Twinkle Toes: The Movie
What parents need to know
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.
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.
Families can talk 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?