A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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