Getting There: Sweet 16 and Licensed to Drive

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Getting There: Sweet 16 and Licensed to Drive Movie Poster Image
Olsen twins learn to drive in irresponsible, lame movie.
  • G
  • 2002
  • 125 minutes

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Kids say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Some glimpses of different parts of the United States.

Positive Messages

A female teen stands up for her right to be kissed only when she wants to be -- "It takes two people to kiss -- two people who want that kiss." Promotes the idea that sometimes it's the "journey that matters, not the destination." Two carloads of teens are continuously shown riding without seatbelts. Material possessions come easily and are taken for granted: after a new car is stolen and another is involved in a minor car accident, the teens shrug it off: "insurance will take care of it."

Positive Role Models & Representations

High school kids are portrayed as fun-loving, generous, and loyal to one another. They don't smoke, drink, engage in sex, or use coarse language. However, their behavior is often irresponsible, clueless (particularly the very obnoxious boys), and most of them are portrayed as pampered airheads. While the parents are loving and easy-going, they give the kids unmonitored freedom and very little guidance. The only ethnic diversity is delivered via stereotypes: a buffoonish Indian businessman and a Mexican landscape worker.

Violence & Scariness

Some good-natured pushing and shoving. The kids drive too fast; carelessness causes an injury-free accident. Some slapstick pratfalls: dives, minor crashes, tumbles, a broken leg.

Sexy Stuff

Teens flirt; kiss chastely. Scenes show girls in skimpy swimsuits and boys gawking at them.


"Butt" is as far as it goes.


Products are frequently seen and heavily promoted: Ford Mustang, Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Rossignol, Del Taco, Well-Pict Berries, Greyhound Bus, Briko sporting goods, Coca Cola, In-N-Out Burgers, Southwest Airlines, Polaris Snowmobiles, Chanel, many Las Vegas hotels and resorts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Getting There: Sweet 16 & Licensed to Drive is a 2002 film specifically designed to cash in on the popularity of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the beloved television sitcom stars. The movie has almost no plot, no fully-realized characters, and, other than promoting a vast array of products, showing some irresponsible behavior (especially in the driving sequences) and mild ethnic stereotyping, it is otherwise mild.

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old November 11, 2013

Sweet Sixteen

I'ts a great movie, but it's not for everybody, it is really girly, and great for a young girls sleepover

What's the story?

Taylor (Ashley Olsen) and Kylie (Mary-Kate Olsen) are sixteen! That means driving, and, for this twin team, a brand new car! GETTING THERE takes the girls and a crew of their teen friends on a road trip to Salt Lake City and the Winter Olympics. But "getting there" from California isn't as easy as it sounds. After a dizzying obstacle course of dented fenders, stolen wheels, wrong turns, a Las Vegas adventure, and an array of hits, misses, and new friends, they eventually get to the snow-covered Utah mountains for skiing, snow-boarding, snow-mobiling, and all-out playtime.

Is it any good?

Made on a shoestring and shot, produced, and edited without any attention to quality or detail, it doesn't get much worse than this blatant attempt to capitalize on former TV celebrity. Any similarity to real kids, real situations, or real emotions is strictly accidental. The phony teen dialogue is exaggerated and abrasive; the giggling, mugging girls can only hold center stage for so long without losing their appeal; and stereotyping of both teens and ethnic minorities is downright offensive.

Getting There is a time waster with nothing to recommend.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Hollywood cashes in on fan loyalty. The Olsen Twins were popular celebrities when this movie was made (like Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and others are more recently). Do you think stars like that have a responsibility to their fans when making movies? What is that responsibility?

  • Discuss the teen driving that is shown in this film. What do you think would happen if real kids drove so erratically and didn't wear seat belts? Should filmmakers be more careful when creating these scenes? Why?

  • What is an ethnic stereotype? How does this term apply to the Indian wedding chapel owner and the Mexican driver?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love tween stuff

Themes & Topics

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