Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

  • Review Date: August 27, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 73 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Feel-good family movie has great messages for tweens.
  • Review Date: August 27, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 73 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

No specific/direct educational content, but kids will learn plenty of positive messages.

Positive messages

The movie centers on a strong family and includes positive messages about self-confidence, respect, and family bonds. Alex learns some important lessons about the risks of behaving rashly and disrespectfully.

Positive role models

The Russo parents are a loving couple who strive for family unity among their kids. Teenage Alex argues with her mom, picks on her brother, and defies her parents by leaving the house to go to a party she’s forbidden to attend, but she must own up to her rebellious behavior when her actionsthreaten her family’s very existence.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Some mild flirting among teens and adults; a married couple shares a brief kiss.


One use of "dang it" is as iffy as it gets.


No advertising per se, but the movie is tied into one of Disney's popular brands.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie offers more of the tween-friendly content that families have come to expect from Wizards of Waverly Place. Teenage Alex gives her parents and siblings fits with her rebellious -- and often disrespectful – behavior (she talks back, sneaks out of the house, etc.), but she learns important lessons about family ties and self-confidence when she’s forced to team up with her brother to save her family. There’s no cause for concern in giving tweens the go-ahead on this feel-good movie.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: THE MOVIE, Disney fans’ favorite spell casters head to the Caribbean for a vacation that’s interrupted by a magical mishap that threatens to unravel the Russo family itself. For parents Jerry (David Deluise) and Theresa (Maria Canals-Barrera), the chance to revisit the tropical paradise where they met is a dream come true -- and they hope their three kids will love it, too. Sons Justin (David Henrie) and Max (Jake T. Austin) are on board, but middle child Alex (Selena Gomez) is put out over spending so much "quality" time with her family. Her frustration with her mom’s rules leads her to cast an accidental spell that changes the past and leaves her parents strangers. Desperate to set things right, Alex must set aside her bickering with Justin to team up in search of a way to recreate their family.

Is it any good?


This entertaining movie casts a little magic of its own, weaving strong positive lessons into a neatly crafted story that will charm tween viewers. Even if they’re not already familiar with the characters from the series, they won't have any problem jumping right into the plot. Girls especially may find that Alex’s familial woes resonate with some of their own struggles for independence.

Parents don't have to worry about the example that the rebellious teen sets for their own kids, since Alex eventually is forced to come to terms with her unpleasant behavior  when she faces the possibility of life without her family. What’s more, she learns important lessons in responsibility and self-confidence and improves her relationship with her brother after she sees things from his point of view. This upbeat, kid-friendly movie is a great choice for families of tweens and might even help get the ball rolling on discussions about topics like rules and respect.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about communication. How does your family keep communication lines open? Does technology help you communicate? Tweens: Do you feel comfortable talking to your parents about your issues?

  • What rules does your family have about parties and hanging out with friends? How do these rules help keep you safe? How do they compare to family rules about use of media like the Internet?

  • Tweens: Whom do you respect? What attributes do you look for in a role model?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 28, 2009
DVD release date:December 15, 2009
Cast:David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Selena Gomez
Director:Lev L. Spiro
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:73 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byBeckstar October 31, 2011

Don't like the tv show, but this is fine

Good moral and I found it quite enjoyable, even though I dislike the t.v show. This was more serious
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 17 years old Written byTrissacar September 8, 2009

Ok not great

I liked it somewhat but some of the characters are really out of character and mean.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Adult Written byLarra April 5, 2011

Good for teens over 12.

Amazing movie. Original. Fantastic. I know Justin and Alex are supposed to be close and siblingly in this movie, but at times they are heading into dangerous territory. Your vision may differ of course, but the closeness, well, a little unsual for a brother and sister. Maybe the actors are into each other a little too much. Alex is Alex as usually, not the perfect role model, but I think this makes the show and the movie the most interesting on that channel, I can barely call Disney. The rest was excellent.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Educational value
Great messages


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