Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Movie Poster Image
Feel-good family movie has great messages for tweens.
  • NR
  • 2009
  • 73 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 58 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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
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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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... Continue reading
Parent Written byLaura V. September 18, 2016

Shallow and sexist

Really disappointed - the mother is portrayed as a ditz who focuses on the romance in her and the father's early relationship, and the daughter is portraye... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byuhya August 12, 2011


I saw this years ago and I remember I liked it
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... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love magic

Our editors recommend

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

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate