A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Passport to Paris is a 1999 Olsen twins movie. Here the twins are age 12 and intensely interested in boys. Almost immediately upon arrival in Paris, they defy the grown-ups and find a pair of young French guys to scooter them around the city. The girls kiss their young French boyfriends, once each. Parents may need to discuss with their kids the wisdom of riding off with strangers in a foreign city. Although the boy-craziness and rule-breaking are a bit iffy, Melanie and Allison are bright, outgoing, curious girls who do their best to speak a little French and make the effort to learn something about French history while they tour Paris.
What's the story?
The mother of Melanie (Ashley Olsen) and Allison (Mary-Kate Olsen) laments to her husband that the concerns of their Los Angeles tween girls are petty and self-involved, orbiting around middle school social life. To expand their horizons, she arranges to send the girls on a Paris vacation with her father, the American ambassador to France. But the venue change does not deter the twins’ quest for attractive boys, and in no time they find two scooter-riding teens to escort them to "the real Paree," the Paris museum-going tourists rarely see. The twins evade their keeper, the ambassador's over-serious aide, to have some fun, ultimately showing the aide and the stern grandfather that there’s more to la vie then simply obeying the rules.
Is it any good?
Movies with the Olsen twins won’t ever be mistaken for masterpieces of cinematic art, and this one's no exception. But at least they reliably have the virtue of promoting decency, if it doesn’t interfere too much with having fun and meeting boys. In this case, the girls defy the grown-ups in charge by irresponsibly agreeing to rendezvous with cute French boys they've just met, without telling anyone where they're going. For the parents reading this who haven't already had a heart attack, there is solace in the knowledge that the grown-ups involved are perhaps a tad too stuffy and rule-driven. From a child’s perspective, the twins' exploits, however potentially dangerous, may seem beneficial in that they ultimately help everyone learn to chill. Sticklers may mind that the roles of Parisian natives seemed to have been played mostly by non-French speakers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it’s like when parents or grandparents are too busy with work to take time for play with their kids. How does it make you feel when your parents are occupied?
Is it possible to stand up for yourself without being rude? What are some ways to get your opinions and ideas across while still being polite?
Do you think accepting a ride on a stranger’s scooter is a good idea? Even if the scooter rider is a good person, why might it be dangerous to accept the offer? How could you politely turn down such an offer?