Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar

Trading places fantasy is fun (marketing) for little girls.
  • Review Date: September 13, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 76 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.


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


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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

DVD release date:September 11, 2012
Cast:Ashleigh Ball, Kelly Sheridan
Director:Zeke Norton
Studio:Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Friendship
Run time:76 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar was written by

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written byCourtneydes September 28, 2012
age 5+

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 have parts that are too scary for her (according to her). This movie was refreshing in that the "bad guys" who tried to steal the diamonds were in a very minor role and their attempts to steal the diamonds were almost an afterthought. My older daughter (who can handle other movies) enjoyed it as well. Both girls loved the songs, the magic, and did not worry that aspects of the plot were not realistic. I am very happy that Barbie franchise has finally made a movie that caters to the preK/K kids--no scary parts, fun magic, and girls being strong characters. The songs were catchy as well and the girls liked dancing around . Yes, it obviously is a marketing movie for the dolls, but SO much better than the other recent Barbie movies that have cliques/rude friends/or scary villans (in the eyes of the 5 year olds). As an adult it was also cute to watch, nothing too sugary sweet!
Parent Written byMamma98 September 23, 2012
age 5+

Song stealer

Barbie's Princess and the Popstar stole the song "To be a princess" from Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper. They changed a few words and BOOM! a whole "new" song. My daughter was so upset, she didn't even want to finish watching the movie. So this movie was a real let down.
Teen, 15 years old Written byApplesauce Doctor August 17, 2013
age 6+

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 always complaining and pranking, and she doesn't have a personality. The popstar doesn't have a personality either. The movie is a musical, so it features some songs. Some songs are original to this movie (although they aren't very good), but one is just a rewrite of a song from The Princess and the Pauper. I would much prefer The Princess and the Pauper because it has interesting characters, positive messages, and it doesn't feel so forced like this one. Princess and the Popstar only feels like it is here to promote the sales of more music CDs and toys.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass