Alley Cats Strike

Movie review by
Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
Alley Cats Strike Movie Poster Image
Upbeat Disney underdog sports drama has positive messages.
  • NR
  • 2000
  • 87 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

No direct educational content, but plenty of positive messages.

Positive Messages

The movie teaches not to judge on first impressions or reputations, and that you can always find common ground. Encourages young people to stay true to themselves yet not to fear change. Friendship and loyalty are also strong themes, as is coming together for the greater good.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters, Alex and Todd, are both judgmental at the start, locking horns and refusing to work together, though they gradually accept and help each other. Alex's father is a strong role model throughout, showing kindness and support. But Todd's father puts too much pressure on his son to win and places success above all else -- a trait shown in many of the other adult characters. There are some stereotypes of popular kids being mean and two adults place a bet on the bowling match, but most characters learn from their mistakes over the course of the movie.

Violence & Scariness

There is a slight verbal altercation between two groups. One character pretends they are going to "ruff up" their friend.

Sexy Stuff

Some harmless flirting -- arm around shoulder -- but there are no sexual undertones.

Language

No profanity, but occasional derogatory terms such as "dork," "strange," and "loser."

Consumerism

Mention of fashion and purchasing new uniforms for the bowling team. There is a shopping trip to buy party items for the bowling alley, but they are given away for free.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Alley Cats Strike is a family sports drama -- with many positive messages -- about a boy and his outsider friends who spend their spare time bowling. It is a feel-good Disney TV movie with some fun scenes and catchy music. The overall message is not to judge others and that kindness and community are more important than winning -- Alex (Kyle Schmid) and his friends try to steer clear of any school spirit until they are forced to take part in a big inter-school competition. Some of the characters appear stereotypical at first, and the different groups make fun of each other at school. But the "underdogs" on the bowling team stand up for themselves and don't care what others think. Many authority figures put pressure on the younger characters to win, and the two town mayors place a bet on the game. But there are no "bad guys" in the movie. There is an underlying story about Alex's father struggling financially because the bowling alley is unpopular, but it's also the catalyst for characters to come together to try and help.

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What's the story?

In ALLEY CATS STRIKE, Alex Thompson (Kyle Schmid) spends his days at his father's bowling alley, playing with friends and avoiding the trappings of regular school life. But when a big annual school sports competition ends in a tie, it's decided the tie-break match should be between the school's bowling teams.

Is it any good?

A wholesome, old-fashioned feeling of nostalgia runs through this sweet family movie, from the music to the portrayal of the innocence of youth. Rod Daniel -- director of 80s high-school comedy, Teen Wolf -- lines up the perfect mix of teen drama and town spirit to keep it energetic, with some fun training and dance montages thrown in. The underlying story of finding common ground in different schools is hardly original and is packed with clichés. But the strong identities of the bowling group compared to the jocks and cheerleaders gives it almost a High School Musical feel, with the predictable story rolling along at an enjoyable pace.

Alley Cats Strike builds the pressure well, and creates a strong sense of community within the town, even as it shows the downsides to placing such a strong onus on competition. Most of the young actors are convincing and the eagle-eyed will spot a young Kaley Cuoco from The Big Bang Theory among the bowling buddies. That said, some of the adult acting is a touch hammy at times. Overall, this is inoffensive fun with a solid message that'll strike a chord and have the whole family cheering for the team.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the positive messages in Alley Cats Strike. How does the movie teach us not to judge on first impressions? What other messages does the movie teach us?

  • How are stereotypes used in the movie? Were they necessary to the story? How stereotypes in movies and on TV can impact kids' development.

  • Discuss the father-son relationships in the movie -- what are the similarities and differences between them? What makes a good relationship between a parent and child?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

Character Strengths

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