 40 of what we think are the finest (or worst) adult jokes to have crept into kids’ movies.
40. Inside Out
In Pixar’s Inside Out, a 2015 comedy about a girl whose emotions are embodied by a panel of creatures, the protagonist moves to San Francisco and is subsequently kept awake at night by scary noises outside. One of the emotions asks if it was a bear, to which another replies, “I saw a really hairy guy once, who looked like a bear.” A bear in the gay capital of America? They’re certainly not talking about grizzlies…
39. Mrs Doubtfire
Robin Williams had a whale of a time barraging Pierce Brosnan with sexual innuendos in 1993’s Mrs Doubtfire. When the two characters are alone at the table, Mrs Doubtfire lists a number of references to the bedroom, including “little Jack Horny,” “Rumple Foreskin” and “bit of the old cunning linguistics.” You’d think James Bond would have had a good comeback…
Regular entrant Cars makes a final “flashy” appearance on this list. Here, a pair of groupies lift their suspensions and give hero Lightning McQueen a glimpse of their lit-up headlights, which are presumably meant to be… breasts? It’s hard to tell, but McQueen’s lecherous look afterward suggests that it’s something similarly naughty.
37. Aladdin and the King of Thieves
When a movie goes straight to video, you can expect the writers to up the naughty jokes, seeing as no one really cares about those movies, anyway. Take Disney’s 1996 offering Aladdin and the King of Thieves, for example. When Aladdin and Jasmin are getting married, a nearby elephant causes the ground to tremble, to which Robin Williams’ Genie quips, “I thought the earth wasn’t supposed to move until the honeymoon.”
36. Muppet Treasure Island
Kermit and Miss Piggy always had a volatile relationship, so inevitably they’ve had a few rebounds when they weren’t together. In the 1996 film Muppet Treasure Island, for example, Miss Piggy and Tim Curry’s Long John Silver gush over their past romance. Indeed, a dismayed Kermit can only look on as Miss Piggy suggestively greets Silver with “Hello, Looooong John…”
35. The Brave Little Toaster
1987’s The Brave Little Toaster is a pretty dark movie that follows a group of unwanted home appliances on an otherworldly quest to find their original owner. But even by those strange standards, the scene in which a computer gets seriously over-excited when talking about how the supercomputer Wittgenstein “used” it (complete with jazzy old-school porno music) – and then ejects sheets of white paper – feels a bit wrong.
34. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
We know better than to expect subtlety from a Michael Bay movie. But when meeting journalist April (Megan Fox) in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Michaelangelo says, “She’s so hot I can feel my shell tightening.” Yes, and the way he delivers it makes our skin crawl. It’s one thing to make a nudge-nudge-wink-wink innuendo, but don’t make it sound like you’re actually doing stuff!
Vehicular computer-animated comedy Cars certainly doesn’t hold back on adult humour that will be lost on the little ones. At one point in the 2006 Pixar classic, we see the above roadside sign, and while kids will have trouble reading “convertible waitresses” let alone understanding it, the reference is fully exposed for us adults to see.
32. Hocus Pocus
Another joke that tips over from a bit naughty to downright gross is this one from Halloween Disney classic Hocus Pocus. In the 1993 film, when the three witches tell a bus driver that they “desire children,” the leering guy takes it as an invitation for a bewitching foursome – with the caveat that it’ll “take him a couple of tries.”
31. Toy Story
Kicking off our mini-list-within-a-list of dirty jokes in the Toy Story franchise is this allusion to ladies of the night. When the toys are surrounded by the mutilated beings in Sid’s house, one of them is a pair of slender Barbie legs attached to a fishing line with a dangling hook. Ergo, it’s a hooker…
30. Toy Story 2
When cowgirl Jessie shows up in Toy Story 2, Buzz changes from cocky space pioneer to an adolescent who struggles to contain his excitement around her. There’s no better example of this than when Jessie flies acrobatically across the room to open a door, causing Buzz’s wings to uncontrollably stand to attention. It’s okay, Buzz, we’ve all been there…
29. Toy Story 3
Rounding off the Toy Story Sleaze Trilogy is good old Mr. Potato Head, who certainly doesn’t take kindly to the furry villain Lotso stealing his wife’s lips. In a moment that enlightens us as to what potatoes get up to in the sack, an enraged Mr. Potato Head exclaims, “No one takes my wife’s mouth but me!”
