A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Audiences may learn something about Latinx culture -- including some Spanish phrases -- along with some dance routines.
The movie teaches the importance of following your heart and working hard to achieve your dreams. Other themes include teamwork, honesty, and being yourself.
Positive Role Models
The members of the female Latina dance team go from teasing each other and being disconnected to learning to support each other and working together. At one point they lie to the adults around them and enter a competition alone, but later understand it was wrong. The dance coach, Miss Bartlett, goes on a journey to acknowledge her own past failures in order to better support and encourage the team.
Violence & Scariness
There is a mild instance of bullying when a character is bumped into and has their snack stamped on. Occasional teasing within the team -- but none are particularly aggressive.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some teen romance that includes hand-holding and touching on the face, but nothing overtly sexual. The term "hot" is used on a few occasions to refer to characters being sexually attractive.
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No strong language. Occasional derogatory terms such as "dumb" and "loser."
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Products & Purchases
Money is mentioned in passing reference to a lack of budget for dance uniforms and the team needing to fundraise to get to the Nationals. But it is never an overriding issue.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gotta Kick It Up! is a Disney teen sports drama based on the true story about a Latina female school dance team and their journey toward success. There are a few mild instances of teasing and bullying, but no violence, strong language, or overtly sexual references. The movie celebrates the different cultural backgrounds of the students -- including a pre-Ugly Betty America Ferrera -- and encourages notions of being yourself and celebrating what makes you special. The dance coach, Miss Bartlett (Susan Egan), becomes a strong role model toward the end of the film. Together with the students, they work as a team to achieve success. Though there are hurdles, such as lack of funding and support from loved ones, it is an uplifting -- albeit conventional -- movie with some fun ensemble scenes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While this movie is innocent and ultimately uplifting, there is a clunky paint-by-numbers feel to the way it hits all the predictable plot points and emotional notes. Everything, from the slightly stilted acting and the underdeveloped ensemble characters to the lack of originality, keeps Gotta Kick It Up! from being the movie it could have been -- a spirited, feel-good story with an empowering message that really hits the beats.
Guaty does a decent job as Daisy, but the troubled teen with a secret passion is such a stock character that she gets lost amid the stereotypes. Some nice moments incorporating the students different cultures into the dance routines and Daisy teaching Miss Bartlett to say, "Yes, I can" in Spanish are sweet and go some way to being inclusive. But unfortunately these are too few and far between in an underwhelming production that no amount of pom-poms and high-kicks can save.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.