A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that teens will want to see this girl-bonding movie because of Emma Roberts' star appeal. And though there is a redemptive quality to the movie in the end, the damage is done by the very fact that her father would let her have unlimited Jimmy Choo's and Gucci ensembles in her closet to begin with. Although she proves to be a good kid after all, Poppy gets away with a whole lot of obnoxious behavior, which is the norm among her American friends.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Poppy (Emma Roberts) wakes up one morning in her beautiful Malibu Beach bedroom to the realization that her new stepmother is going to be moving in. She takes action, inviting a gang of friends over to ravage the moving truck, stealing or vandalizing all of her stepmother's belongings. Then she jumps off a cliff into the ocean. Her father (Aidan Quinn), enraged and red-faced, berates her and sends her to England to an all-girl's boarding school. There she tries to get kicked out of school by breaking as many rules as possible so she that can get back to Malibu. Somehow her roomates tolererate her long enough to help her in her scheme to get expelled. In the meantime, the teens bond and become friends. When Poppy is brought before the school's Honor Court, she has fully come around to realize what true friendship means. But is it too late?
Is it any good?
The ending of WILD CHILD is satisfying, but only because Emma Roberts is bright enough to allow a redemption for her rotten character to shine through. Here is a girl so spoiled that she can't think straight. Don't parents in Malibu have boundaries too? Ostensibly, she has been acting the spoiled brat because her mother has died and she is mourning. But what excuse do her spoiled friends have?
Luckily, there is a world outside of Malibu populated with adults and peers who are emotionally balanced and loyal to one another. Does it take such an extreme life change to knock sense into a girl like Poppy? Does Poppy deserve the kindness that her peers at Abbey Mount prep school shower her with? These real-life questions hang over the movie, detracting from what could amount to an effective moral tale. However, we viewers can suspend our disbelief only so long before we question whether the means justify the end.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about consumerism. Poppy and her American friends have everything that money can buy. Where do they get the money? Learn more about how kids spend money, and how the media targets teens to do so.
What do you think of the stereotype of rich, spoiled American kids? Is the portrayal of teenage life true to life in your community?
Poppy admits to having a "hole in her heart" since her mother died. How could her father have better addressed her misery? Was sending Poppy to boarding school the proper thing to do?
- In theaters: November 30, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: November 17, 2009
- Cast: Aidan Quinn, Emma Roberts, Natasha Richardson
- Director: Nick Moore
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some crude sexual content, language and drinking - all involving teens.
- Last updated: April 5, 2021
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