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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbie & Her Sisters in a Puppy Chase is an easy-to-follow adventure that finds Barbie, Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea on a trip to a beautiful tropical island. Because of an innocent mistake, the girls become separated from their four adorable (puppies and must find them in a hurry. No one is ever in danger, and there are no villains here. The mild suspense comes from obstacles that delay their reunion with the pups a washed-out bridge, a mishap in a golf cart, conquering fear of a zip line) and their hurried efforts to get Chelsea to a dance contest on time. Meanwhile, the pups are in good hands, onboard a van with a band of lovable animals. Barbie is strictly "big sister" in this story, with no distractions to get in the way of her protective, encouraging care of the younger girls. It's a wholesome story in which the girls are faced with some challenging tasks and find they're quite capable of succeeding in all of them. Of course, Mattel has an array of "Puppy Chase" merchandise to sell: dolls, play sets, vehicles, and accessories.
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What's the story?
It's an exciting time for BARBIE & HER SISTERS IN A PUPPY CHASE. Not only are they flying to a fabulous tropical paradise where they can swim, scuba, and relax, but they're bringing the puppies with them, and Chelsea (voiced by Alyssya Swales) is entered in a dance contest on the island. While Chelsea has practiced a lot and is obsessed with preparing to dance, Barbie (Erica Lindbeck), Stacie (Claire Corlett), and Skipper (Kazumi Evans) want to see and do it all. First stop: an exhibition of dancing horses, which thrills them, at least until their precious puppies accidentally become stowaways on the horse van after the show. Now they're in a pickle. They have to catch up with the van, get the puppies back, and make it all the way across the island so Chelsea doesn't miss her dance. Fortunately, the puppies are fine; they've met up with a wry poodle named Archibald III (Mark Oliver) and are becoming good friends with the dancing horses. But it isn't easy for Barbie and company. Everything that could go wrong does go wrong: a stalled golf cart, a night outside in the cold, a rainstorm, and losing their way more than once. Each one of the sisters has to call upon her courage and her skill to do all that's asked of them. Finally, just when they think they've crossed the finish line, there's one more -- literal -- bridge to cross. Will Barbie, big sister "extraordinaire," find a way to get them to the stage on time?
Is it any good?
It's nice seeing Barbie and her little sisters vaulting over gorges, scaling cliffs, and jumping horses over a crevasse; mainly, it's a far cry from fashion-obsessed Barbies of yore. And Barbie & Her Sisters in a Puppy Chase is a gentle story. No evildoers along the way, just simple missteps and unexpected situations that get the crew in enough hot water to provide them with a mildly suspenseful, scare-free adventure. The too-adorable puppies may be a bit much for older kids, but the little ones will love them. With the Barbie & Her Sisters franchise, Mattel has covered the kid market from toddler to tween. Every new DVD has new dolls, toys, play sets, and accessories attached. At least this movie is pleasant enough, with sisters who genuinely like each other, behave well, are competent, and look up to their wonderfully aware big sister. It's OK for even the youngest viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationships among the four girls in Barbie & Her Sisters in a Puppy Chase. How do the sisters treat each other? What makes Barbie such a good big sister?
Do you like the fact that in this movie all the girls prove to be athletic, strong, and brave? Which sister do you identify most with? Stacie, who's willing to try just about anything? Skipper, who's a little more timid about physical adventures? Or Barbie, who's always cautious but tries to make the most of her abilities?
Kids: What happens in your house when you want new toys you've seen in movies like this one? Do your parents set limits on what you can buy? Do you save up or earn money to purchase the things you hope for? How do movies like this one make you want to buy things?
How does this movie promote teamwork?
- On DVD or streaming: October 18, 2016
- Cast: Erica Lindbeck, Kazumi Evans, Claire Corlett, Alyssya Swales
- Director: Conrad Helten
- Studios: Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Mattel Entertainment Inc.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice
- Character strengths: Compassion, Teamwork
- Run time: 75 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
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