Parents' Guide to

How to Build a Better Boy

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Positive messages outshine bullying in tween-friendly movie.

How to Build a Better Boy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 5+


It is cool if you are a fan of fantacey.

This title has:

Great messages
age 7+

Fun, family appropriate movie

My girls are 6 and 8 and enjoyed the movie a LOT! They thought the boys were cute (sorry, Daddy) and liked the excitement in it. They enjoyed seeing the two girls from the Disney Channel, who were darling as usual. There is enough "sci fi" and robot/spy stuff that young boys would like it, too. Nothing in appropriate. A good choice for a night at home on Netflix. And yes, there are some teaching points in it if you like to pause and talk like we do, regarding lying, bullying, how to be a good friend, etc.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (10):

This movie appeals to kids and parents with feel-good messages about self-acceptance and standing tall in the face of pressure to conform. Viewers have come to expect a lot from Disney's movies in recent years. Kids wait with bated breath to see their favorite TV stars in different roles, and they want dynamic story lines that will carry them contentedly from the opening to the closing credits. Parents, on the other hand, hope for content that doesn't raise any red flags for that tricky tween age group and has some positive lessons to share. How to Build a Better Boy fits both bills, all played out by a new arrangement of familiar Disney faces guaranteed to draw young crowds. Sure, the concept isn't a new one (ever seen Weird Science?), but it's unlikely that kids in this target age group have seen it done before.

Still, to properly illustrate its points, the story has to start with a premise that won't feel so good to parents in particular, namely that social castes exist and are drawn in indelible lines. Gabby and Mae suffer terribly at the hands of their more popular peers (though they stay mostly upbeat throughout it all), and it's pretty evident that aptitude and popularity are mutually exclusive among this group. But, just as you must first dig a hole to enable a flower to bloom, How to Build a Better Boy lays down roots in this negativity only to transform itself into something that reminds kids of the value of self-acceptance, and that's a beautiful thing.

TV Details

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