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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Shows kids carefully sorting through clues to solve the case, which could encourage problem solving skills.
Ingenuity and perseverance are big here. Kids combine various talents -- brains, paintball skills, powers of persuasion -- to solve a case.
Positive Role Models
All the kids are sweet and have good intentions. Tiffany does a lot of eye-batting and sweet-voiced flattery to get what she wants, but she's as engaged as the boys in solving the case. Max confides in the other kids about his years in foster care, which motivates everyone to help Anna. All the adults are over-the-top stereotyped, however. The gold digging stepmom and the dog catcher are big bumbling meanies. The grandma is quite dotty.
Violence & Scariness
Two characters have deceased parents, though there are no details. Anna is taken from her grandmother forcibly in a dream and her step-mom gives her dog to a mean dog catcher. The dog catcher makes a throat-slitting motion to tell a boy what will happen to his dog if he's caught without a leash. Kids are chased by adults through a house while mildly threatened and the adults are pelted with paint balls.
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The dog catcher is always yelling "shut up!" to the dogs.
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Products & Purchases
Kids are constantly on their cell phones but no brands are visible.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sweet movie where kids get to play the sleuths to save a girl from living with her mean stepmother is a perfect tween slumber party movie. Violence is limited to stereotyped meanie adults getting pelted with paint balls and a girl getting her dog taken from her. Diverse kids use their various talents (and numerous cell phone minutes) to solve their case. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Let's be clear: the four stars is for kids, especially kids between the ages of 7 and 10; don't miss the window, parents, because there's so much for this age to love about BOATHOUSE DETECTIVES. First of all, rowing a boat to your clubhouse -- so cool! And all the kids are ones you'd want to be in a club with. Ones who have cool hobbies and love animals and helping complete strangers. They're on their own solving a case with no bothersome adults in the way. They even live in that kind of quaint seaside town where you can tell parents never worry about letting their 9 year olds roam free (though always within cell phone range, of course).
For parents, there's no over-the-top gross-out moments to annoy -- okay, there's a bit of fake puke, but it's not bad. But you will roll your eyes repeatedly every time an adult hops on screen. The stepmom and dog catcher are in a tie for most overdone stereotype.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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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