Bratz: The Video: Starrin' & Stylin'

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Bratz: The Video: Starrin' & Stylin' Movie Poster Image
Teen dolls pose, pout, and shop in weak prom story.
  • NR
  • 2004
  • 59 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not inform.

Positive Messages

Promotes "expressing yourself" through artistic pursuits (in this case, however, the artistic pursuits involve clothing design and decorating for a prom). Underlying message: for this crew of mini-fashionistas makeup, clothes, boys, and having fun are life's top priorities. Jade sums it up when she says that "doubting my own sense of fashion is like losing one of the five senses: seeing, hearing, etc." And, "a salon is the one place we always have fun."

Positive Role Models & Representations

These teen dolls animated as DVD characters are obsessed with their looks, shopping, and boys. Heavy makeup, thin bodies with breasts, big heads, doe-eyes, and the girls' movements have given rise to concerns about early sexualization. An effort has been made to include diverse ethnic identities, but in this first Bratz DVD, the differences are barely discernible. On the positive side, girls' friendship and loyalty to one another is admirable.

Violence & Scariness

To avoid a skunk in the middle of the road, the Bratz car swerves, careens down a hillside and lands in the woods. No one is hurt.

Sexy Stuff

Other than some flirting and ogling, there's no overt sexual activity. However, the Bratz teens themselves are sexualized: they wearing skimpy clothing (including tiny bikinis and lots of bare midriffs), walk with exaggerated sexuality, and giggle and pout in the presence of boys.

Language
Consumerism

Cross-promotion with the entire Bratz franchise: dolls, toys, accessories, clothes, and even some home furnishings.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while Bratz: Video: Starrin' & Stylin' is directly marketed to young girls and tweens, the sexualized teen characters send a negative message to young viewers about how they should act and what is supposed to be important to them. Applying make-up, dressing-up, shopping, and posing for pictures are the Bratz girls' constant activities in this movie. The Bratz girls are drawn with doe-eyes, breasts, thin but curvy bodies, and large heads and they flirt when in the presence of boys. There's an attempt to be ethnically diverse, but the visual differences in this first of the Bratz DVDs are very subtle.

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What's the story?

The Bratz girls, Cloe (nicknamed "Angel"), Yasmin (aka "Pretty Princess"), Sasha (who likes to be called "Bunny Gold"), and Jade (known as "Cool Cat") worry when they learn that they have an important homework assignment due right after the high school prom. When there's so much to do to get ready for the dance -- decorating, organizing, shopping -- how can they possibly come up with art projects for class that will clearly express who they are? Watching their filmmaking buddy working with his camera gives them a great idea. After a few close encounters (with a skunk and a car accident) and some unflattering news stories about them in the high school paper, the Bratz find their artistic selves and use a camera and their combined fashion sense to meet the challenge.

Is it any good?

The animation is simplistic (the Bratz have no noses in this early effort); characters are almost interchangeable; and the story is uninspired and generic. There's very little plot and much of the time is spent on visual images of the Bratz in various outfits and poses while shopping in a mall, getting ready for the prom, and visiting a spa.

Taking advantage of many girls' developing interest in fashion, makeup, and style, Bratz movies are simply a hard-sell, skin-deep marketing tool. Later Bratz DVDs include confusing stories with some scary villains, dark magic, and danger. Starrin' & Stylin' is only mildly offensive in comparison.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the teacher's lesson: "Your art will tell me who you are and what it's like to be you." What are some art projects you could choose to best express yourself?

  • Yasmin learned an important lesson about privacy and the school newspaper. Why is it never a good idea to reveal secrets in a public way, especially on the internet?

  • Besides shopping, make-up, and boys, what are young girls interested in? Why does this movie present such a narrow picture of girls' interests? Who is this movie designed for?

Movie details

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