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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
There's nothing intentionally educational about the content, but there are some positive take-aways about relationships, honesty, and respecting others' feelings.
The movie's intended messages about individuality and friendship are great and hit their mark, but it takes some unsavory behavior to get there. Mean-girl bullying, the manipulation of people's feelings, and misguided ambition -- not to mention the fact that school serves more as a tool for social interactions than for learning. Bathroom humor includes farting (of the canine variety) and burping.
Positive Role Models
One plotline centers on the relationship between a teen diva and the guys she coerces into doing her homework for her by faking affection. Best friends turn on each other at the promise of a dream job, and teens mislead their friends and family about their true identities. Teens can't see past what they wish they had to appreciate what they do have. In the end, though, most make amends for their behavior and re-establish their friendships.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of kisses and some flirting among teens.
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"Butt" is as racy as it gets.
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Products & Purchases
The movie's cast members hail from starring and guest roles in many series from Disney and its ABC partners, so kids might take an interest in one or all of them after watching.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Frenemies paints an oversimplified picture of teen life and the complexity of its relationships, but the fact that it's headlined by multiple familiar faces from popular kids' shows like Shake It Up and A.N.T. Farm means it's bound to draw a young audience nonetheless. Content-wise, there's no reason kids can't tune in, and there are multiple opportunities to discuss responsible social relationships as they relate to popularity, bullying, and manipulating people's feelings. Ultimately kids won't miss out on the story's unmistakable positive messages about friendship, so there's some value to tuning in.
Is It Any Good?
Based on a novel by Alexa Young, Frenemies sets out to explore the complicated world of on-again, off-again teen relationships and to illustrate why friendship should top the value list. Does it accomplish this goal? Yes, but the movie's worthwhile messages about social priorities and individuality come courtesy of sanitized characters and an unrealistic plot. These teens aren't coping with relatable academic pressures, complex relationships, or worries about their future. Instead, 14-year-olds are spending time at school plotting to land a dream job in the grown-up world, flubbing their way through someone else's fencing lessons while playing the role of a look-alike pal, and trying to reason with a pouting pet. Sound familiar? Probably not, and it's a good bet your tweens will find it a little far-fetched as well.
That's not to say Frenemies doesn't have merit. Kids can't possibly reach the movie's end without gleaning some positive lessons about relating to others, but the story's glamorous presentation of teen life -- where even the "geeks" are gorgeous and cutting school for a big-time job interview bears no consequences -- won't ring true with seasoned tweens. In fact, the movie's bound to be best received among the younger tween set thanks to its fresh-faced, familiar stars, all of whom are veterans of series from Disney and its network partners. The bottom line? The content is fine for grade-schoolers, and your kids are sure to enjoy seeing some of their favorite stars take on new roles and team up for a fun musical number at the movie's end, but it's worth following up with a reality check to make sure kids know the difference between real life and the movies.
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.