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Loophole Abuses in Film (Both Live Action and Animation)

  • In the film adaptation of Dick King Smith's Babe, Farmer Hogget plans to enter the titular character in a herding contest for dogs... despite Babe being a pig with an odd talent for sheepherding. He was concerned that the entry papers night say Name of Dog, because he couldn’t in good conscience put "Pig" down for that. The form, however, says Name of Entry. So Farmer Hogget is in the clear: it never asked you to specify that you were entering a dog.
  • In Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End, Rules Lawyer Barbossa knows the pirate's code so damn well, he's able to pull this on Jack, even going as far as to tell Jack's Dad on him, who happens to be the Keeper of the Code and scary beyond all reason. Jack makes Barbossa regret this by pulling a dragon right back on him.
    • Barbossa uses and subverts this:

  Barbossa: First of all, returning you to Port Royal was never part of our negotiations or agreement, so I must do nothing. Second, you have to be a pirate for the Pirate Code to apply, and you're not. And third... the Code is more a set of guidelines than what you'd call actual "rules".

      • Like all good Rules Lawyer lawyers, Barbossa has no problem with the rules bending- as long as they bend in his favor.
    • Plus, his agreement to release Jack and Elizabeth...with no specification about when or where, so he just maroons them on an island.
  • In ~Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan~ and the 2009 Star Trek film, the Kobayashi Maru test. Starfleet actually had to add a "no reprogramming the simulator" rule after Kirk's shot at it, and according to the Expanded Universe, this kicked off a whole tradition of loopholing the scenario.
    • Not only that, but it became an expectation of any student to find a way to beat the simulation with outside-the-box thinking.
  • In the Swedish movie The Call-up, the protagonists (who are doing their military service) are out on exercise and need to drive back to base. The quickest way back is over a bridge, but the bridge has been declared destroyed (and everyone is supposed to play along, of course) and a guard refuses to let them pass. Their solution? They drive to a hardware store, buy some paint, and paint the words "Helicopter" on the truck. The guard can't stop them crossing that way.
  • In The Dirty Dozen the named dozen are in war games when they switch their armbands to the other side's color and infiltrate their headquarters. When questioned on this tactic, they reply, "We're traitors".
  • In Air Bud, there is apparently no rule against a dog playing basketball. Probably because no one ever thought that would come up ever.
    • Combination of Truth in Television with Did Not Do the Research. You would be hard-pressed to find a "the players have to be humans" rule. However, most schools have rules preventing pets from being taken onto the premises and rules governing the handling of live animal mascots. Bud would never have been allowed on the court, except perhaps for a half time stunt.
  • In the movie Winning London, the Olsen twins have to save some "hostages" as part of a Model UN convention/competition. As it's all pretend, the hostages are just in the next room over, so they take the literal approach and climb through the air vents to save them. After coming back into the room, one boy shouts "You said we had to work it out on paper!", to which the official responds "No, I said you had to work it out."
  • Subverted in Ratatouille: There Ain't No Rule saying a rat can't become a chef (in fact, the phrase "Anyone Can Cook" practically qualifies as Arc Words), but there is a rule that a rat can't be in a restaurant kitchen. Remy spends most of the film trying to be a chef without getting caught breaking the second rule; near the end of the film, the presence of Remy and his clan in the kitchen of Gusteau's still constitutes a health code violation that gets the restaurant closed down. Even that is just a temporary setback for Remy, as he and his (human) friends just open a bistro, where they presumably do a better job of hiding the rats.
  • Flubber where the professor put flubber on the shoes of his school's basketball team when they are losing an important game. As a result, the team suddenly find themselves able to easily make impossibly high jumps to win the game. Although the coach of the opposing team protests this development, the stunned referee refuses to stop play because there is no rule that establishes a height limit of players' jumps, even though it is obvious this sudden advantage for the team appearing mid-game must be be the result of some kind of external aid that is likely against the rules.
  • Semi-Pro: Ain't no rule says you can't play drunk. Well, there is a rule, but they can't enforce it. ("Remember those 30 free throws I did in Minnesota last year?" "Yeah?" "I don't.")
  • In the movie Blades of Glory there ain't no rule saying two guys can't skate as a pairs team.[1]
