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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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).
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.