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 optimistic, CGI-animated movie may stoke kids' desire for toys or other products associated with the Strawberry Shortcake brand. Also, the child-like characters many parents remember from childhood have been transformed into fashion-conscious, hair-flipping entrepreneurs, and may contribute to the tweenification of young girls.
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What's the story?
Strawberry Shortcake and her dessert-themed friends enjoy life in Berry Bitty City until a storm causes a boulder to threaten the town, Strawberry's new cafe, and the town's water supply. The girls set off to find a solution to the town's problem, led by the well-intentioned but dishonest Mr. Longface. Along the way, they encounter many challenges, like getting lost, evading wild bunnies, and avoiding pointy thistles. A constant emphasis on team work, encouragement, determination, and believing in oneself gets the girls through their adventure safely.
Is it any good?
With the massive amount of cuteness packed into this film, most kids won't even notice that nothing of substance happens. Sure Berry Bitty City is threatened and the girls must find a way to save it, but the challenges are so mild and the girls' interactions -- though meant to be supportive -- are so generic and superficial, that in the end, despite a triumph of innovation, the successes and relationships feel limp. Also, despite platitudes like "Nothing is too difficult for us girls!", the pals' constantly fluttering hair, shrill squeals of excitement, and perpetual self doubts ("I'm not good at thinking things through.") seem to reinforce, rather than combat, stereotypes about girls.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about helping out friends. How did Strawberry and her friends help each other? Talk about the difference between practical help and emotional support.
Talk about lying. Why did Mr. Longface lie about the special stone? How would you have reacted if you'd been in the same situation as Strawberry and her friends? How did they treat Mr. Longface after they returned home?
Discuss the girls' appearance. How old do you think Strawberry and her friends are? What clues help you figure out their ages? If it's hard to tell how old they are, why do you think that is?
Families can talk about advertisements. What is the purpose of an ad? What kinds of ads are most effective? What's the difference between this movie and an advertisement?
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