A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that you owe it to your kids to do a major reality check on this made-for-TV movie about the adventures of Nickelodeon's hugely popular The Naked Brothers Band. The young stars have no responsibilities whatsoever, live in the lap of luxury (big-screen TVs, indoor clubhouses stocked with games, etc.), and enjoy hordes of fans cheering them on wherever they go. Also, because the plot revolves around the "love life" of 11-year-old leader Nat -- he's devastated when his long-time crush falls for a flashy rock star -- there are more sexual references than you might expect for something aimed at tweens. A girl is called "hot" and "a good kisser," a tween pats a girl's bottom as she walks by (she responds by giggling and asking if she's being "punk'd"), and one scene shows a teen couple cuddled together and kissing passionately. Potty language is frequent (the main offender is the group's youngest member, 8-year-old Alex), partly thanks to a total lack of adult supervision.
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What's the story?
In THE NAKED BROTHERS BAND: BATTLE OF THE BANDS, the popular real-life tween band is are back in an exaggerated tale of love, loss, and ultimate triumph of good over, well, not so good. The story picks up as the band -- comprised of real-life brothers Nat and four other members including Rosalina (Allie DeMeco)-- signs on to participate in a worthy charity event. The event brings the squeaky-clean group up against an edgier West Coast band whose heartthrob lead singer, Bobby Love (Keli Price), soon catches Rosalina's eye. Nat becomes jealous, and when the crush develops into an all-out romance, he decides to change his good-guy image to compete with Bobby's flashier one. When that doesn't work, he drops obvious hints about his rival's completely phony façade -- but starry-eyed Rosalina refuses to listen to Nat's claims that her boyfriend hires a songwriter for work he passes off as his own and that he isn't even the Brit bombshell he claims to be. Finally, fed up with Nat's rude behavior, she quits the band. Suddenly the battle of the bands takes on new meaning; Nat now sees it as an opportunity to win back Rosalina's heart -- and reveal Bobby for the fake that he is. But whether the girl of his dreams is ready to hear the truth remains to be seen.
Is it any good?
If your kids haven't been bitten by the Naked Brothers bug yet, you might want to give this weak effort a pass. The Naked Brothers Band's latest made-for-TV movie may get cheers from their many young fans -- but for parents, the response to yet another glorified slice-of-life installment may be altogether different. Battle of the Bands takes the content viewers are used to from the band's previous TV efforts and gooses it even further. The movie glorifies the tweens' unrealistic lifestyle, in which school is never mentioned, parents are mostly absent (the kids are left to fend for themselves in their decked-out mini-bachelor pad), responsibilities of any sort (family commitments, chores, etc.) are non-existent, and they're revered by fans wherever they go. If that isn't enough to turn parents off, there's some pretty iffy sexual content (for tweens, anyway), too. The entire plot revolves around an 11-year-old's obsession with his crush -- to the point that when she takes an interest in someone else, he's rendered practically useless and resorts to staring out the window instead of interacting with friends. There are also a few kissing scenes, and Bobby refers to Rosalina as "hot" and "a good kisser." Even clean-cut Nat gives Rosalina's bottom a quick pat at one point, something that's totally out of character for the soft-spoken band leader.
On the (slim) plus side is the musicians' unarguable talent, particularly Nat, who penned most of the songs on the band's self-titled CD. If your tweens are hardcore fans, be sure to do a reality check with them after this movie to remind them that the lifestyle they see isn't the norm.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the Naked Brothers' sense of reality compares with their own. Kids: Can you relate to the issues the characters have with each other, with the opposite sex, and with rivals? Do Nat and Alex interact like you and your siblings do? What do you think of the kids' lifestyle? How does it compare to yours? Would you like to be famous? What do you think would be the benefits of fame? What about the downside?
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