28. A Bug’s Life
It must be a tough, confusing life being a male ladybug, as you’re inevitably going to attract unwanted attention. Take poor Francis the ladybug in 1998 Pixar movie A Bug’s Life, for example. Francis gets mistaken for a lady by a sleazy trio of flies, who then ask if he “wants to pollinate with a real bug.”
Lord Farquaad (careful how you pronounce that) is the inept antagonist of Shrek and the butt of many of the movie’s jokes. Donkey and Shrek, for example, snigger about whether his absurdly oversized castle is “compensating for something.” They might just be talking about the fact that Farquaad is four feet tall, of course, but our adult imaginations inevitably go a little below the belt…
26. Wreck-It Ralph
With the whole “popping pills in dark rooms” thing, Pac-Man became an accidental icon of the rave generation. But 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph adds some sexual connotations, too, with the yellow icon being referred to as a “cherry-chasing dot-muncher.”
Nothing is quite as fitting as a good swear word to express the extremity of a situation, but when you do it in a kids’ movie, you need to get creative. Hence, in the 2005 safari comedy Madagascar, Marty the zebra shouts, “Sugar honey iced tea!” when he realizes he’s about to become lion food. It’s all in the first letters of each of the words…
24. Monsters, Inc.
Despite being the movie that makes light of “monsters in the closet,” Monsters, Inc. gives us one of the sauciest adult jokes ever seen in a kids’ movie. Because when Sulley sticks his head out of the wardrobe in one scene, to the left we see that poster. We think Daddy needs a serious word with Uncle Roger…
Most adults with a pop knowledge of psychology will know the tale of Oedipus (the mythical Greek guy who kills his father and then sleeps with his mother; yes, it’s weird) and will chuckle when the eponymous hero of Disney’s Hercules mentions it. Just pray that you don’t need to explain who Oedipus is to some kid watching it with you.
How do robots procreate? This crucial question is answered in Robots, the lighthearted 2005 comedy where we learn that they receive disassembled baby robots in the mail and then make them themselves. In a nice double-gag, robot Herb Copperbottom misses the “delivery” of the baby robot, but his wife reassures him that “making the baby is the fun part.”
Robin Williams is at it again in the first Aladdin. When the Genie expresses his admiration for the titular hero, he feels the need to clarify that he doesn’t like him in that way – by saying, “Not that I want to pick out curtains, or anything.” Because gay people love house-decorating, according to faintly homophobic 1990s logic.
20. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Veruca Salt’s famous question, “Whoever heard of a Snozzberry?” never gets answered in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. But the answer did get revealed in 1979 in another of Roald Dahl’s books, My Uncle Oswald, where a Snozzberry is used to describe a piece of the anatomy usually associated with another fruit, the banana. Probably a good thing Veruca never knew that.
19. The Black Cauldron
In fairness, when the frumpy witch in Disney’s not-too-memorable ’80s fantasy-fest The Black Cauldron asks Fflewddur Fflam, “You don’t mind if I pluck ya harp, do ya handsome?”, he is actually holding a harp. But we know Disney better than that, and this line combined with the witch’s lusty demeanor gives it a whole new layer of meaning.
18. Little Rascals
We’ve had plenty of stand-ins (or stand-ups?) for the ultimate giveaway of male “excitement,” but when Alfalfa’s hair in Little Rascals stands up on end when he kisses his girlfriend Darla, it feels a little… off. These kids are, what, ten years old? And here they are getting hair-erections? But hey, it was the ’90s.
17. Space Jam
When a doctor asks whether you’re “unable to…” and then pauses awkwardly before saying the dreaded word “perform,” we all know what it means. That’s what happened to poor Michael Jordan in Space Jam when a doctor asks if – apart from his problems on the basketball court – he has “performance issues.” He could at least have called it “shooting hoops,” “dunking balls” or something else along those lines.
16. The Emperor’s New Groove
Whoops, Disney did it again, this time with a cheeky gag in The Emperor’s New Groove when Kronk pitches a comically undersized tent pretty much over his crotch. And when a man has a “pitched tent,” we know there needs to be a long, firm pole holding it up, right?
15. Monster House
The Oscar-nominated spooky comedy Monster House sees a trio of kids trying to survive a house that’s quite literally trying to devour them. And when Jenny says to Chowder that they were attacking the house’s “uvula,” the surprisingly anatomically-educated kid replies, “Oh, so it’s a girl house.”
