Work It

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Work It Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Sweet teen tale has great dancing; language, innuendo.
  • PG-13
  • 2020
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 16 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Teens learn that finding their passion, expressing themselves can be as or more important than following rules or sticking to path laid out for them by parents. Diverse group embodies "can-do spirit" and teamwork. Elderly woman in nursing home says no matter what your life achievements, "we all end up in the same place," and the best life memories are of fun times.

Positive Role Models & Representations

When Quinn and Jasmine start new dance troupe, they want it to be based on respect, "building people up," unlike competitive group led by diva Juilliard, who treats people as his inferiors, constantly puts them down. Each member of diverse troupe brings individual skills -- physical and intellectual -- to the team, and they work together. Friends are loyal, even if they sometimes let each other down. Quinn's mom is devoted to her daughter. Jake teaches Quinn she doesn't need to be in control all the time, and sometimes feeling is more important than thinking. She teaches him not to give up on dance world because of his debilitating injury, takes him to see group of wounded men, including some with missing limbs, who meet in outdoor space to dance. Teens share mostly positive and optimistic outlook. Jasmine's crush on a man seems entirely based on his physique.

Violence

Sparks from staging light fixtures rain down on dancers, apparently singeing one girl's hair. Elderly man dies right after he's watched the teenagers practice their dance routine. Quinn's dad died when she was 12.

Sex

Lots of suggestive dance moves. Two teens kiss, both times after dancing together. Jasmine envisions the boy she likes with his shirt off, then spoons with him on a mattress after making a double entendre about its "firmness." An elderly man isn't allowed to watch 50 Shades of Grey after "what happened last time." A teen boy gets an erection while dancing and people notice it and comment on it.

Language

"Ass." "Hell." "S--t." "Jeez." "God." "Screw them." "Damn." "Goddamn." "Eat me." "Piss me off." "Boner." "Suck." "You look like a tampon commercial."

 

Consumerism

Duke University. Subaru. USPS. Adidas. Other Netflix products like Queer Eye and Homecoming. A variety of artists are featured on the film's soundtrack.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Work It is an upbeat story of teenagers finding their passion through self expression. It's an underdog tale that features a diverse group of kind-hearted teens, great dancing, good humor, and a happy ending. There's no drinking or drugs, and several of the main characters are focused on getting into good colleges. The way to do that seems to come down to a choice between studying and doing well in school or excelling in an extracurricular activity like dancing. An academic overachiever discovers herself through dance, a storyline that could downplay the benefits of learning from books. Teens flirt, and two kiss twice, while one character imagines her crush topless and then spoons with him on a mattress after making a double entendre about its "firmness." Some of the dancing could be seen as suggestive, and at one point a teen boy gets an erection while dancing. Other people notice it and comment on it. Language includes "ass," "hell," "s--t," "jeez," "God," "screw them," "damn," "goddamn," "eat me," "piss me off," "boner," and "suck." Popular YouTuber Liza Koshy co-stars.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymfagundes August 19, 2020

Torn between a Disney Flick and something edgier

We enjoyed the main gal from Disney's Girl Meets World. It was nice to see her in this role. It could have stayed completely PG and I would have been fi... Continue reading
Adult Written bySlothinda August 27, 2020
Teen, 14 years old Written bygcowen128 September 19, 2020

the bomb dot com

this movie makes me wanna dance more. although there is some language and suggestive jokes, the humor is NOT dry and makes you laugh out loud. at some points in... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 8, 2020

This is a fun movie but is somewhat forgetful.

I had pretty low expectations for this movie and to be honest, it was better than what I expected. The acting is not great but the fun dancing and characters ma... Continue reading

What's the story?

Like many high school seniors, Quinn Ackerman's (Sabrina Carpenter) life revolves around getting into the college of her dreams in WORK IT. When an admissions officer (Michelle Buteau) tells her that her application -- with its 4.0 GPA, volunteer jobs, clubs, and cello lessons -- looks just like everyone else's, she lets the officer believe she dances on her school's award-winning team. Problem is, she can't dance -- and flubs the audition to join the team. Determined, she starts her own team instead, recruiting her best friend and talented dancer Jasmine (Liza Koshy) and a ragtag group of misfits with potential. She also convinces former state champion Jake Taylor (Jordan Fisher) to choreograph for them, taking a liking to him in the process. Will the team make it to the championships? Will they be able to compete with the fabulous school troupe led by diva Juilliard (Keiynan Lonsdale)? Either way, Quinn and her new friends will learn a lot about themselves and each other in the process.

Is it any good?

This is a refreshingly likable high school movie that follows a formula but hits just the right notes nonetheless. This is largely thanks to the charisma -- not to mention dancing chops -- of its multitalented lead cast, many of whom will be known to the film's target audience for creative endeavors beyond acting. Sabrina Carpenter is sweet as Quinn, the do-gooder with a purpose. Liza Koshy balances her out with some spicier humor as BFF Jasmine. Keiynan Lonsdale is divine as Juilliard, the Artist Formerly Known as Isiah, delivering the film's best one-liners, like "Sashay away!" and "Sage the space!"

Netflix should find a natural audience for Work It. The music-oriented teen tale can thank its predecessors for forging a well-worn path, with special nods to the innocent self-expression of the High School Musical gang and the discover-life-through-dance theme of the Dirty Dancing series. All the genre's clichés are here: high school pressures, underdogs and misfits, self-discovery, first love, embarrassing parents. That could all make this film predictable, which it is. But it's also enjoyable along the way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what dance means to Work It's Quinn and what she learns from the experience of starting a dance troupe. Do you have a pastime or artistic endeavor you're passionate about? What role does it play in your life?

  • Did Quinn need to choose between doing well in school and doing well in dance? Do you think she could have done both? Why or why not?

  • Many of the actors in the cast are also singers, dancers, or YouTube celebrities, and two sing songs on the film's soundtrack. Did you recognize any of them from elsewhere?

  • How does this film compare with other high school movies you've seen?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dance and school stories

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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