A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pants on Fire promotes excellent messages about honesty, friendship, and being true to yourself in a hilarious, family-friendly story. Disney stars Bradley Steven Perry and Tyrel Jackson Williams will be a big draw for kids who know their other work, and they prove worthy costars in this tale about a boy's chronic lying coming back to haunt him. The content is appropriate for most ages, but a few chase scenes and adrenaline rushes concerning aliens and vengeful lumberjacks might concern very young kids. The fact that adults are quick to fall for a teen's deceptions is an unrealistic but necessary element to this well-rounded movie's plot and to its ultimate lessons.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Jack Parker (Bradley Steven Perry) is an accomplished liar who's proud of using his talents to get out of everything from cleaning the garage to detention. Now he faces his biggest challenge yet: keeping up the ruse long enough to secure the school's lofty "Student of the Year" award and fulfilling his lifelong dream of being a batboy for the Boston Red Sox. But things take an unexpected turn when real-life versions of his fabricated stories show up, bringing him face-to-face with the tangled web of stories he's woven for himself. With an overprotective girlfriend, vengeful lumberjacks, and his devoted new friend Mikey on his tail, Jack's at a loss for how to set things right again, and even when the answer presents itself, he's not sure he wants to part ways with his past.
Is it any good?
PANTS ON FIRE is the whole package. Kids will want to tune in because of familiar Disney faces Perry and Williams, and the story grabs you right from the start and keeps you guessing through twists and turns that are surprisingly unpredictable. It's seriously funny, thanks in large part to exchanges between befuddled Jack and his über-friendly instant-BFF Mikey, and it treads very lightly upon the line between reality and nonsense, casting viewers into an utterly believable world where a person's make-believe can come true.
But even better than Pants on Fire's laudable entertainment quotient is its ability to teach valuable lessons. There's the smack-you-in-the-face message about honesty, of course, but others relating to self-esteem and taking responsibility for your actions stand out as well. Jack's buddy Ryan (Joshua J. Ballard) really shines at a crucial moment, reminding kids that being a friend doesn't always mean following someone else's lead. Even the concept of popularity gets a workout, with the characters learning that it's not such a prize when it's based on misrepresentations instead of reality.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Jack learned in this story. Have your kids ever suffered consequences from telling a lie? Would doing so change their actions in the future?
Which characters in this story stand out as being good friends? Do friends always have to agree for the sake of their relationship? Why is it important to consider other people's opinions?
Another theme in this story concerns popularity. Should being popular be a goal for kids or teens? Who defines what (and who) is popular, in your kids' experiences? Does popularity concern them? How does it factor into other issues such as peer pressure and body image?
Themes & Topics
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