  • In Zoom, in the final scenes of the movie as we see the 'Happy-Ever-After' scenes for each of the super-powered kids, we watch the expanding boy playing soccer as the goalie and being the team hero, as there Ain't No Rule against being able to expand your body parts to block the entire goal so no shots can go in.
  • Shows up in the ending to Juwanna Mann, where a male basketball player is forced to play for a WNBA team, crossdressed, and wins the final game for them. He wins by making a slam dunk, which IS forbidden in WNBA rules. In fact, it was brought up earlier in the movie that he could NOT score using slam dunks. Which is a departure from real WNBA rules, which do not prohibit dunks. It's just that very few women can dunk on a 10-foot rim.
  • Necessary Roughness and Waterboy. Ain't no rule that a man can't play football among boys! In Necessary Roughness, the rule is the NCAA eligibility rule, which states that a player begins his eligibility the day he first enrolls in college. So technically, though Blake was 34 years old, he's a "freshman" to the NCAA; he has three full years of eligibility remaining after the movie. A notable real-life example is Chris Weinke, who played six years of minor league baseball (for which he would not have been eligible to compete at the NCAA level) before enrolling ad Florida State and becoming a quarterback in football (for which he still was eligible.)
  • In D2: The Mighty Ducks, the Ducks try on new uniforms (which were the uniforms of the just-created Anaheim Ducks, which in the timeline of the films were not yet invented) for the third period of the final game (they before had been Team USA). Despite the opposing coach's protests, the play-by-play announcer notes that he has "just been informed that there is no rule against changing uniforms during a game".
    • In many sports there actually isn't a rule about changing uniforms halfway through. Some teams raise money for charity by doing this and then auctioning off one set of uniforms after the game.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid "Rules!? In a knife fight!? No rules!"
    • To be fair, even if there had been rules, Butch wouldn't have cheated in the knife fight. He cheated immediately before the knife fight.
  • Subverted in ~Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby~. Not only is there a rule against getting out of the car and running, but they're both disqualified for it. Double subverted in that neither cares, and still count it as a moral victory for Ricky Bobby.
  • In the 1986 film Lucas, scrawny 14-year old Lucas Bly takes advantage of a school district rule that says that school sports teams must allow any child with an interest to play in order to join the school football team in a misguided effort to impress the girl he is crushing on. The coach is reluctant, as Lucas can best be described as "scrawny", but it forced by the school district to let Lucas onto the team. The first time he actually plays, though, Lucas is injured so badly he requires hospitalization. There might not be a rule against scrawny runts joining a football team, but maybe there should be.
  • Jason constantly does this to Kelly in Mystery Team.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger during basic training a drill sargeant offer the recruits a challenge: if one of the recruits is able to get the flag from the top of a tall metal pole, he will be allowed to skip the rest of a training run. The pole is slippery and the recruits exhausted so the task seems impossible. Steve Rogers realizes that the instructor never mentioned actually climbing the pole so he simply waits for everyone else to give up, walks up to the pole and calmly removes the pin securing it to its base and lets the pole fall to the ground where he easily detaches the flag. It's one of the many Establishing Character Moments for the future Captain America.
  • Several times in Fright Night 2011. Vampires can't enter residences without an invitation, but there's nothing against pretending to be delivery boys, attacking victims in abandoned houses or blowing their homes up.
  • Done by Griphook in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 after he double crosses the trio during the raid on Bellatrix's vault at Gringotts.

 Griphook: I said I'd get you in. I never said anything about letting you out!

  • In Lord of War, the Interpol Agent pursuing Yuri accuses him of exploiting a loophole in international arms trading laws by shipping military vehicles and their armament seperately so they don't count as prohibited/embargoed heavy weapons.
  • Bad Words focuses on a high school dropout named Guy Trilby entering a spelling bee to get his revenge after suffering an embarrassing lost as a child. What loophole did the 40 year old found… there isn’t a rule against adults from being a participant in said contest.
  1. In Real Life, there is for Pairs Skating in the Winter Olympics (spoil-sports), but the competition in the movie is the fictional "World Winter Sports Game".