A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits is the fourth entry in Warner Bros.' Cinderella Story franchise. Building upon the success of the other films, this movie engages the target audience by creating a likable, talented young princess-in-waiting, giving her the always-formidable evil stepmother/sisters and then spinning a musical romance in which she steals the heart of a very noble Prince Charming. Music and dance take center stage in this fairy tale, but it isn't the classical music one might expect at royal balls and palace soirees. It's contemporary, upbeat, and energetic. In this story, the Cinderella is the modern-day "Tessa," who loves being a mechanic and who falls for a princely pop-rock star. It's a farcical tale as well. The stepmother, the stepsisters, and much of the plot are outrageously nonsensical, but it all works. A few comic pratfalls (a tussle, a mini-fire, the heroine held captive) and a bit of comic suspense move the story along. A fart joke, bird poop, and one "hell" earned this movie its PG rating.
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What's the story?
Tessa (Sofia Carson) is a true Cinderella, living in the 21st century in A CINDERELLA STORY: IF THE SHOE FITS. Plagued by her atrociously mean-spirited, social-climbing stepmother, Divine (Jennifer Tilly in all-out deranged comic villain form), and two helplessly inept stepsisters, Tessa finds small comfort in working with cars, a skill she learned from her beloved deceased dad, a race car driver. Forced to go along to "assist" her family when they vacation at a special VIP week at a famous resort, Tessa soon becomes intrigued by the planned events. Auditions will be held for an end-of-the-week stage performance of Cinderella, starring current pop sensation Reed West (Thomas Law). Tessa sings, and Tessa dances, but only in private, definitely not for an audition and definitely not in view of Divine and company. If only, Tess thinks. Magic arrives in the form of one of the most engaging fairy godmothers of all time, a sweet, encouraging makeup artist named Georgie. From then on, the young princess-in-waiting's fate is sealed. It's a comedy of disguises, quick changes, and love-at-almost-first-sight. And, in true fairy tale style, it's only a matter of time before the glass slipper finds its home.
Is it any good?
Broad comedy, a sparkling heroine, and a smitten young prince team up with contemporary singing and dancing to make this an appealing, solidly produced modern-day fairy tale. The talented Sofia Carson as Tessa/"Bella Snow" deftly handles the comedy and the mild pathos and sells the pop-star musical numbers as well. Her costar is Thomas Law, a charming young Englishman. Jennifer Tilly's take on the evil stepmother may be a stretch for some, but one has to admire the lack of vanity and pure enjoyment with which she tackles a familiar role and makes it her own. A special shout-out to young Nicole Fortuin as Georgie, who does a splendid version of "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" without the magic wand. Despite the outlandishness of the situations, the filmmakers play it straight, and A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits should make its target audience very happy. There's nothing to offend and much to enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss how series of movies such as the Cinderella Story franchise provide a built-in audience for each successive entry. Have you seen any of the others in the series? What qualities or concepts do these movies share? Does enjoying A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits motivate you to see the others?
Find out what "slapstick humor" means. Which scenes in this movie fit the definition? How does Jennifer Tilly's performance as Divine fit the definition?
Georgie was not the traditional fairy godmother to Tessa; she didn't bring any magic with her. In what ways did she serve as the fairy godmother character? When and how did you realize that Georgie was playing that role?
- On DVD or streaming: August 16, 2016
- Cast: Sofia Carson, Thomas Law, Jennifer Tilly
- Director: Michelle Johnston
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Some mild rude humor
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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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.
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