A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the satire in this mockumentary about the highs and lows of young stardom may be too subtle for tweens without a grasp of the tumultuous nature of the music industry (in other words, most of them). They may only see the over-glorified celebrity lifestyle. Swelling egos and creative differences cause conflict within the band, including some name-calling. The under-10 kids on screen have very little adult supervision, and conversations touch on topics like how babies are made, homosexuality, hand gestures with suggestive meaning in other cultures, and (from a 6-year-old) the strong desire to kiss lots of girls. The movie is tied to a TV series that's better suited to the target tween audience.
What's the story?
THE NAKED BROTHERS BAND MOVIE chronicles the life and times of a kid band that's led by two very talented singing and songwriting brothers, Nat (age 9) and Alex Wolff (age 6). The mockumentary follows the band through their concerts, rehearsals, and road trips, recording their thoughts on fame, girls, and early adolescence. The cameras capture the ups and downs of life in the spotlight as members open up in individual interviews about their struggles with friendships tested by rising egos and the group's eventual breakdown over creative differences. In real life, the talented Wolff brothers began performing with preschool friends at a young age as The Naked Brothers Band; original band members Joshua Kaye, David Levi, and Thomas Batuello sing alongside the Wolff boys in the movie. Nat and Alex's dad -- jazz musician Michael Wolff (The Arsenio Hall Show) -- also joins the family affair as his sons' onscreen father.
Is it any good?
Created and directed by actress Polly Draper (thirtysomething), this high-concept movie is the brainchild of her sons and the film's stars, Nat and Alex. The film strives for the feel mastered by This Is Spinal Tap, and the premise is intriguing and certainly offers a tongue-in-cheek view of a celebrity-obsessed culture that idolizes even the youngest performers.
But most of the subtle satire will probably be missed by tween viewers unfamiliar with the trademark turbulence of many musical groups -- essential background for grasping the movie's humor. Young audiences instead will see only the band members' unrealistic, glorified lifestyle: they don't attend school, they seem to have limitless free time for sitting around talking about themselves, and they often enjoy basking in their own popularity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the music industry. Do you think this movie accurately portrays the ups and downs of fame? Which parts don't seem realistic? Does it make you wonder what really goes on behind the scenes with celebrities? Why do you think people are so interested in famous rock stars' lives?
Families can also discuss the challenges of following your dreams. Kids, do you know what you want to be when you're older? What got you interested in that? Is there anything you can do now to start preparing for your goals?