A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that aside from excessive silliness, moments of horseplay, and overall chaos, this movie's subject matter is harmless. There's trickery and dissent and serious dating and kissing on the part of an eighth grade girl. (It should be noted, too, that the junior high kids look like they're at least juniors or seniors in high school.)
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What's the story?
The television series comes to the big screen in this feature length adventure, in which the Stevens family faces a summer fraught with drama. Father Steve (Tom Virtue) is out of work. Daughter Ren laments her recent breakup, and Beans, a local bacon-collecting rapscallion, emerges as an unexpected houseguest. What could make the summer worse? Miles McDurmott (Tim Meadows) knows how to do it. He flies to their "rescue" and invites the family on an all expense paid vacation to an uncharted island. Little do the Stevens know, they are the most recent victims of a popular television show. Will their friends be able to save them? Will Ren find new love? Will Beans find some bacon?
Is it any good?
THE EVEN STEVENS MOVIE should hold a solid recognition factor for both parents and kids. Kids can enjoy experiencing their favorite television family in a longer format, and parents may enjoy seeing Saturday Night Fever's Donna Pescow in her new role as Mama Stevens. It found critical praise, with four kids--Ren (Christy Carlson Romano), Beans (Steven Anthony Lawrence), Tawny (Margo Harshman), Mootai/Jason (Josh Keaton)--receiving 2004 Young Artist Award nominations. Keaton took home the prize for Best Young Adult Performer in a Teenage Role for his performance as Ren's sweetheart.
While the film does lack narrative sophistication and parents may find themselves a bit bored by the absurdity, they can feel safe about the film's content. Be sure to hang around for the credits. You'll find a fun music video/blooper reel!
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about issues regarding loyalty and deception. How should Louis and the Stevens family respond to Twitty (who both set them up and revealed the hoax)? Miles sets out to make Family Fakeout the number one show out of revenges against his ex-boss. Is Louis's plot--and the show itself--good clean fun or highly destructive? Does the Stevens's experience on Family Fakeout relate to other real reality shows in terms of entertainment, deception, and/or exploitation?
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