Now You See It...

Movie review by
Tracey Petherick, Common Sense Media
Now You See It... Movie Poster Image
Magic, mystery, and some jump scares in Disney teen drama.
  • NR
  • 2005
  • 89 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Brief mention of Harry Houdini and other real-life stage magicians, but ultimately this movie's purpose is to entertain.

Positive Messages

The value of friendship is prominent throughout -- believing in your friends, and supporting and trusting them. Also the importance of sticking together when times get tough.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Allyson is smart, confident, brave, and determined, but also a self-confessed "know-it-all." Danny is relatable -- although talented he lacks confidence and thinks he's a "freak." The pair bond over being outcasts that other kids can't relate to.

Violence & Scariness

Mysterious goings-on provide a sense of creepiness. There is a jump scare when characters are in a dark basement and a bat flies out of nowhere. Later a door slams behind them unexpectedly.

Sexy Stuff

Mild disputes between teens. A character refers to themselves as a "freak."


Allyson wears a Harvard University sweatshirt in all her narrator scenes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Now You See It… is a made-for-TV Disney movie featuring relatable teenagers with good, solid values. Centered around a fictional reality show to find the "World's Best Kid Magician," the movie is full of intrigue and is compelling right from the off. But the occasionally eerie tone could be deemed creepy by younger kids. There are also some jump scares such as a door slamming shut or a bat suddenly flying out of a dark basement. There are also low-level disputes among competitive teens, and duplicitous adults dealing in deception -- including Frank Langella as Mystic Max. But the main characters are empathetic, brave and proactive. With twists, turns, and puzzles to be solved this is good tween entertainment with positive messages around trust, solidarity, and fitting in. 

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What's the story?

NOW YOU SEE IT… tells the story of budding teenage TV producer Allyson (Alyson Michalka) who is working on a reality TV show to find the "World's Best Kid Magician." When she meets the talented Danny (Johnny Pacar) she knows he's their best chance of winning. Filming at the mansion of master magician and show host Mystic Max (Frank Langella) it becomes clear that even Danny doesn't quite know how he is managing to pull off some impressive magic tricks. When Max discovers that Danny has real magical powers, he wants to control him, leaving Allyson to save the day.

Is it any good?

This family-friendly drama about a young magician has plenty of Disney's trademarks -- a perky hero, a sinister villain, magic, intrigue, and teamwork. An implausible storyline (that real magicians actually exist) is carried by a decent script and solid acting. Langella is reassuringly crooked as Mystic Max, while Pacar does a good job of portraying a teenager struggling to come to terms with his powers.

Despite this -- and a few spooky scenes and treacherous characters -- the overriding tone of Now You See It… is light. As the plucky teens solve puzzles, uncover secret messages, and expose deceptions, you can't help but go along for the ride.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the portrayal of reality TV in Now You See It…. Is it fascinating and harmless fun, or is it distasteful and exploitative? Why do you think people choose to appear on reality TV shows?

  • Did you find any parts of the movie scary? If so, what? How to choose a scary movie for your kid.

  • Do you think Danny is a relatable character? Although he has magic powers, his feelings around not fitting in are very common. Which other characters in Now You See It… can you relate to? Discuss the importance of friendship and teamwork as portrayed in the movie.

  • Talk about the role of a narrator in movies. Do you think it adds value or is it a lazy way of moving the story along? What other movies have a narrator? How have they differed in style?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love magic

Character Strengths

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