A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Not the helpless heroine message you usually get from Cinderella stories.
Positive Role Models
Mary is not a typical helpless Cinderella, and she charms Joey by being herself. Joey defies his money-grubbing parents to get the girl. The stepmother figure, Dominique, is supposed to be over-the-top, and she gets enough laughs that there's no taking her bad behavior seriously, even though Mary is expected to do her bidding at every moment. Twins Britt and Bree try to make Mary's life miserable, but they seem pretty pathetic themselves. Joey's conniving ex-girlfriend Natalia is truly mean until the very end.
Violence & Scariness
A mention that Mary's mother, who was one of Dominique's dancers, died before Dominique took her in. A couple of empty threats by Tami to the twin "step sisters" and Dustin in defense of Mary. Someone falls off a stage and ends up with two broken legs.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of kisses between teens. Girls -- and some boys -- fawn all over teen singer Joey Parker; one girl kisses him in the school hallway, another asks him if he wants to make out, and others rub up against him and embarrass themselves to get his attention. Mary and Joey hang out alone together in her room and almost kiss on her bed. A mention by Dominque that some talk-show hosts had grabby hands. Some slightly sexy dancing moves.
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Pretty mild. One "damn," and someone says "frickin'" a few times in a row.
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Products & Purchases
The Zune music player figures prominently in the story. Mary's friend Tami drives a VW bus. Plenty of celeb-lifestyle shout-outs, including TMZ, the VMAs, E Hollywood True Story, Dr. Phil, TiVo, and YouTube. A funny plug for the fake product "Baby Got Bacne."
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Dominique likes her martinis and always seems a little inebriated; she embarrasses herself at parties and passes out one night. Adults drink at dinner.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that tweens will want to see this movie because it stars Disney Channel darling Selena Gomez, star of the TV show Wizards of Waverly Place. Compared to High School Musical, the dance moves are just slightly sexier, and there's a little kissing between teens. Also, girls fawn all over a teen heartthrob to an embarrassing extent, even rubbing up against him suggestively in public. A Zune music player figures prominently in the plot, and the wicked stepmother likes her martinis. The mean behavior directed at the main character is typical of her Cinderella role and played as over the top for laughs. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Cinderella stories usually end at the big reveal, but this refreshing take keeps on trucking through a courtship (with some rather cheesy moments). Then there are the jealous plans to split the pair apart, and a big dance competition to get them back together. It's a lot to cram in, and it stalls a few times before the big dance finish.
But some of its more unconventional elements make ANOTHER CINDERELLA STORY more worthwhile, especially for modern tweens. Lynch, a fabulous comedic actress, is both a wicked stepmother figure and a pathetic fading pop star (her opening back acne commercial is laugh-out-loud funny). Plus, instead of sticking to the most popular dance moves -- there are plenty of those throughout the rest of the movie -- the masked couple at the ball goes for classy and launches into a tango. And when Joey, the big star, smartly defies his money-grubbing parents and even helps Mary with the housework so he can spend time with her, the usual silent-but-handsome prince role takes on a lot more character.
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.