A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main character in this kid-paced mystery is a young girl who acts more like a teenager than a 9-year-old. She's opinionated, strong-willed, and bossy, especially around her best friend, a 12-year-old boy who usually follows her lead rather than argue with her. She also disregards the rules to follow leads on cases, and in at least one scene she actually breaks the law (she steals confidential bank documents). But on the flipside, she's determined and dedicated to what she believes is right, and she always sees things through to the end. Tweens -- especially girls -- will enjoy her adventures, and parents will be happy knowing there's little other content here to worry about.
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What's the story?
When she moves against her will from New Jersey to the sleepy town of Serenity Falls, Roxy Hunter (Aria Wallace) -- a precocious, outspoken 9-year-old -- finds herself on her way to a dreaded small-town existence with her mom (Robin Brule) and her best friend, Max (Demetrius Joyette), a 12-year-old boy genius who's staying with the family while his archaeologist parents work abroad. But her feelings change at the sight of their new home, a towering historic mansion with enough intrigue to satisfy her imagination and sense of drama. When she hears rumors that the house is haunted, she throws herself into the task of learning the ghost's identity, and her sleuthing skills uncover plenty of secrets about the house -- and surprises about its past and present residents -- but they also immerse her in a secret plot to destroy her new home.
Is it any good?
ROXY HUNTER AND THE MYSTERY OF THE MOODY GHOST (based on the novel by Tracey West) is the first installment in what promises to be a good TV mystery series for tweens. Girls, especially, will be attracted to the precocious star's spunky attitude and knack for connecting the dots to outwit the bad guys. For the most part, the movie is well-suited for its target age group, but some parents may take issue with young Roxy's domineering (often to the point of bossiness) relationship with Max, who usually follows her lead despite his better judgment. She assumes the same know-it-all attitude with adults -- both strangers and acquaintances -- who often back down and give her what she wants.
Roxy also easily justifies disregarding her mother's instructions (and societal rules) when there's a mystery to be solved. For example, in one scene, she walks to town alone despite her mom's warning to stay close to home; in another, she steals confidential bank documents. That said, there's a lot to like about this young go-getter and her brainy sidekick, and tweens are sure to enjoy her adventures and the movie's multiple plot twists.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about solving problems. When you're faced with a tricky "mystery," what steps do you take to work it out? How do you gather information? Who do you turn to for help? Families can also discuss Roxy. Is she a believable character? Why or why not? Why do you think she disregards the rules? Is it sometimes OK to disobey your parents if it's for the greater good? Last but not least, fans of the books the movie is based on can talk about which they like better and why.