14. The Santa Clause
Kids have no idea what went down in the ’60s: music, partying and free love, all enhanced by a stream of psychoactive substances. However, Tim Allen, as Santa in The Santa Clause, was clearly aware of this when he starts flying and tells his son, “It’s okay, I’m used to it. I lived through the ’60s,” a joke that literally flew over every kids’ head.
13. The Rescuers
Possibly the most infamous production prank in Disney’s history is this – a brief but clear glimpse of a topless woman on a poster in the background in 1977’s The Rescuers. It occurred as the mice Bianca and Bernard speed through the city in a sardine can. Disney only noticed 20 years later and had to order the return of over three million copies of the video release to edit it out.
It’s tough being a man. Start talking like Linguini did in Ratatouille about how you have a “tiny, little…” while doing the universal symbol for “something small” with your fingers, and your manhood will immediately come into question. That pants-ward glance from his love interest, Colette, says it all.
When squeaky-voiced Shaggy gets some unlikely interest from a pretty blonde lady sitting next to him in the 2002 live-action take on Scooby-Doo, he can hardly believe his luck. Not just because he’s punching way above his weight, but also because her name is Mary Jane, Shaggy’s “favorite name.” Confirmation (if ever we needed it) that Shaggy’s a massive stoner, maybe?
10. The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat movie adaptation didn’t do justice to Dr. Seuss’ witty creation, and it wasn’t helped by its crass sense of humor. Case in point: Mike Meyers, as The Cat, chucks away a gardening implement, calling it a “dirty hoe,” then grabs it and starts licking it while saying, “I love you.” It’s a joke that’s equal parts “meh” and “argh.”
9. The Incredibles
Whenever someone has superpowers, they pretty much end up falling into the category of villain or hero (or sometimes an ambivalent, conflicted in-betweener like the Incredible Hulk). But 2004 Pixar movie The Incredibles takes superpowers down a sordid path when it shows a headline reading, “X-RAY VISION PEEPING TOM?” What next – invisible child molesters?
8. Cars 2
The Cars series is particularly prolific for its X-rated jokes, but this one from the first sequel is easily the most extreme. It all looks perfectly innocent as the villainous Lemons have themselves a Lemon Party. If you’ve trawled the darker corners of the internet, you’ll know what “Lemon Party” stands for. If not, then best keep things that way…
7. The Rugrats Movie
Okay, so circumcision isn’t specifically a sexual thing, but for a baby to make a reference to the state of its own genitalia is still pretty explicit. That’s what happens in The Rugrats Movie when one infant investigates his diaper and is relieved to find his bits intact. Then another looks down and says, “Consider yourself lucky.”
6. The Mask
It’s not all that surprising that Jim Carrey’s whirlwind performance in The Mask would’ve thrown up some adult references easily missed by the kids. Like the part where he’s distracting a bunch of goons with animal balloons and accidentally pulls a condom from his pocket. And there we all were thinking it was just a white, flaccid balloon.
5. 101 Dalmatians
Bestiality is definitely among the weirder sexual quirks. But while we’ve heard so many stories about it by now that it seems like just “another one of those things,” no one would’ve expected it to get a mention in family-friendly pup flick 101 Dalmatians. Still, it occurs when Cruella de Vil insinuates that Jeff Daniels’ character fathered puppies with a canine.
“Aww, look. That mouse is using the other mouse’s tail to gather beads that fell on the floor.” Sure, sure it is. But watching the bead-gathering scene in Cinderella from an adult perspective and pausing it at just the right moment conjures a whole other kind of beading going on.
When this male skunk in Bambi gets a kiss from Bambi’s buddy Flower, he quickly turns red from top to toe, hardening from the excitement. This cheeky, full-body stiffy certainly has other connotations!
2. The Little Mermaid
Falling into the gray area of did-Disney-do-this-on-purpose? is the semi-legendary scene in The Little Mermaid where the Prince marries an undercover Ursula. In it, the minister seems to get a bit over-excited about the two pretty people standing in front of him. Thinking ahead to the consummation later that night, maybe?
1. The Road to El Dorado
In DreamWorks’ animated colonial adventure The Road to El Dorado, romance blossoms between rakish hero Tulio and the striking Chel. But instead of it ending in the usual cartoon kisses, we hear the sounds of slurping offscreen. And when they then get interrupted and pop their heads up into shot, Chel appears from somewhere a little too low down on Tulio’s body for it to have been an innocent peck on the cheek.