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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids can see teenagers excelling at school in a positive way. They can also learn a little about how climate change can affect wild animals like kangaroos.
Teens are resilient and also capable of kindness and generosity. Trying hard and doing well in school are portrayed positively. Crime doesn't pay.
Positive Role Models
Ella works to keep Joey safe while she and Luke search for her mother. Ella and Luke put together a fundraiser to try to contribute to fighting climate change. A classmate robs the fundraiser money and sets Ella up to take the blame. Their teacher is there for them when they ask for help. She and Ella's dad also attempt to make Ella and Luke feel less nervous about a school dance.
Violence & Scariness
Two bumbling criminals engage in shenanigans gone wrong, including a car chase and "hunting" the kangaroo. The sounds of a kangaroo beating them up can be heard off screen. The crime boss is a bully who uses a taser on Joey and schemes to profit off the kangaroo's ability to talk. Kangaroos kick and knock over a man. An alligator snaps at a man and a kangaroo falls from the rafters of a barn. Ella's mom passed away. Classmates are mean to a new student.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ella says Luke "kind of likes" her and admits she may have a crush on him. She asks him to the dance. Ella's dad and teacher flirt and dance.
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Products & Purchases
Ford, Hyundai, Chevy.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Joey & Ella is a comedy revolving around a talking kangaroo. While it's appropriate for most audiences, its central characters are teenagers. Ella's mother has died and she and her father have just relocated to a new town. There, she meets a male classmate, and the two form a "crush." They share one fast dance at the end of the film, as does Ella's dad and her teacher. A subplot involves criminals hunting the talking kangaroo, which has slipped a valuable meteor shard known as a "diamond" into its pouch. The criminals have bad intentions, and their boss is a real bully. She uses a taser on the kangaroo. We hear the sounds of a kangaroo beating up the criminals off screen, and in other scenes we see kangaroos knocking a man down or kicking him forcefully. There are some positive messages about remembering family members who have passed on, trying hard and doing well in school, helping others, and the negative impact of climate change. A classmate commits a crime and tries to frame Ella. Some name-calling. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A cute talking kangaroo and two well-meaning teenagers aren't enough to save this otherwise disjointed comedy. The stars of Joey & Ella, namely talking roo Joey and teen crushes Ella and Luke, are likable enough, and it's refreshing to see two innocent teens excited about school and doing good in the world. The bond between Ella and Joey, both missing their mothers and feeling displaced, was an attractive central proposition, as was Ella's handling of her new classmates. If the film had focused fully on them and done away with the crime plot entirely, it could have been a much more successful whole. Instead, the over-the-top "bad guys" and their cockamamie caper take up too much time and are neither funny nor engaging.
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.