A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that My Best Friend is a 2016 straight-to-DVD story about a girl who must leave friends, school, and the city to relocate to a horse ranch. An oil man trying to get mineral rights to the ranch so he can extract natural gas from the land by fracking uses unscrupulous means to trick ranchers into helping him. The oil man also tricks a ranch hand who knows too much into digging his own grave. Once it's done, the oil man tries to kill the rancher with a shovel. A girl falls a short way down a stony hill and gets her foot stuck under a large boulder. Friends save her. An oil man downplays the water supply contamination that is widely reported to accompany the process of fracking.
What's the story?
The MY BEST FRIEND this title refers to is a talking horse called Standford. He advises Kristen (Alexis Rosinsky), who feels that she "sticks out like a sore thumb" in her new country home and new country school. Her clothes are too "citified," so the horse gives her fashion advice. She feels embarrassed when she attends her first dance, so Standford is at the ready to show her some country moves. Soon she attracts the interest of Zach (Dane Jamieson), who's good at ropin' and ridin', and also the jealousy of Zach's ex, the towering Amber (Laila Haughey). Kristen's dad, Allen (Patrick Muldoon), who grew up in the country, immediately runs into Sandra (Madeline Vail), the high school girlfriend he insensitively left behind years before. She's now a riding instructor who works for Allen's mom, Pearl (Catherine Bach). Kristen notices Sandra's romantic potential and declares she's not ready for a new mom. Emergencies draw Kristen's dad and grandmother away, leaving her to bond with Sandra and, basically, save the ranch from fracking doom.
Is it any good?
This movie is bad in every way; the writing, directing, editing, and, most especially, casting are below the standards of most movie-of-the-week fare offered on low-budget cable. The script is filled with clichés -- people give each other "the cold shoulder," not once but twice. The villain is cartoonish and transparent. Blaming the actors may be unfair, as their seeming failures may stem directly from the terrible script. Exceptions to the badness include Bach as Grandma Pearl and Muldoon as Allen, but the script provides them each with emergencies that remove them from the action early on. (By the way, Muldoon, only 15 years younger than the well-preserved Bach, looks like her peer, which is cringe-making, since she plays his mother.)
With their departures, the viewer must cope with the fact that My Best Friend is meant to focus on its two least interesting characters, Kristen and Sandra. And why does every kid in Kristen's class tower over her? Could it be that the other child actors are years too old to be in the same grade? Most jarring is a development in the final moments, when an absent character swoops in from out of nowhere to save the day, with no explanation offered. But that's OK. By that time, no explanation could help.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how difficult it would be to leave friends, school, and hometown for a new home. How does Kristen try to cope in My Best Friend?
Kristen uses her creative bent to refashion old clothes into something that fits in better with her new country life. What else might someone have to change to fit in?
Kristen's horse talks to her. Do you think this fantasy element makes the story better?
How does this movie compare to other horse tales you've seen?
For kids who love horses
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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.