Totally Spies! The Movie
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Teen heroines are, like, terrible role models for tweens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The movie makes little effort to incorporate any positive messages for the female tween audience it's geared toward. The characters are one-dimensional, the show is completely unrealistic, and there are no lessons to be found. The female heroines are portrayed as emotional and catty compared to the male characters, which overruns any messages about girl power. On the upside, the show does demonstrate the benefits of teamwork.
Positive Role Models
The character pool runs the gamut of traits parents dread in tween girls. Clover is obsessed with her appearance and throws herself at any handsome guy she meets. Sam and Alex are lesser offenders, but their positive attributes (athleticism and book smarts) are downplayed in favor of fashion statements and irritating dialogue. In-crowd queen Mandy terrorizes the school with the power she wields over her peers, all of which goes unchecked by a mean but ineffective principal. To their credit, they do use some quick thinking to get out of a few jams during their mission.
Violence & Scariness
Aircraft shoots missiles at other planes and at people; a handful of scenes include hand-to-hand fighting with punching and kicking. Violence is limited to small segments of the movie, but characters' actions have few real-life outcomes. The team narrowly escapes colliding with Earth on a detonator missile, for instance.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nothing physical, but Clover has a huge -- and very distracting -- crush on a fellow agent and flirts shamelessly with him (eyes turn into hearts at the sight of him, blushing all over, that sort of thing).
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No cursing, but plenty of stuff parents probably won't want their kids repeating, including "stupid," "piehole," "geek," and "lame-o."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's little redeeming quality to this grating tween-targeted movie inspired by the TV series of the same name. The teen heroines are a slang-talking, image-obsessed bunch who dig clothes, guys, and, well, themselves. These negative qualities are played up at the expense of fledgling themes like teamwork and respect. If your tweens are already familiar with these characters from the show, then little will surprise them, but if they're not, be forewarned that this "prequel" movie might pique their interest in the series as well.
Where to Watch
Based on 2 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
TOTALLY SPIES! THE MOVIE chronicles the story behind Clover, Alex, and Sam -- a trio of secret agents who fight crime for the World Organization of Human Protection. Unbeknownst to them, the girls are recruited by WHOOP because of unique skills each one possesses, and they're thrown together at Beverly Hills High School before their agent training starts. Soon after, they're tasked with their first mission: to solve a rash of mysterious disappearances around town, which seem to be related to a fashion-altering machine at the local mall and a fallen fashion model named Fabu (Karl Lagerfeld).
Is It Any Good?
If your tweens have tuned in to the show that inspired this movie, then they're already familiar with this flavor of entertainment and won't be struck by its reliance on stereotypes. But if the characters are new to them (and you), it's a good idea to think it through before giving them the go-ahead. The female-led cast is a catty, trendy, and self-obsessed bunch, often pausing from their makeup and clothing only long enough to check out the guys nearby. Mean-girl Mandy clearly isn't a heroine, but her obnoxious behavior -- which never garners consequence -- blends in more than it stands out amid the chaotic pace of this movie.
The bottom line? This story misses an opportunity to show girls in a positive role displaying teamwork, resolve, and concern for others. Instead it trips up on distractions like flirting with guys and obsessive accessorizing. If you're still on the fence, consider this: Like, do you want your tweens talking like these girls? As if.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can discuss stereotypes. What stereotypes exist in this movie? How extreme are they? Can stereotypes exist without being offensive? Who determines what is acceptable and what's not?
Do you notice a difference between how girls and boys are portrayed on TV or in the movies? What shows do you know of that cast strong female leads? What characteristics do those heroines share? How do the characters in this show compare?
Tweens: What special talents do you possess? How do you put those skills to use? How might they help you in a future career? What resources exist for honing your talents?
- Premiere date: April 25, 2010
- Cast: Céline Mauge, Claire Guyot, Fily Keita
- Network: Cartoon Network
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures, Friendship
- TV rating: TV-Y7-FV
- Last updated: October 6, 2020
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.
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Where to Watch
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