Twinkle Toes: The Movie
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sweet dance tale marred by commercialism and poor quality.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is meant to entertain, not educate.
For a movie based on sparkly shoes, Twinkle Toes features more positive messages than you might expect: facing and overcoming fears, standing up for yourself, and believing in your gifts and talents, even when faced with a bully or naysayer.
Positive Role Models
Throughout her journey, Grace shows humility and kindness, even in the face of her bully, Brittany. Grace's father, friends, and teachers encourage her to work through her stage fright issues in order to share her talents with an audience. One of the elderly dance teachers, Mr. Saperstein, is a caricaturish Jewish stereotype.
Violence & Scariness
Grace has a deep fear of dancing in front of anyone besides her pet bunny. When she explores the reason for her stage fright, she discovers that she was yelled at by a mean dance instructor when she was a little girl. Grace is motherless and, in one touching scene, asks her late mom to provide her the courage to attend the arts school.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Grace flirts with Jordan, her handsome classmate.
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Insults like "what a loser" and "stupid."
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Products & Purchases
This movie is based on the Skechers brand's popular Twinkle Toes shoe line for girls. Grace wears her Twinkle Toes throughout the entire movie, especially when she dances. At one point she even bejewels them with sparkles, just like the Skechers shoes. Grace refers to her "special shoes" a couple of times.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Twinkle Toes was inspired by Skechers' popular girls' line of glittery shoes and was produced by the Skechers company. Although the movie is a promotional vehicle for the shoes, it's not quite as obvious as in doll-based movies, like Barbie, Bratz, or My Little Pony. Following Grace, a girl who loves to dance but has extreme stage fright, the story should appeal to kids -- particularly girls -- even if they aren't familiar with the Skechers shoes. There's not much iffy material here, although some families may chafe at the stereotypical portrayal of little old Jewish man. There's also some mild insulting language like "loser" and a few mentions of Grace's dead mother.
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What's the Story?
Grace Hastings (voiced by Laura Baruch) loves to dance -- but only in front of her pet rabbit, Walter. Even at the dance studio where she works, Grace only lets loose in secret -- until one day when the studio's owner catches her and sends an application on her behalf to the local Performing Arts Academy. Once accepted into the high school for the arts, Grace -- dubbed TWINKLE TOES by the dance instructor because of her sparkly shoes -- faints the very first time she's asked to dance in public. The school's mean-girl diva, Brittany (Tara Strong) publicizes the humiliating moment, but with the help of her encouraging new friends (including a cute boy named Jordan), Grace learns to figure out the reason for her debilitating phobia and finally dance for an audience.
Is It Any Good?
Twinkle Toes' plot, while simple, is better than expected and filled with some valuable lessons for kids about self esteem and friendship. Protagonist Grace, aka "Twinkle Toes," is sweet to a fault, and her friends are great at supporting her, even though she has this inexplicably paralyzing fear of performing in public. Unfortunately, the movie's subpar animation, coupled with some bizarrely kinetic dance sequences, makes this the kind of movie that young kids might like but adults will find difficult to palate.
Direct-to-DVD offerings are rarely up to theatrical animation standards, but this Skechers-produced movie musical is a big let down, even compared to other merchandise-tied videos. Much of the animation is blurry, inconsistent, or bland. The colors are off (skintone is especially vampiric), and the dance sequences are a bit haywire. If getting past low production values isn't a problem for your family, chances are they might find Grace a sweet enough underdog to root for, even if the whole project is just one long marketing vehicle for glittery girls' sneakers.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether Grace's many references to her shoes make it obvious that this movie was inspired by a shoe. Kids: Does the movie make you want to get Twinkle Toes shoes?
Brittany is mean and discouraging, so parents should also discuss how to deal with a bully. Does Grace handle Brittany's cruelty well? Were Grace's friends right to turn Brittany in?
How does Grace deal with her inability to dance in front of people? Who helps her overcome her fears?
- On DVD or streaming: July 31, 2012
- Cast: Eric Lopez, Laura Baruch, Tom Kenny
- Director: Mauro Casalese
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Arts and Dance
- Run time: 70 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 29, 2021
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