Free Style



Teen motocross fan aims big in well-meaning but so-so drama.
  • Review Date: September 30, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A young man works around the clock to support his family and achieve his dreams of motocross victory. It's not always easy, but he soldiers on and learns some important lessons.

Positive role models

The main character, Cale, is a hardworking teen who's genuinely supportive of his mom and sister. He carries a load that’s probably heavier than most other teens, working long hours to help pay the bills and barely having time for his motocross passion. Other role models are a more mixed bag -- Cale's mother, though devoted, may have lied about something big, and his father is MIA. And Cale's steady girlfriend seems to look down on him for not having a clear path to financial success.


Two friends have a shoving fight, and rivals on the track perform dangerous stunts to outrace each other. A teen damages another person's car in a moment of rage and gets in trouble with the cops. Also some taunting between competitors.


Couples kiss. Some close dancing at a teen party. Lots of flirting.


A few words like “dumba--“ come up, but otherwise it’s fairly clean.


Lots of motocross logos prominently featured, including Kawasaki and Honda.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There's some underage drinking at a party the main character delivers pizza to (and then proceeds to walk around while looking for someone), but he doesn't partake.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that coming-of-age sports drama Free Style is grittier than what tweens and teens who "met" star Corbin Bleu through the hit High School Musical movies might expect. Although there’s little swearing ("dumba--" is as strong as it gets) and the romance is pretty tame (expect a bit of kissing and flirting), there's a brief scene of underage drinking, and the themes are more mature than tween-targeted Disney fare -- including financial struggles, family and friendship stress, and the challenges that can come with being biracial. The motocross races have a fair bit of action, with the main character and his rival performing some dangerous stunts in an effort to outdo each other.

What's the story?

Cale Bryant (Corbin Bleu) is obsessed with motocross racing and is convinced he has what it takes to make it in the big leagues. While his peers prepare for college, he’s busy trying to make his dreams come true -- while also working at a pizza shop to earn extra money to help his single mother (Penelope Ann Miller). His best friend, Justin (Jesse Moss), has his back, but when circumstances start defining how different their lives are, their friendship grows strained. Complicating matters, Cale loses his sponsorship and his girlfriend, and his long-lost father may not have been the bad guy Cale always thought he was. Can he juggle all these challenges -- plus a new romance -- and make it to the pro circuit?

Is it any good?


There’s nothing seriously wrong with FREE STYLE, but there’s nothing great about it, either. Its simplistic plot seems better suited for an after-school special than a big-screen treatment. That said, it’s entertaining enough for Bleu fans who simply want to enjoy their idol’s talents. (We know he can sing and dance, but he can apparently ride motocross bikes pretty solidly, too.) He does fairly well with the film's heavier themes; his scenes with Madison Pettis, who plays his younger sister, are especially poignant.

The racing scenes are thrilling enough, and the fact that the film explores the challenges of being biracial is admirable -- though it just scratches the surface of the issue. Actually, that’s pretty much all Free Style does with most of its plot points, including motocross: It sputters and doesn't quite go full throttle. And there’s the rub.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether Cale’s predicament -- and his goal -- seems realistic. What do you think you'd do in a similar situation?

  • Is the film’s depiction of teen relationships accurate? How does it compare to the version you've seen in movies like High School Musical?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 9, 2009
DVD release date:February 9, 2010
Cast:Corbin Bleu, Jesse Moss, Madison Pettis, Sandra Echeverria
Director:William Dear
Studio:Samuel Goldwyn Company
Topics:Cars and trucks, Sports and martial arts
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language, some sensuality and thematic material

This review of Free Style was written by

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old June 24, 2010

corbin blue

i love me some corbin blue so i thint it is good.........................
What other families should know
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bygolder October 28, 2009
Kid, 8 years old June 19, 2010
feel the motor see the magic and power your head up for moor cycle races in a free style way to blow your adult mind but also teen minds
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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