Alice Upside Down



New-girl story with appealing Disney cast.
  • Review Date: July 24, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Positive messages about the need to discover one's talents and gifts, and not feeling discouraged if you are not always the star of the show. A close and supportive extended family is depicted.

Positive role models

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 each other.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

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.

Not applicable

Build-A-Bear boxes and bears are heavily featured. Gateway computers show up in a few scenes.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 25, 2008
DVD release date:July 28, 2008
Cast:Alyson Stoner, Lucas Grabeel, Luke Perry
Director:Sandy Tung
Studio:Anchor Bay Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Alice Upside Down was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 8 year old Written bykwajkid1 September 18, 2010

Serious issues regarding death of parent -- not sleepover material

We chose this movie for a sleepover, not the best setting for watching it! I was unprepared for how heavily the movie deals with issues relating to Alice's mother's death 6 years ago. Issues are handled in an age-appropriate manner, but I was not expecting to encounter them. My daughter said "this is a sad movie" and snuggled with me much more than usual -- as she is 9, I guess I will take y snuggles when I get them ...
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bytangled July 30, 2010
The only reason I added the extra star is because I LOVE the songs. When I watched it I kept on fast-forwarding it just so I could watch the auditon for the school play.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byAlinaW. March 19, 2010

The movie was good, but the book was BETTER . . .

Although this movie was based on the series "Alice" by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, I honestly thought the book was MUCH better. The movie was good of course, but I didn't enjoy it as much as a 14 year old then I would have reading the book again. The Disney cast was well known, but not who I "imagined" while reading the book, so that was kind of a let down. I'd definetly reccomend the books to anyone who has seen this movie, would like to see this movie, or thinks this movie could have had a "little bit more" in the way of plot line, because the book definetly makes up for it! I'd also reccomend the Alice pre-quels to anyone age 9 and up!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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