A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bibi & Tina, a 2014 German teen adventure, is a puzzle with regard to its target audience. The silliness and simple-mindedness suggest an appeal to young tweens, but language including "s--t" and "screwed," and sexual innuendo featuring flirty teens seem designed for older kids. An unscrupulous horse breeder dopes his horse. A girl admits she's in a bad mood and says, "Blame puberty." Also worth noting: This German-language offering is not only dubbed into English but also features English subtitles and, oddly, the spoken words don't always match with the subtitled ones.
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What's the story?
The title's BIBI & TINA are two horseback-riding young teens who live and work at a grand castle and riding academy owned by Count von Falkenstein (Michael Maertens) in the lush countryside of Falkenstein, which seems to be in Germany. The count's young son, Alex (Louis Held), has long been in love with his best friend and childhood playmate, Tina (Lisa Marie Koroll). When new student Sophia (Ruby O. Fee) shows up and sets her aristocratic sights on Alex, harmony is upset. Bibi (Lina Larissa Strahl) unleashes some of her witch spells on Sophia, at one point giving the ladylike girl a mustache. Into the mix flies new neighbor Kakman (Charly Hubner), a flashy horse breeder who dopes his horse and tries to pressure the count into giving him one of the von Falkenstein's most promising new foals, Socrates. Bibi and Tina fight off the encroaching Sophia and the unscrupulous Kakman with equal energy, eventually proving Kakman has been using performance-enhancing drugs on his animals and showing the devious Sophia enough kindness to turn her from an enemy into a friend
Is it any good?
The exaggerated and cartoonish action is clearly meant to entertain, but there isn't much entertainment going on here. Adults dress in loud colors and unmatched plaids as if to signal that fun is to be had, but don't expect dialogue, plot, or characters to back that up in Bibi & Tina. Characters burst into song and dance here unexpectedly. In one case a farmhand in an unbuttoned plaid shirt storms out of a barn playing an electric guitar and singing. The assumed audience would be difficult to determine as Alex utters "s--t," but for the most part this feels like an attempt to target Wizards of Waverly Place viewers, although that TV show is far more funny, clever, and well-written, not to mention a showcase for good actors.
It may also be difficult to understand from the poorly-constructed script that the Count's ancestral home is a riding school and the wealthy and aristocratic Sophia arrives not as a friend of the family but as a student. Weirdest of all is that this German-language offering is not only dubbed into English but also features English subtitles and, oddly, the spoken words don't always match with the subtitled ones. Is someone a "mule," or a "pigheaded thing"? Is there a "storm" or "inclement weather"? Is a place "trashy" or "crappy"? Is it a "mess" or is it "nonsense"? A few actors mispronounce the word for a young horse, "foal" (rhymes with roll), as if it were a kind of chicken (fowl). But, if nothing else, the movie offers beautiful sequences of horses galloping majestically across country landscapes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of magic and characters who can cast spells. Do you believe in magic? If not, do you think it might be fun to have special powers to help you fix problems in life like they do in Bibi & Tina?
Tina is worried that because she isn't rich and from an aristocratic family she isn't good enough for the count's son. What do you think is the best way to estimate a person's value? Does having a lot of money make you a better, more "valuable" person?
How does this movie compare to the many other coming-of-age tales featuring horses?
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