Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar Movie Poster Image
Trading places fantasy is fun (marketing) for little girls.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 76 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This is strictly for entertainment purposes, though some positive social messages are included.

Positive Messages

By switching places, Tori and Keira realize that the grass is always greener no matter who you are -- the pop star wants to be more like the princess, and vice versa. They both learn about the importance of caring for those who are less fortunate and not living in the small bubble of their status or fame.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Princess Tori and Keira each learn from the experience of pretending to be the other. Tori realizes that the citizens of her kingdom have more problems than she ever knew, and Keira realizes that she doesn't have to make every decision herself. Both of them go back to themselves with a newfound appreciation for each other, their loved ones, and their roles.

Violence & Scariness

The villain smacks his assistant for almost telling the truth about their evil plan. Comical physical comedy as two men attempt to unlock a door.

Sexy Stuff

Flirting involves one of the main characters falling directly on top of a guy. Later, the guy helps the "princess" during a crucial moment, and lingering looks are exchanged.

Language

Mild insults: "party pooper," "loco," "buffoon," "crazy," and "quitter."

Consumerism

Universal and Mattel are jointly responsible for this movie, and dolls featured in the movie are available for purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Barbie: The Princess and The Popstar is Mattel's version of The Prince and the Pauper. There are a few mild insults ("buffoon," "loco") and a subplot involving a criminal plan to steal a precious, diamond-encrusted magical plant. Like all of the Barbie movies, the storyline is a means to appeal to interested girls who will go on to ask their parents for the specific Barbie dolls (in this case Tori or Keira). Marketing reasons aside, this is a harmless movie about getting the chance to be "who you want," venture outside your comfort zone, and learn what it's like to be different, even if it's just for a couple of days.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written byCourtneydes September 28, 2012

Barbie has a movie for five year olds! Yea!

My girls (5 and 9) both loved this movie. It was harmless without any scary parts. My 5 year old tends to get VERY scared at movies and most Barbie movies hav... Continue reading
Adult Written byPink C. December 7, 2016

Princess and the Popstar Review

The song "To be a Popstar" copied the song "To be a Princess" from The Princess and the Pauper.
Teen, 15 years old Written byApplesauce Doctor August 17, 2013

Awful Barbie Movie

I really don't like this movie. The two main characters, the princess and the popstar, are really annoying, but the princess moreso. Princess Victoria is a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySnoopylove87 February 6, 2013

Barbie: The New Teenage Stereotype

Basiclly, it tells girls you have to be skinny to be considered beautiful, fame and fortune is everything, wear fashionable clothes, and switching places with s... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the kingdom of Meribella, sheltered Princess Tori (voiced by Kelly Sheridan) and popstar Keira (Ashleigh Ball) each wish they could be more like the other. When they finally meet at a royal ball, they discover they each possess a magical object: the princess has a hairbrush that can change anyone's hairstyle, and the popstar has a microphone that can alter outfits at will. After playing with their magic, they turn into each other and decide to swap places for a day. But as the night of an important concert approaches, they must work together to save the kingdom from a plot that could leave Meribella destitute.

Is it any good?

As Prince and the Pauper adaptations go, this one is definitely approachable for the youngest movie fans. Little girls will be smitten with the idea of getting to trade places with a princess or a popstar (neither is a pauper, because that exact story has already been told in a different Barbie movie!), and parents will appreciate the lessons learned from the experience (staying true to yourself, helping others, and becoming best friends with someone who understands you).

The musical numbers are catchy, and for once there's only the tiniest hint of romance -- and it barely registers compared to the story of the two young women. There's something irresistible about the idea of two people with vastly different lives trading places, and even in the Barbie world, it's more compelling than some of the other movies have been. Barbie DVDs are never likely to convert parents who've banned the doll from their homes, but families who embrace the iconic toy will enjoy her latest movie/marketing vehicle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Barbie movies are so popular. Do the movies make you want to get those particular Barbie dolls?

  • What do Tori and Keira learn about each other? Why did each think the other had a better life? Did trading places change them?

  • Do you think you'd be as interested in watching this movie if it didn't have the Barbie brand?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love Barbie

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate