Handy Manny: Big Construction Job
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fix-it crew's big-city move teaches kids social lessons.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Not only does the show have lots of take-away messages for kids, it also gives them an age-appropriate glimpse at both a repair shop and a construction site and shows them how each tool is used in the building process. Manny and his Spanish-speaking friends often use Spanish words and phrases along with their English translations.
The show explores a number of kid-friendly themes, including teamwork, self-acceptance, respect for others, and overcoming fears. Kids see the characters challenge themselves to try new things, and although the outcomes aren't always successful, there's always a lesson to be learned. Manny and the tools turn to their friends to help when they're faced with difficult decisions. Dan's power tools come across as a bit smug, but their attitude helps accentuate how Manny's tools learn to appreciate their own talents. The cast is multicultural and crosses gender stereotypes (a woman runs the hardware store, for instance).
Positive Role Models
Manny and his friends are always polite and respectful, and they encourage each other to take on new challenges and try new things. Throughout the course of the show, they also come to realize how much they depend on each other's individual talents and skills and learn to appreciate their own.
Products & Purchases
The show is tied to a merchandise line of clothing and toys.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that young fans of Handy Manny and his tool friends will delight in this hour-long special starring their favorite fix-it crew, and the characters demonstrate teamwork, self-esteem, respect for others, and conquering fears. Manny weighs his personal goals against his responsibility to his friends to make a tough choice about accepting a new challenge, and he's open-minded enough to revisit his decision when the circumstances change. Manny's tools experience some self-doubt when they meet glitzy power-tool versions of themselves, but in the end they come to appreciate their individual value and the services they provide for their friends.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
When Handy Manny (voiced by Wilmer Valderrama) and his tools are called away to Concrete Falls to lend a hand on a big-city building project, the residents of Sheetrock Hills must learn to fix things for themselves. Unfortunately for many of them, enthusiastic Mr. Lopart (Tom Kenny) moves in as the self-appointed substitute handy man, and his work just doesn't meet the standards the townspeople are used to from Manny and his crew. Meanwhile, Manny and the tools discover life on a busy construction job isn't really all it's cracked up to be.
Is It Any Good?
HANDY MANNY: BIG CONSTRUCTION JOB exemplifies the benefits of kids' TV done right. It starts with colorful characters, adds a sweet story, and mixes in multiple layers of positive messages illustrated in ways kids won't likely miss. From Manny's decision to leave Sheetrock Falls to the tools' fears that their new peers are better than them, the characters' troubles are relatable issues for preschoolers, giving parents and kids lots to talk about at the end.
As if these social themes aren't enough, the show also offers kids plenty of other content that feeds their need to understand the world around them. Manny and many of the characters are bilingual and routinely include Spanish words and phrases -- followed by their English translations -- in their conversations. Not only is the cast multicultural, it also challenges traditional gender roles by casting a female hardware store owner and gives female voices to a few of Manny's tools.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about making decisions. What difficult decisions did Manny have to make in this story? How would his decision affect others? How did he take their needs into account? What tough choices have you had to make? To whom did you turn for help?
Kids: What are your special talents or skills? How do you use them? In what ways can they allow you to help others? How do you feel when you encounter someone who's better than you at something? How do people's individual skills help strengthen a team?
What did you learn from this show? Did you pick up on any of the Spanish terms that were used? Were any of them familiar to you? What other shows use other languages like this one did?
- On DVD or streaming: November 16, 2010
- Cast: Tom Kenny, Wilmer Valderrama
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models
- Run time: 67 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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