Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
Girls Just Want to Have Fun Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Dance to the cheesy '80s beat with tweens and up.
  • PG
  • 1985
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie centers on rebellious teens -- a lot of what they get up to is on the mild side (ditching class, sneaking out of the house to meet boys, and crashing parties), but their behavior doesn't send a strong positive message to young viewers.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Teens do things like like to their parents and break the rules -- they often have what they consider to be good reasons for their behavior, but it doesn't make them ideal role models. One character sells term papers to other students and is always out to make a buck.


Teens break through a glass window and comically throw a character into a cake.


Natalie is shown lounging around her room in lingerie. Janey hangs out in her bedroom in underwear and a tank top. There's some innocent but sexy dancing. Drew cons a girl into letting him grab her breasts. Janey and Jeff kiss.


"Butthead" is as strong as it gets.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine is served at a party, but no teens drink it, and no one gets drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is mostly PG -- there's only a little kissing and no drinking, swearing, or drug use. But there's considerable -- and benign -- teenage rebellion. Janey moves to a new school, meets a wild girl, and starts ditching class and sneaking out of her house to meet a boy. She doesn't do anything dangerous, but she does learn to be insubordinate to her parents. There are also gratuitous shots of girls sitting around their bedrooms in their underwear.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMarieB 2 September 21, 2015

My 13 year old daughter really enjoyed it!

This was a very entertaining movie for my daughter and I to watch together. The only "uncomfortable" part was during a french kiss scene ~ I wish the... Continue reading
Adult Written byScofiel9 September 28, 2018

Fun movie with familiar 80’s sexual assault themes

I watched this movie as a kid and liked it. However, it wasn’t until I was an adult I noticed that many of these 80’s movies made light of sexual assault. If th... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byrey9 August 29, 2020

so good!

this movie is really good its fun it has cool dancing and a romance its a great movie for kids 12 and up
Teen, 15 years old Written byVacuumCleaner May 9, 2020

What's the story?

In GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN, Janey (Sarah Jessica Parker) starts school in Chicago, home of her favorite dance show, Dance TV. When the station announces it's holding a contest to choose two new dancers for the show, her best friend, Lynn (Helen Hunt), encourages Janey to try out. She has to lie to her drill sergeant dad and sneak out of the house, but when she makes it to the finals, will her dream come true? Will the evil rich-girl Natalie (Holly Gagnier) fix the contest to take the final spot? Will Jeff (Lee Montgomery) fall in love with her?

Is it any good?

Sit back and giggle: This movie is just a good, cheesy time. Take a big helping of Hairspray (minus the political consciousness and the divine Ricki Lake) and sprinkle it with a candy-covered version of My So-Called Life and what you have is the totally tubular '80s teen dance movie Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Complete with bad fashions (neon fingerless gloves, anyone?), bad hair, and even worse dancing, This movie features some of today's most popular actors doing some of the cheesiest things you've ever seen. See a pre-Sex and the City Parker as the Catholic school girl Army brat who dreams of dancing on Dance TV (hosted by Richard Blade, whom some '80s music lovers may recall as a DJ on an L.A. radio station). Watch her doing back flips and practicing dance lifts a la Dirty Dancing. Witness the Oscar-winning actress Hunt hamming it up in some of the most absurd -- but actually worn -- '80s ensembles and big, ratted-out hair. It's Totally Awesome without the irony. And if you love the '80s, it is totally awesome.

Forget the plot, though. Just concentrate on the Solid Gold-quality dance numbers and the outrageous fashion. Forget, if you can, that Helen Hunt is way too mature-seeming to pull off the role of Lynn (where's AJ Langer when you need her?) and just look for the cameo by a preteen Shannen Doherty and the New Wave girls in Cindy Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" video.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about appropriate ways to blow off steam -- what things do kids often want to do that parents won't let them? Are they dangerous?

  • Do you think Janey's dad's rules are too strict? How do you deal with rules you don't like?

  • What kind of role models are the movie's characters? Can a teen movie have strongly positive role models and still be entertaining?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dancing

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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