A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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"Ass." "Hell." "S--t." "Jeez." "God." "Screw them." "Damn." "Goddamn." "Eat me." "Piss me off." "Boner." "Suck." "You look like a tampon commercial."
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Products & Purchases
Duke University. Subaru. USPS. Adidas. Other Netflix products like Queer Eye and Homecoming. A variety of artists are featured on the film's soundtrack.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.