A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What 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.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
When she's not finishing up high school and dreaming of auditioning for the Manhattan Dance Academy, Mary (Selena Gomez) spends most of her time playing maid for her guardian, washed-up pop singer Dominique Blatt (Jane Lynch), and Dominque's twin daughters Britt (Emily Perkins) and Bree (Katherine Isabelle). Then teen pop star Joey Parker (Andrew Seeley) enrolls in school and announces a big dance competition; the winner will star in his next video. Suddenly the incredibly uncoordinated Britt and Bree -- and the rest of the girls at school -- are clamoring for Joey's attention. But only one girl catches his eye at the masked ball -- Mary, of course -- and when she drops her Zune on the dance floor, Joey rushes to identify her. Finally Mary comes forward, and the two practice their dance moves together while they do Mary's chores -- until a jealous ex-girlfriend and the twins do their best to separate them before the big dance competition.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the high school girls act around Joey Parker. If you had a crush that severe, would you do anything for that person's attention? How does Joey handle all the unwanted attention? How do celebs in the news handle it? Do you think they deserve more privacy?
Families can also discuss what made kids want to see this movie -- was it the fact that Selena Gomez was in it? How do you think the producers of this movie went about making sure kids knew it was coming out?
- In theaters: September 16, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: September 16, 2008
- Cast: Drew Seeley, Jane Lynch, Selena Gomez
- Director: Damon Santostefano
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild sensuality and language.
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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