A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Switching Goals is the aptly named 1999 Olsen twin TV movie about middle school soccer leagues and the damage a winning-at-all-cost philosophy can cause. The twins scheme to switch teams to match their differing skill levels, and they hide their plans from their highly ethical mother. Ultimately the girls and their dad learn there’s more to soccer than winning. There's a subplot involving a tween crush.
What's the story?
Middle school soccer goes coed, and conflicts arise as the all-boys teams accept girls. Making the transition are Sam (Mary-Kate Olsen), the family athlete, who ends up on the Buzzards, a laid-back soccer team, and Emma (Ashley Olsen), the artsier type who must join her dad’s hard-driving, trophy-winning crew, the Hurricanes. Emma and Sam scheme to switch teams for a better personality fit. Their dad agrees to the subterfuge, but when Mom figures it out she demands a public admission and a switch back to their original teams. Mom then promptly becomes head coach of the Buzzards and brings the team, and Sam, to the finals, where they meet Dad’s squad, featuring an improved Emma. In one subplot, socially adept Emma coaches shy Sam in how to talk to the boy she likes.
Is it any good?
It would be a stretch to label this a high-quality movie, but it may be one of the Olsen twins’ more interesting ones in that the parents are drawn with some complexity. The dad makes the kind of ethical mistakes that are usually reserved for the young twins in their other movies, the sort from which they always regroup and learn. In this case, the father is forced to see value in nurturing his less athletically talented daughter at the expense of presiding over another trophy-winning season. The twins, as always, are supportive of each other, even in competition. Nontraditional role models also are promoted when the twins’ mom becomes head coach of the formerly all-boys' soccer team, now accepting girls for the first time. Young kids and Olsen twin fans will probably enjoy this movie despite the bland, predictable script and uninspired performances.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether winning by cheating is really winning.
Are you good at one thing -- maybe sports -- but not as good at other things, such as making friends? Do you think everyone can improve their skills if they try?
What can you learn from playing on a team?
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