A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this DVD based on the popular Clique book series by Lisi Harrison intends to make light of tweens' obsession with wearing the right clothes in order to fit in. The fashions themselves, the quest to achieve them, and the rude behavior that surrounds those who have them are all glorified. The music thumps a little louder and the shots are a little slicker when these 12-year-olds are parading down the school hallway in their designer duds.
What's the story?
Claire Lyons (Ellen Marlow) doesn't realize what she's in for when she moves to Westchester County, NY. Her family is moving from a middle class Florida neighborhood to one of the chicest suburbs in the world. And to top it off, Claire is staying in the guest house of Massie Block (Elizabeth McLaughlin), queen of the clique called "The Pretty Committee" at Octavian Country Day school. Massie lives in a fairy tale -- designer room, designer clothes, beautiful hair, a pony, a chauffeur, and friends who all live in mansions and have credit cards at their disposal. Claire quickly learns that she's not welcome in this clique, especially wearing her Old Navy clothes. She immediately begs her mother to buy her some new duds, feeling desperately out of place. The clique continues to taunt her -- Massie in particular -- dissing everything about her. Claire finds a way, though, to fit in, if only for a moment. But how long will her new friendships really last?
Is it any good?
In this glimpse into the supposed lives of the ultra rich, tongue-in-cheek as it may be, there is the feeling that perhaps this portrayal of spoiled girls is not so far off the mark. Even more frightening is the fact that down-to-earth Claire admits that she wants to be friends with Massie and the girls even though they abhor their meanness. Claire's mother does a good job of bringing the family's values to the forefront of their conversation. She says things like, "She's going to like you because you're you, not because of what you wear." (Yeah, right.) After Claire has been humiliated and taunted relentlessly by the clique, her mother soothes her by saying, "You can't make someone like you." True enough, but the moony gaze that shines on Claire's face when Massie gives her a flower speaks volumes. Such complexity applied to the perils of middle school social ranking is heart wrenching, and it rings true, even if THE CLIQUE is meant to be a parody.
The acting is quite good across the board. The 12-going-on-25 routine is played flawlessly by Elizabeth McLaughlin. Though it's soaked in the trappings of luxury, there is a message here, and parents might not be happy to hear it: Kids these days are smarter and savvier than adults might realize -- and can be much meaner too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to wear nice clothes. Some parents might remember Benetton sweaters, Ray Bans or Air Jordans being the must-have items when they were in high school. But cost-wise, these luxury goods were "bargain basement" compared to what The Pretty Committee wears every day.
Why is it so crucial to Massie that her friends wear the season's best,
most expensive clothing?
Does this movie ring true for tweens in your
town? Should parents give their tweens credit cards with no limits? Why
or why not?
What would you do if you were in Claire's (tennis) shoes?
- In theaters: November 18, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: November 18, 2008
- Cast: Elizabeth McLaughlin, Ellen Marlow, Sophie Anna Everhard
- Director: Michael Lembeck
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Book characters
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic material, rude behavior and language
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