A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 16-Love is made for tweens and teens who like to see an appealing, talented young heroine work hard to achieve success and romance, and to squelch a mean girl along the way. Tennis is the canvas for this story about independence, first love, and parent-child relationships. Other than being a veritable billboard for sporting goods products and beverages, there's nothing objectionable in this predictable movie with straightforward messages about growing up.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In 16-LOVE, Ally Mash (Lindsey Shaw) is near the height of a sparkling career as junior tennis tournament player in Southern California. Coached hard by her demanding dad (Keith Coulouris), Ally will tell you that "tennis is her life." She's willing to forego friends, parties, all the other stuff that goes along with being a high school student. So she's devastated when she injures her ankle in a prep match against an arrogant Russian girl just weeks before the Junior Open tournament. Confined to an all-consuming regimen designed by her dad (yoga, strength training, massage, therapy), Ally is reluctant at first to return the attentions of an adorable boy (Chandler Massey) who just happens to play tennis, too. Soon, however, though she works hard to prepare for the Junior Open, Ally begins to see the value of balance, fun, and just being a teen.
Is it any good?
Though well-intentioned, with clearly stated messages and values, 16-Love opts for one-dimensional characters and teen stereotypes instead of authentic, fully formed people.
The outcomes are never in doubt; some of the acting is amateurish; and it often feels like an extended commercial for Dunlop and other products associated with athletics. Still, Lindsey Shaw and Chandler Massey, are easy to root for; their performances are heartfelt and natural. There's plenty of innocent romance and just enough tennis to hold the audience's interest and keep the story moving.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss all the companies that advertised their products during this movie. How do the filmmakers benefit from showing those products? What do the companies hope the audiences will take away from this kind of exposure?
Why do you like watching movies about sports? Can you think of a sports movie you liked in which the team or player did not win "the big game" or match or tournament? Was that story still enjoyable? Why, and what did you learn from it?
What does it mean to be a "good sport"? How does this movie show both good and bad sportsmanship?
- In theaters: January 20, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: January 14, 2013
- Cast: Chandler Massey, Keith Coulouris, Lindsey Shaw
- Director: Adam Lipsius
- Studio: Uptown 6 Productions
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Friendship
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild thematic elements and brief innuendo
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.