Picture This!

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Picture This! Movie Poster Image
Teen drama has lots of bullying, iffy messages.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 18 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

While the movie is centered on the theme of growing up, of "taking the training wheels off" and taking chances in life, this theme is counterbalanced by some iffy messages. Dating the teen boy believed to be the cutest and most popular takes precedence over everything else for the lead character, her friends, and their rivals. Bullying with the relatively-new cell phone technology is frequent, and the main bully gets her comeuppance not by being made accountable for her actions, but by "getting a taste of her own medicine." 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nearly every teen uses a video phone to communicate with friends and to email embarrassing photos of classmates to their friends. A teen girl deceives her father, sneaking out of the house to go to a party that he's banned her from. Some girls play mean-spirited pranks on their peers to humiliate them. On the positive side, a teen finds the inner strength to make a difficult decision and to appreciate her father's love for her.


Reckless driving -- a teen girl covers her eyes and drives her car in neutral in traffic while lying to her father about not driving. Frequent bullying.


Teens talk about sex in casual terms like "do her and dump her" and "hump and dump," but physical contact is limited to slow dances and one kiss. The main character swoons over the school's most popular boy, describing him as a "hottie" and vowing to do anything to get him to notice her. A young boy finds a Girls Gone Wild-type DVD and watches it. 


Infrequent profanity: "Crap," "damn," "ass." Some references to sex. Breasts called "boobsicles." 


Reference to one of the characters looking like he "walked out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog." Apple laptops. New (at the time) camera-phone technology (LG phones) a central part of the story; teen characters using their phones for cyberbullying and outsmarting an overprotective parent. One of the lead characters is always wearing a Nikon camera around his neck. Young boy finds a Girls Gone Wild-style DVD and watches it. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer drinking in a bar. Teen drinking at a party. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Picture This! is a 2008 movie in which an unpopular teen must outwit her overly-protective father in order to make it to a party thrown by a popular boy who is starting to like her. The teens are inseparable from their video phones and sometimes border on voyeurism with their exploitation of peers' embarrassing moments. In one scene, for instance, a girl snaps a photo of her classmate's partially-exposed thong underwear and emails it to the entire student body to humiliate her. There's frequent bullying, often with the help of relatively-new-at-the time cell phone technology; the main bully gets her comeuppance, but not in a way that punishes bullying, but instead via "a taste of her own medicine." Reckless driving -- lead character drives through traffic covering her eyes while lying to her dad about not driving. Teen drinking at a party. Cursing includes "crap," "damn," "ass," "boobsicles." Some brands mentioned. While there's nothing beyond a kiss and slow dances to see, teens use terms like "do her and dump her" and "hump and dump" to refer to potential casual sex. The main character's rebellious teen behavior (sneaking out to attend a party, lying to parents, etc.) is cast in a humorous light, but she does learn valuable lessons about listening to her conscience. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAdult with grow... March 22, 2019

Amusing (even to me as an adult) but terrible underlying themes

If you are in your late teens, maybe you get these things are hyperboles and that it is a twist on the Cinderella story? In some ways, it is an improvement over... Continue reading
Adult Written bydvdgirl January 28, 2019

It’s fine

Nothing wrong about it. I thought it was good.
Teen, 13 years old Written byLeahDorobantu April 15, 2021

Really good

Great movie should not be PG-13.
Kid, 12 years old June 16, 2016


I don't see what everyone is complaining about. This is perfect for anyone over the age of 12. Okay so the main girl lies to her dad about where she is, so... Continue reading

What's the story?

For Mandy Gilbert (Ashley Tisdale), senior year means just one thing: It's her last chance to get school hunk Drew Patterson (Robbie Amell) to notice her. After a few carefully crafted plans -- and one major mishap -- Mandy finds herself on speaking terms with Drew, who turns out to be even better than she'd imagined. She's overjoyed when Drew invites her to his party, but her dreams are crushed when her lovingly overprotective dad (Kevin Pollack) grounds her for lying to him. It will take a lot of ingenuity -- and some crafty work with her fancy new video phone -- to get Mandy to Drew's party on time. Only time will tell if she and her friends will be able to outsmart Drew's jealous ex-girlfriend, Lisa (Cindy Busby), who will stop at nothing to ensure Mandy doesn't win his heart.

Is it any good?

Adorable and talented, Tisdale (High School Musical) shines once again in this role as the lovably irrepressible Mandy, who always manages to rise above the adversity thrown in her path. Though it's certainly a stretch to imagine Tisdale as a social outcast, she puts her heart into the role and manages to make the story believable. Teens will enjoy the funny take on the social structure of high school and will cheer along with Mandy's friends as she challenges the popularity scale and sets herself apart from the catty popular kids just by being true to her heart.

That said, the movie definitely needs a bit of cautionary follow-up on a few levels, especially for impressionable teens. Mandy often uses her video phone to lie to her dad, contriving proof that she's at a friend's house studying when she's really getting ready for a party he's grounded her from. Other characters use their phones to exploit their peers' embarrassing moments, snapping photos of them in compromising situations and emailing them to friends. And then there are the iffy phrases the teens use -- like "hump and dump" and "do her and dump her." Finally, the movie implies that popularity is based solely on inherent factors like socioeconomic class rather than on personality. It's too bad these iffy messages distract from some of the fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about friends and peer pressure. What message does this movie send about friendship and relating to people who are different from you?

  • How does this movie address bullying? What's the message of the movie in terms of how to stop a bully? 

  • Talk about making mature decisions. Have you ever been forced to make a difficult decision around your peers? Did you feel good about the outcome? Why is it hard to go against the flow?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love high school stories

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate