A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the central character's mom is dead, and her father is so busy with his work that a babysitter plays the parent role at first. A dramatic accident looks bad but turns out to be a side note. Kids are teased by adults for not being able to swim. Some people may take offense at the stereotypes (funny accent, karate moves) attributed to the Asian babysitter.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As a made-for-Nickelodeon movie, MR. TROOP MOM is a comedy that pulls out the stops for laughs from its tween audience. Eddie Serrano (George Lopez) is the widowed dad of Naomi (Daniela Bobadilla), and his focus on work instead of family has let Naomi run the roost at home. A series of unfortunate events puts Eddie in charge of his daughter's four-person team at a multi-day mountain camp competition, "The Spring Classic." The ultra-competitive behavior of the other teams proves a formidable match, as Eddie doggedly tries to help his daughter's team win and to reassert a loving fatherly bond in the process.
Is it any good?
Mr. Troop Mom won't win awards for breaking new ground in plot surprises. There's a rebellious daughter, a clique of "mean girls," an over-the-top drill sergeant of a camp director, and a make-or-break competition that requires the girls to overcome their differences and work together. The Serrano family dynamics include a manipulative daughter, a wholly inattentive dad, and a babysitter (Elizabeth Thai) ready to amp up any conflict that arises, and it's all chalked up to the missing maternal influence.
But as family fare goes, this is a decent film, with its message of figuring out the right problems to solve and finding ways to be family. Lopez is good as the hapless dad, but his funniest moments come when he is allowed to riff, as he does on his supposed love of camping. For all her rebelliousness, Naomi is a decent kid who has surrounded herself with a supportive group of friends. And while Jane Lynch nearly pops a vein as Ms. Hulka, the militaristic camp director, there's no one else who could have played the role as memorably.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how hard Naomi has to work to get her father's attention. Are there situations in which you think your parents could do more to get involved with your life? Would you want them to be as involved as Mr. Serrano becomes?
Were there any plot developments that surprised you?
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