Status Update

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Status Update Movie Poster Image
Routine teen comedy has stereotyping, drinking.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Strong message about being yourself. Main character learns to do things himself and his own way, without the help of magic/technology. Also a "be careful what you wish for" message, though not that much is at stake. Some stereotyping and weight/body image shaming.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Once he no longer uses the magic app, Kyle makes some positive decisions, such as sticking by his best friend, even though that means he could face ridicule at school. But there's quite a bit of stereotyping (from "surfer dude" Kyle to a nerdy, overweight best friend and a fashionista gay character), and non-white characters exist only on the sidelines. Female characters are somewhat objectified and are hard on other female characters (e.g., body shaming).


Bullies regularly pick on the two main characters, throwing chocolate milk at them, stealing phones, pushing and shoving, etc. Highly stylized martial arts fight. Characters are punched/knocked down. Arguing, some iffy dialogue.


Teen kissing and flirting. High school boys and girls in relationships. Some girls wear revealing clothing with exposed belly buttons, etc. A married woman throws herself at teenage Kyle. Some innuendo and sex-related gestures. The phrase "two cats humping" is used.


Uses of "bulls--t," "p---y," "bitch," "damn," "balls," "pissed," "butt," "humping," "hell," "douche," "idiot," "OMG," and "God" and "Jesus" (as exclamations). A middle-finger gesture.


Twitter and Instagram mentioned frequently. Pinterest mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink at a party. Additional implied teen drinking: Teens hold red cups, bottles. An adult drinks martinis heavily; reference to her being "plowed" all the time.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Status Update is a comedy about a high schooler named Kyle (Ross Lynch) who learns how to be himself thanks to a magic phone app. Bullies pick on the main characters, with pushing, shoving, fighting, and some iffy dialogue. Kyle kisses two young women (one "bad" and one "good"), and a married woman throws herself at him. High school girls are somewhat objectified (i.e., shown wearing revealing clothing), and there's some sex-related talk and gesturing. There isn't much diversity in the core cast, and several characters are pretty stereotypical. Language includes "bulls--t," "p---y," "bitch," and more. Teen drinking is both implied and directly shown, and an adult drinks heavily, ending up comically drunk. Twitter and Instagram are mentioned fairly frequently, as is Pinterest. Although it's not particularly good, it does have a clear message about the value of being true to yourself.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChrisPimentel February 5, 2021
Adult Written byStayaliveandsur... September 24, 2020

Not as disappointing as I thought!

Now I’m a guy who loves romance movies and I looked and saw the trailer and thought it was an interesting story line but it looked like one of those Disney dumb... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written by__phoebezreviwer__ March 29, 2018

Cheesy feel good with innuendo

I watched this movie at the cinema recently. It's kinda like high school musical bt for older kids. Kyles struggling to fit in @ his new school after his... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBinger May 31, 2020

B graded film

It's okay for teens to watch, but as a teen it is boring and the plot is so predictable

What's the story?

In STATUS UPDATE, Kyle Moore (Ross Lynch) is forced to move from Huntington Beach to Connecticut -- from a world of surfing to ice hockey -- after his parents separate. He befriends nerdy Lonnie (Harvey Guillen) at school, as well as singer Dani (Olivia Holt), but he misses his dad and manages to run afoul of some bullies. A bearded man at a mysterious mall kiosk sells Kyle a new phone, complete with a special app: Whenever Kyle updates his status, it instantly comes true. He uses it to join the music program so he can be with Dani, but in order to one-up the bullies, he also joins the hockey team and becomes the star player. That attracts the attention of the pretty but manipulative Charlotte (Courtney Eaton). Disaster strikes when the night of the music performance is the same as the big game. And to make matters even worse, Kyle's phone breaks, and the magic app becomes worthless. How will he manage?

Is it any good?

This teen comedy with a "be yourself" message is slickly artificial, grinding painfully through extremely well-worn plot mechanics and essentially failing to follow its own message. With its amped-up performances and overwritten characters (it's kind of like they're all attention-starved puppy dogs), Status Update instantly smacks of an after-school special or other low-budget fare. Moreover, the movie insists on having its characters look and sound like stereotypes: The main character has long, blonde "surfer-dude" hair; the nerdy best friend is overweight; and the gay character is a fashionista. Oh, and non-white characters exist only on the sidelines.

In fact, no one here resembles an actual human being that viewers might know or spend time with. The storyline has been done a million times before, and not much flair or cleverness has gone into updating it for the mobile age. Status Update runs through all the familiar twists with as little effort as possible, including all the old "be careful what you wish for" clichés. For example, when Kyle tries out for the hockey team, his magic post says that he "skated like a pro." So he proceeds to perform a figure-skating program in front of the team. (This is arguably the movie's best joke.) Perhaps the most difficult parts to get through, however, are the musical numbers. Too bad this movie can't be wished away.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the stereotyping in Status Update. Which characters seemed stereotypical to you? Why is that a problem? How does it extend to messages about worth? (For instance, why is one of the young women Kyle gets involved with considered "good," while the other is "bad"?)

  • How much teen drinking is shown? Is it glamorized? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

  • Do you think Kyle's magic app is meant to represent something bigger? Perhaps media/devices in general? What lessons do his experiences with the app teach us about social media and screen time?

  • In one scene, a teen girl shames another teen girl about food and eating (she asks about her "food baby"). Have you ever seen this kind of shaming behavior in real life? How did you react?

  • How does the movie depict bullies? How are they dealt with? Is it satisfying? Is it responsible? What lessons are learned?

Movie details

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