Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Movie Poster Image

Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie



Feel-good family movie has great messages for tweens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • 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.

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

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


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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; OK 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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Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bykeillor November 10, 2012

Typical "New Disney" snarky TV kids: not before 11 y/o

This is a typical contemporary Disney movie. It's banking on the TV show success and pretty much making a 90 minute episode (although some find it somewhat better than the TV show). Moderate to heavy TV watching kids and their parents will be comfortable with the tone of this movie. I was unhappy with the sarcastic, snarky, teens that are the new Disney prototype. They may have good hearts but they're not particularly nice or pleasant. My 8 y/o boy was fascinated by the beginning of the movie because there was a scary train ride but he was most interested in gathering more sarcastic teen soundbites like the ones he learns on the school bus. If your 8 year old is a TV watcher than he's used to the Hannah Montana style snark but if he's not than you may want to let him learn the sarcastic, irritating soundbites on the school bus, not from a movie you chose for him.
Kid, 8 years old March 18, 2013

Hilarious and Really good movie!

The movie is really good also the message of Alex saving her parents was a good message of respecting your parents and being nice to them. And in some parts its hilarious.
Teen, 13 years old Written byuhya August 12, 2011


I saw this years ago and I remember I liked it


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