Alice Upside Down
By Nancy Davis Kho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
New-girl story with appealing Disney cast.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive messages about the need to discover your talents and gifts and not feeling discouraged if you aren't always the star of the show.
Positive Role Models
A close and supportive extended family is depicted. But Alice lies to her teacher and is sent to the principal's office and is rude to her father at times. Siblings snip but are generally supportive of one another.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild innuendo from teen son to widowed father about his "needs." The same teen sings in a band called Naked Nomads and is pursued by female fans. Adults talk to kids about someone being "hot" in high school, and the father and his new girlfriend share one romantic on-screen kiss.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Build-A-Bear boxes and bears are heavily featured. Gateway computers show up in a few scenes.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is about an 11-year-old girl whose mother died five years earlier trying to negotiate a new school and find the right role model. A cherished teacher must leave school for heart surgery, but recovers. The tween heroine suffers what she considers incredible social embarrassment, repeatedly.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Based on 3 parent reviews
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
In ALICE UPSIDE DOWN, 11-year-old Alice McKinley (Alyson Stoner) has a double challenge: to adjust to life as the new kid in school in Silver Spring, and to find a female role model who can help negotiate the mysteries of growing up in the absence of her deceased mom. Her father (Luke Perry) and brother Lester (Lucas Grabeel) are well-meaning but clueless about Alice's inner turmoil, which reaches a fever pitch as the curtain rises on the school play. Will Alice learn to value her true gifts instead of coveting the successes of her classmates?
Is It Any Good?
The movie, based on the book The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, strikes the right note about the trials and tribulations of the middle school years. Girls from age 10 to 13 will relate not only to Alice's anxieties, but to her rich inner fantasy life in which she is rich, popular, beautiful, and favored by her teachers. It's nice to have a movie aimed at tweens where the pining is not for a cute boy, but for a friendly teacher.
The studio put together a cast sure to tap into Disney's audience, combining High School Musical's Grabeel with Camp Rock's Stoner. Both are appealing in their roles, and Grabeel gets a chance to sing again, albeit shirtless as part of his band's shtick. Alice's evolving relationship with her tough-as-nails teacher Mrs. Plotkin (Penny Marshall) rings true. Perry acquits himself nicely as the father dipping a toe in the dating waters again, though he doesn't quite seem old enough to have a teenaged son.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Alice's efforts to get assigned to a new classroom. Why is the choice of her teacher so important to her?
Discuss some of the events that Alice considers humiliating -- are they really so bad?
Have you ever had a teacher like Mrs. Plotkin, and was there anything you appreciated about her afterwards?
- In theaters: July 25, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: July 28, 2008
- Cast: Alyson Stoner, Lucas Grabeel, Luke Perry
- Director: Sandy Tung
- Inclusion Information: Pansexual actors
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: April 26, 2023
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best High School Movies
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.See how we rate