A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.