A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gibby is a live-action story with lots of "monkey business." Front and center is a capuchin monkey, whose cute antics and human-like behavior help tell the otherwise conventional tale of a teen who is slowly making her way back to normalcy after the death of her mom. A sweet flirtation unfolds, adding warmth to the events. Several sequences that deal with the aftermath of tragedy faced together by a grieving daughter and her dad are included; however, with the monkey at hand and the mean girls played as exaggerated, one-dimensional bullies, the tone is never truly somber. A few suspenseful moments occur when the monkey's life is threatened due to the sneaky machinations of the chief villain. Still, it's clear from the start that the film will be happily resolved. Fine for tweens and up.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Katie Thompson (an earnest Shelby Lyon) has not fully recovered from the death of her beloved mom in GIBBY. She's withdrawn from the world in which she thrived before: school, friends, competitive gymnastics. Her caring dad (Sean Patrick Flanery) is worried as he continues to encourage her. Making matters worse, Katie is continually bothered by Alicia (Ysa Penarejo), a jealous mean girl who, along with her heartless friends, bullies the young teen at every opportunity. Fate steps in when Katie's science teacher has to find a summer home for her pet capuchin monkey, Gibby (played by Crystal the Monkey). Katie is finally motivated to go after something she wants, and it's Gibby she wants to monkey-sit for. Her responsibility for Gibby turns out to be exactly what the doctor ordered -- especially, since Tommy (Peyton Meyer in a solid performance) finds this the perfect time to follow through on his feelings for Katie. With only a few comic mishaps -- Gibby can't wait to get her hands on the makings of a birthday cake in Katie's impeccable kitchen -- and the increasingly self-centered machinations of Alicia, it's a summer of renewal for Katie. With Gibby's help and Tommy's support, Katie is finally able to engage in life again, not forgetting her mom but understanding that moving forward after loss is a necessary part of growing up.
Is it any good?
Kids may respond to the irrepressible, funny monkey and the plight of a likable teen recovering from the death of her mom, despite a production that is both amateurish and predictable. With mostly one-dimensional characters and expected outcomes, the only real surprise comes at the end of Gibby when (spoiler alert) the malicious, unfeeling mean girl gets away with her behavior and appears to be rewarded for it. Other than that, messages are positive if simplistic. Still there are enough laughs and heartfelt moments to make it mildly entertaining for middle grades and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about bullies as they're portrayed in Gibby. What consequences does Alicia face as a result of her behavior? Do you agree or disagree with Katie's final decision? Do you think Alicia learned anything or took responsibility for her actions? What, if anything, did Alicia's friends take away from the story?
Studying one of nature's creatures helps make us more sensitive to and aware of the world around us. Did this film motivate you to find out more about capuchin monkeys? Their origins? Their family lives? How "nearly human" are they?
Many animal rights organizations are opposed to keeping wild animals as pets, whether or not they're captured or born in captivity. What do you think are some of the risks and/or difficulties a pet or its owner might face? Where would you go to find answers about this issue?
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