A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this made-for-TV movie -- which stars Hairspray sensation Nikki Blonsky -- has central messages about acceptance, body image, and eating issues that are good for tweens, too, there are several things that make it a better choice for teens only. For one thing, teen characters are shown drinking with no consequences, and there's at least one mention of teens having sex. Girls are also frequently shown in their bras (although you could argue that that's no worse than what the average kid sees on MTV every day).
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What's the story?
In QUEEN SIZED (which is based on a true story), plump, plucky high schooler Maggie Baker (Hairspray's Nikki Blonsky) decides to run for homecoming queen. That means going up against pretty blonde classmate Tara (Kimberly Matula), as well as coping with a coattail-riding friend who becomes obsessed with making sure that Maggie doesn't make it on the ballot.
Is it any good?
Unexpected stereotypes are shattered in this TV movie, and this lack of predictability is what sets this drama apart from so many other teen-driven stories with a positive message. For example, Tara isn't a vindictive witch. She's actually a nice person with a brain of her own who's captain of the debate team ... and just so happens to date the school's dreamy quarterback (OK, so apparently some stereotypes are worth hanging on to). And Maggie's unhealthy habit of binge eating in times of emotional stress (which is shown in relatively graphic detail) is actually dealt with thoughtfully.
The things that hold Queen Sized back include weak dialogue that smacks of an "after-school special," a few improbable plot twists and the decision to use co-star Annie Potts as both Maggie's mother, Joan, and as a sort of glammed-up devil that sits on Maggie's shoulder and makes her feel bad about herself. Still, it's nice to see a movie about high school that nobly tries to step out of the box.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stereotypes in general and how difficult they can be to overcome. Teens: Has anyone at school ever tried to label you and make you feel like you weren't "normal"? If the main character of this movie was a student at your high school, do you think she really could have been crowned homecoming queen? Why or why not? Parents might also want to broach the subject of binge eating and stress that it's not a healthy behavior. While it's true that you don't have to be skinny to be happy, it's equally true that you should live your life as healthfully as you can by eating nutritious food and exercising regularly.