A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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