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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teamwork, determination, friendship, believing in oneself, hard work, forgiveness -- all these noble messages are woven through the movie. But sometimes the emphasis on these positive messages leaves out the less pretty feelings that kids have. For example, even though Mr. Longface misled the girls on a long, treacherous journey, the girls don't get upset with him. Sure, forgiveness is a good thing, but it's also important to teach kids that it's OK to feel mad and tell people how you feel.
Positive Role Models
The intention is to show girls engaging in positive behaviors, like being helpful and supportive to one another. The movie is peppered with achievements -- designing a new berry juice fountain, using clues in nature to get the group un-lost, taking calculated risks for the greater good -- but all these things are counter-balanced by girly stereotypes. Their vocations involve food, hair, clothes, and dance. They constantly doubt their abilities until a friend urges them on. And their bodies are huge heads upon tiny little frames, which, while not sexualized like Bratz, portray unnatural and uniform body types.
Violence & Scariness
A few mildly tense moments, like when Strawberry and her friends rescue Mr. Longface, who has fallen over a ledge.
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Products & Purchases
Some might consider the movie to be an hour-long commercial for the dolls and accessories in the Strawberry Shortcake brand. The DVD comes with a $5 coupon for a Strawberry Shortcake toy. Before the movie begins, viewers see an advertisement for the Berry Cafe toy, as well as an AAA advertorial about seatbelt safety.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.