A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that video games are central to the plot of this made-for-TV movie, so kids who aren’t already familiar with the scope of the high-tech gaming scene may be intrigued (or confused) by what they see. The story’s intended messages are very positive, illustrating the isolating effect of virtual relationships and media obsessions and reminding kids of the dangers of valuing them over personal interaction. Tweens aren’t likely to overlook these messages, but younger kids might miss them amid the excitement of the flashy video games. Violence exists on the game plane only, as avatars duel with an array of weapons; some die in the process. All in all, this movie will appeal to tweens’ sense of humor and serves as a springboard for discussions about online safety and screen-time limits.
What's the story?
Thirty-something video game champ Quincy (Jerry Trainor) is living his version of the good life. A food-delivery guy by day, he spends his nights honing his gaming skills in his parents’ tricked-out basement. But then his parents put the house on the market and tell him he has to make other living arrangements, so he decides to enter a Black Hole gaming contest to win the money to buy the place. Unfortunately for him, the game has its own top player, a teenage girl named Chris (Jennette McCurdy), and when Quincy can’t beat her onscreen, he sets out to sabotage her in person to knock her out of the running. Little does he know that the ensuing dose of reality will alter his views on life, love, and the direction of his future.
Is it any good?
iCarly co-stars Trainor and McCurdy face off in this hilarious comedy about the great divide between virtual reality and the real world. In the gaming realm, Quincy is the untouchable idol admired by fans, but his real-life counterpart is the poster boy for poor priorities who’s oblivious to the compounding mistakes he’s made. Only after being thrown into a real-life situation does he begin to see how his actions are a detriment to his personal life, and his decision to realign his values will remind tweens of the importance of keeping theirs in a healthy balance.
BEST PLAYER is a truly enjoyable movie with talented stars and feel-good messages about honesty, maturity, and healthy relationships. Its immersion in online gaming also raises some timely issues about Internet safety and limiting screen time, so families will have plenty to talk about when it's over. There’s no reason to sweat about giving your tweens the go-ahead to watch on their own, but if you’re up for hitting the couch with them, this comedy is a good reason to do so.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about limits on screen time. Why is it important to balance media use with more traditional pastimes? What dangers exist when media like TV and Internet are overused? What are your family’s rules about media use?
How has the Internet changed the way we communicate and share information? In what ways is it a necessary tool? How can it be used in a negative manner? What dangers are associated with its use? What steps can you take to ensure your safety when you’re online?
Tweens: Are you familiar with Trainor and McCurdy’s show, iCarly? If so, did your familiarity with them make you more inclined to watch this movie? If not, did seeing this one encourage you to watch the show? How is this aspect of the movie an example of advertising?
For kids who love watching together
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
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.